After acquiring taxi aggregator service Bookmycab, Wings Travels Management is all set to launch Wings Book My Cab service across India and expand into markets outside India.
“For this expansion, the company is looking to raise Rs 100 crore in the first phase, which will include going to Thailand,
Myanmar and Vietnam,” Arun Kharat, director, Wings Travels told FE.
The Book My Cab product is owned by Live Mind Technologies, which is acquired by Wings and will now be a subsidiary of the company. Book My Cab promoter, Avinash Gupta, who sold his company, has also been given stakes in Wings Travels and he will continue to be associated with the company for next two years, Kharat said.
In order to go to the APAC markets, Wings will raise Rs500 crore in the next phase, Kharat said. “Middle East will be the subsequent destination with huge demand in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Oman for these services,” Kharat said.
Wings is a 20 year old transport company, which was into staff transportation and served IT/ITES. It was among the first radio cab companies in the country, which started operations in 2008-09 in Pune.
Later the service expanded to Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Chandigarh, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai. “With 5,000 cabs and 600 employees (including staff transportation) we had real cabs on the road with people on the ground,” said Kharat.
Wings survived the Uber and Ola storm. But due to rise of Uber and Ola the company saw a shift of drivers to other platforms.
“Aggregators were flush with money, had technology, were aggressive in advertising and promotion so they did impact our business,” said Kharat.
In Pune, the drivers strength came down from 800 to 400. Burning money was their business model and it impacted us but once the freebies stopped our drivers came back with their cars, Kharat added.
“Meanwhile, we were building technology to add the mobile app piece and technology to support the radio taxi business. Around 200 drivers are back and the technology has given them confidence that they can growth with us,” Kharat said.
The Book My Cab app complements our offering and we have worked on Indianizing the app and offering flexibility to the customer, which no other app offers. Existing apps offer point to point service but our app offers inter-city, airport, ability to hold cab back instead to re-booking, trips to religious destinations and connection to all operational airports in the country, Kharat said. According to Kharat, Wings is a R150 crore turnover company with a valuation of Rs 450.