E-scooter startup Yulu is now generating more than half its revenue (60%) from the gig economy workforce across food delivery, instant commerce and other e-commerce companies, co-founder and CEO Amit Gupta told FE. The firm plans to upgrade the scooter form factor and introduce more swapping stations to attract additional demand from last-mile deliveries.
Yulu’s electric scooters were first introduced in Bengaluru, and later in Mumbai and Delhi NCR with a purpose-built electric vehicle for first- and last-mile connectivity — mainly for office commute and other consumer-centric use cases.
After the pandemic disrupted demand from consumers, Yulu opened up its e-scooters for a whole business use case: goods delivery. Yulu adapted this model swiftly and introduced a new form factor named Yulu DEX in July 2021, explicitly designed for last-mile deliveries. This later attracted demand from delivery workers who don’t own a driving licence or can’t afford to buy their own vehicles for gig work.
In an earlier interaction with FE, the mobility startup had said around 17,000 gig workers used its EVs in 2021. From a cost per/km perspective, Yulu vehicles reduce operating costs of delivery executives by almost 50% compared to petrol vehicles, which can improve the earning potential of gig workers, Gupta told FE.
Currently, delivery workers incur a cost of less than 2.5/km on Yulu’s DEX scooter, which includes the cost of battery and maintenance. According to Gupta, this is much cheaper than the 4.50 per/km that delivery workers pay for petrol-based two-wheelers.
“For delivery workers, scooter uptime is the most important metric. To enable this, we are investing in creating a far denser backbone of swapping stations. Currently, our swapping stations are available across every 2.5-3 kilometre distance on average. We will attempt to get this down to around just 1.5-kilometre density in terms of the swap station availability,” Gupta said.
Including both consumer and gig economy workers, Yulu currently has a daily active user base of around 15,000 across the three cities where it is present. With the $82 million funding round announced on Monday, Yulu plans to increase its e-scooter fleet to more than 100,000 electric two-wheelers along with more than 500 battery charging and swapping stations in the next 12 months.
“Out of the 10,000 e-scooters we currently have, around 25% are in Bengaluru, and the remaining are in Delhi and Mumbai. In Bengaluru, we are currently catering to 40% of the addressable geographical area. In Delhi, we are probably covering 10% of the geography and Mumbai is at 5% … So our plan is to go denser and deeper into Delhi, Bombay, and Bengaluru, because we believe that these three markets put together can consume more than 100,000 bikes easily. And we are looking to add four to five more cities over the next 12 months,” Gupta said.
Yulu already has a successful strategic partnership with two-wheeler major, Bajaj Auto and has been collaborating with the company on product design, technology platforms, engineering processes and manufacturing. Yulu’s next generation of electric two-wheelers will roll out of Bajaj’s Pune facility by this year-end. The company has built successful partnerships with Bangalore Metro (BMRCL), Delhi Metro (DMRC) and city authorities in Bengaluru (BBMP/DULT), Mumbai (BMC/MMRDA) and New Delhi (NDMC) for both parking and charging infrastructure.