Established in May 2019, Zingbus aims to Change the Way India Travels. The company is already the highest rated bus line in the country across digital platforms and social media. Zingbus aggregates fleets of buses to deliver end-to-end standardized intercity travel experience at affordable prices. Currently, Zingbus connects 100+ cities across states of Delhi (UT), Punjab, Haryana, Jammu (UT), HP, UP, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat through thousands of daily connections.
Mratunjay Beniwal, COO & Co-Founder, Zingbus interacted with our Editor in Chief Jayanta Ghosh, about his startup and how zingbus has emerged as the most affordable service provider on popular connections, through its uniquely designed routes and dynamic pricing algorithm.
Q. Last 18 months were really challenging for every industry and travel and tourism are most affected. What’s your thought on these challenging times, and how we can get back to business again?
A. We see the lockdown as a black swan event for the entire intercity bus industry. It has upended this unorganized, highly fragmented and mainly unbranded market. The current industry dynamics are such that startups like ourselves find themselves in a unique position to take advantage and build something very valuable, very quickly! Pandemic has led to higher expectation of hygiene and safety from customers. Contactless, hassle-free boarding process, amongst other technology tools have helped us to fulfill this post-covid need beautifully. Once the traveler associates a brand with safety, they prefer it over others. Simultaneously by building tools for audits, boarding and demand management technology players have been able to help struggling traditional fleet owners in coping with the operational challenges with minimum manpower investment from their side in a post lockdown world.
Q. As a start up what kind of challenges are you facing in this current scenario?
A. Like any small business startups operate with limited capital and infra. And with revenues taking a hit for a better part of last year and then again this year, fixed costs have burnt through the reserve capital. We have been lucky to get the support of our investors in this time and are certain to come out of this with flying colors.
Marinating emotional well being of employees has been a challenge as almost everyone has lost a friend, relative or family member in the second wave. We are trying to channel the anguish in building something for the people of India.
Q. What are the opportunities you can see for zingbus?
A. Last year has seen heavy digitization of purchase in service industries, excitingly from tier 2 and 3 cities. Technology led, branded players like zingbus have better online presence and are able to reach customers digitally. Further, they can focus on customer communication around their pressing need for safety, contactless, digital, etc.
The lack of technology tools like real time route data, dynamic pricing, etc are leaving the traditional operators in a tight spot. They are being forced to increase their prices due to lower utilization. zingbus has emerged as the most affordable service provider on popular connections, solving for this through our uniquely designed routes and dynamic pricing algorithm.
We expect organized brands to rapidly capture market share as many traditional operators may not survive this industry transformation. We have emerged bigger, better and leaner from the lockdown and are committed towards building the largest intercity mobility consumer brand with $50mn ARR in the next 12 months. Travelers are loving zingbus experience, we are launching new services every week and shipping new products every fortnight.
Q. How zingbus transformed the travel culture in India?
A. We have urged the customer to demand more from their travel partners. Our waiting lounges, real time tracking and premium pit stops has made traveling easy and fun.
Boastingly, 30% our customers are female and their engagement metrices are almost 50% better than the average. A lot of them are now travelling alone. We believe that by making travel safer, we have urged women to travel solo.
Q. Going forward what kind of features and updates you are planning to make it more exciting for travelers?
A. We are working on a cool set of technology features for our users
1. Guaranteed seat availability
2. Home pick up and drop
3. Value added services inside the coach
Q. Plans for 2021-22, tie ups and collaboration?
A. We have previously raised funding from Titan Capital, Y Combinator and other existing investors. We have plans to gradually enter the southern region in the next 6 months as South India is the biggest market for intercity buses in India, with Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad being the biggest hubs. We are expanding our team and plan to hire talents across functions to join us across senior and mid-senior positions. Also, in the next three years, zingbus plans to run 2,500 buses daily connecting the country’s major corridors.