Indians may be buying cars and bikes, but a vast majority still depend on public transport as their primary mode of transit. And as they wait for the bus or train, they worry about when it will arrive, how long the ticket queue will be and even whether they will be able to board it. A niche start-up called Zophop Technologies is attempting to make a difference in this direction. It has debuted a mobile product that aims to make daily commuting easier. Zophop has also inked partnerships with transport providers of buses, trains, autos and cabs to provide real-time information on arrival times or estimated time of arrival.
The start-up believes it can reduce the total travel time of commuters by 15-20 minutes every day by giving them access to real-time information. “We are associated with around 10 transport providers in cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Nagpur and Indore to offer either real-time information or mobile ticketing,” says Nikhil Aggarwal, co-founder and COO, Zophop. “We have formalised partnerships with some private transportation companies such as Jugnoo, Uber, Prasanna Purple and Bhagirathi Travels to allow users to search for and choose their services as alternative transit options.”
Zophop has raised angel funding from investors such as Anupam Mittal (founder, Shaadi.com), Satyan Gajwani (MD, Times Internet) and Amit Singhal (previously senior vice-president, Google). An alumnus of FMS, Delhi, Aggarwal spent six years with Morgan Stanley’s investment banking team in India. “CarWale founder and CEO, Mohit Dubey and IIT Delhi alumni, Vinayak Bhavnani (both are co-founders of Zophop) realised that not more than 5% of Indians would own a car or any form of private transport at any point in their lives,” he says. “Further, alternate ways of travelling within a city were emerging (shared bikes, shuttles, etc) and getting more and more dynamic in terms of availability, pricing, etc., implying the need for a single platform that can provide information on all these options.”
Zophop was launched in 2014 to address (a) best multi-modal trip, (b) real-time information on availability and (c)digital, smart ticketing for public transportation.
According to Aggarwal, Zophop 1.0 was a multi-modal trip planner for 15 cities covering local trains, city buses, metro, cabs and autos. Zophop 2.0 was launched in early 2016 after it realised that within urban transit, the biggest problem is the 15-minute-plus waiting time. Thus, in order to facilitate multi-modal transit and make lives simpler, the team decided to inform people about their ‘next bus’ and started providing real-time information. “It is the first and only platform to have a sizeable fleet for ‘live’ ETA as compared to their local and international competitors. Zophop 3.0 now takes the consumer proposition from information to transactions and facilitates end-to-end seamless transit experiences,” he says. It has installed GPS in around 1,000 buses and deployed dynamic scheduling tools so that it can generate real-time information.