rapido: Ride-hailing platform Rapido launches SaaS model for auto services

Ride-hailing platform Rapido launched a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model for auto services on Tuesday.

The platform aims to transition from a commission-led aggregator model to providing auto drivers with a lifetime zero-commission structure.

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According to cofounder Pavan Guntupalli, the platform will charge auto drivers a daily login fee ranging from Rs 9 to Rs 29. In return, drivers can do unlimited rides based on demand, without paying any commission.

Rapido currently facilitates over 5 lakh auto rides daily, he said. With the introduction of the Saas model, it aims to onboard offline auto drivers onto its platform.

“There are almost two crore auto rides happening daily across the country, and all the online players put together do less than 20 lakh rides, which is less than 10%,” he said.

In December last year, Rapido expanded its offerings by officially launching its taxi service in three cities – Delhi, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, using a Saas model. Now, its cab services are available in over 35 cities, he said.

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“Cab drivers who have been working for quite a while found that the existing models were not beneficial for them. With the Saas model that Rapido has launched for the first time, we are seeing people who have never been aligned with online platforms entering this industry,” said Guntupalli. According to him, 10% of Rapido’s fleet is using an online platform for the first time.Currently, Rapido has a gross merchandise value (GMV) annualised revenue run rate (ARR) of half a billion rupees with a monthly run rate of Rs 400 crore.

He said, “We are already profitable in operations. By the end of this year, we expect to achieve profitability in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (ebitda).” It aims to close FY24 with a revenue of Rs 600 crore, Guntupalli said.

Founded in 2015, Rapido, known for being one of the first providers of ride-hailing service with two-wheelers, subsequently diversified its offerings to include three- and four-wheelers.

Within the three-wheeler segment, Rapido competes with Uber, Ola, and ONDC-backed Namma Yatri. In the two-wheeler domain, it competes with Ola and Uber in a few cities.

Namma Yatri launched its zero-commission services in Delhi on January 16. This expansion follows its initial launch in Kochi in 2020, which is now accessible in seven cities, including Bengaluru, Kolkata, and Hyderabad.

In April 2022, the platform raised $180 million at a valuation of $820 million, led by Swiggy, two-wheeler maker TVS Motor, and venture capital firms WestBridge Capital and Nexus Venture Partners.