Dealflow | August 6, 2018

Amazon backs Shuttl’s bid to de-congest India’s urban commutes

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, August 6 – The city of Delhi has become notorious for its smog and traffic-choked streets. Other Indian metropolises look similar. The government wants to improve air quality in part through a plan to have 30% of its cars running on electricity by 2030. (The figure was revised down from an ambitious 100% target.)

Gurgaon-based Shuttl’s idea, in the meantime, is to expand its network of 800 commuter shuttles, which currently operate on 150 set routes in the greater Delhi metro area and Jaipur. It has raised $11 million in Series B, led by Amazon’s $100 million voice-tech Alexa Fund and Denstu Ventures, with return support from Sequoia Capital, Times Internet and Lightspeed Ventures.

“We believe buses are the most space-efficient way to commute and we have added a technology layer on to them to build what could become a template for smart cities in India and abroad,” said Shuttl’s Amit Singh after its $20 million Series A round. (The discrepancy between the two rounds may suggest its Series B round is not yet closed.)

Shuttl charges a fee of 20 to 100 rupees ($0.30 to $1.50) for riders to reserve a seat through its app. Riders can use the app to plan routes and track the shuttle busses in real time. The company has about 60,000 active monthly users. It is piloting expansion in the cities of Pune and Kolkata.

As far as its technology relates to Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Singh told LiveMint that Shuttl’s business was still very small, though it has embedded sound-based rider authentication for drivers and passengers,” Amazon Alexa Fund’s Paul Bernard said.