GREG MORAN, Co-founder & CEO of Zoomcar, spearheads the operations of the Bangalore-based self-drive car rental company. He aims to venture into more self-drive mobility categories, while keeping the focus on sustainability
Please take us through your journey as an entrepreneur. What motivated you to launch Zoomcar?
While working in the clean technology and infrastructure disciplines for an investment bank, I witnessed first-hand the opportunities that existed in working for environmentally sustainable solutions in India. Realizing the toll lack of infrastructure was taking on India’s environment and a complete absence of the self-drive model led me to launch Zoomcar. I have always been fascinated with India as a market. As a fast-growing economy, it provides entrepreneurs with amazing opportunities to not only scale up their ventures but also deliver a social impact through unique, and oftentimes tech-enabled, service offerings. The opportunities in India, I realized, would only be compounded over the years, and thus, it became imperative for me to be part of India's growth story. The business model of Zoomcar not only revolves around sustainability but also caters to the market need for convenient self-drive mobility. Zoomcar has succeeded in carving a niche for this disruptive offering. We now see several start-ups and cab aggregators follow our lead and venture into self-drive mobility, which only comes as a validation for what we had set out to achieve.
What need gap did you want to fulfil with your start-up? What is the core business proposition?
We were thinking about mobility and transportation solutions. We started looking at the market more carefully and realized that car ownership levels were incredibly low at 2 or 3%. We looked at car-sharing as a great entry point with self-drive. In 2011-2012, I spent three months on the ground roaming around India in 25 cities, 12 States, and realized that it was a total white space. I dropped out of business school and moved to Bangalore. From there, the rest is history. Zoomcar operates a short-term rental and a long-term subscription model. The former operates on an hourly and daily basis with prices starting at Rs 50/hour and ranging up to Rs 250/hour depending on the vehicle type. Long-term subscription starts at Rs 15,000 per month and runs up to Rs 45,000 depending on the vehicle type. Today, one can have a car delivered to their location. The focus is on customers who want the freedom of having a car any time they require it.
How is digital helping you further your business?
Zoomcar’s organic growth has been phenomenal. We are a performance marketing-focused brand and the majority of our marketing team consists of performance marketers. We have a CRM team that helps in increasing repeat transactions and the frequency of transactions. We have always operated in a cost to income ratio, which is 6%. We are also focused on curated content and are associated with new-age content platforms like Filter Copy to create campaigns with a focus on awareness. We are also associated with TLC channel. On an average, we receive more than 60,000 high-quality user-generated content. Zoomcar is a 'selfie brand'. Our users love to pose with the cars (which they book through our app) and the Zoomcar logo in the background. On an average, we see almost 15,000 to 20,000 user generated selfies and videos every month.
How is Zoomcar poised in 2021?
We are already seeing a 400% rise in demand and we expect this to settle down at 200-300% over the next few months. People are now looking for shorter term mobility access as opposed to a long-term investment. As people would avoid public transport to keep themselves safe from contracting the virus, the need for rental cars will only go up. We are looking at various car subscription models to serve the needs of customers. With COVID-19 forcing operations to go entirely digital, Zoomcar is leveraging technology such as AI and IoT to offer an impeccable experience to its customers. We have key-less entry to minimize human contact and curb transmission of the virus. We are also aggressively partnering the major automobile OEMs to offer subscription as an alternative to vehicle ownership.