Germany's Wunder Mobility bets on carpool for India's pollution problem

New Delhi, PTI | Updated : 24 March 2019, 01:03 PM
Wunder is now looking to make carpooling a pure business model this year
Wunder is now looking to make carpooling a pure business model this year

With India home to seven of the top 10 most polluted cities in the world, Germany-based mobility solutions provider Wunder is pitching carpooling as an effective remedy to the alarming levels of vehicular pollution in the country. Wunder has drawn up an aggressive expansion strategy for India, starting with the national capital, and has also begun actively engaging with the central and state governments, a top company executive said.

Having achieved a user base of more than 300,000 in Delhi and more than one million rides in 2018, Wunder is now looking to make carpooling a pure business model this year through cost optimisation and revenue generation, its India Marketing Manager Vivek Kumar told PTI.

Hamburg-headquartered Wunder Mobility, which is focusing on both B2B and B2C models by tying up with corporates and offering its carpooling platform directly to end-users, is also betting on B2G or 'business to government' as a key growth strategy going forward, he said.

The company wants to engage with the authorities for helping create a robust urban mobility ecosystem for carpooling, Kumar added.

"Our main source of revenue is charging a small platform fees per ride,'' Kumar said, referring to a percentage component it charges on total compensation that a car owner earns during the journey. "We are also looking for additional models for revenue generation like subscription and partnerships." 

The company is also open to work with the governments to build a sustainable carpool ecosystem as per their requirements in any city in India, he said. Wunder is reaching out to Niti Aayog besides other central and state government departments, as its seeks greater support and regulation from the authorities.

"If carpooling needs to be presented as one of the solutions to the existing traffic and pollution problems in cities, then it should be operated in a more regulated and transparent manner like setting mandatory requirement for proper ID verification process," he said. As per estimates, vehicular pollution accounts for about 11 per cent of the nation's carbon emissions and is a key source of air pollution.

Kumar pitched for proper guidelines by the government for carpooling to ensure best services for the consumers and also to address safety concerns especially for women. He said Wunder's main focus is on increasing the number of rides with more frequent carpools and on expanding the user base as a majority of revenue comes from platform fees. While the company, which recorded 40 per cent month-on-month growth in the number of rides in 2018, is mainly focusing on Delhi market, it is already present in two other Indian cities -- Mumbai and Bengaluru. Globally, it is present in Manila and Rio De Janeiro as well.

Kumar said the benefits from Wunder Carpool are not limited to lowering of transport costs as it sees itself empowering users with a platform to interact with the person before accepting or requesting a ride.

"For women, we have a feature where they can hide their ride but can get the matches from other carpoolers and in that scenario, they can see their profiles or their reviews. Therefore, the choice is more in the hands of people to make the best choice for themselves and allow people whom they want to network rather than just carpooling," Kumar said. 

There are also safety features such as SOS button, live tracking and verification through driving licence and other government IDs for car owners as well as passengers.

He said most Wunder users are salaried working professionals who have built a strong and trustworthy network on the app with the help of a robust reviewing system, helping the company do over a million rides last year in New Delhi without ever facing an issue.

The company is also hosting local events for users to meet other carpoolers and help build a strong network and a healthy carpooling culture based on trust and security.

Besides Carpool, Wunder has two more flagship products for shuttle service and fleet software solutions which they plan to later launch in India.

First Published: Sunday, March 24, 2019 01:03 PM
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