Chalo, a startup digitizing bus commutes in India and which freshly raised $40 million in a financing round, has acquired Amazon-backed app-based office commute bus aggregator Shuttl in an all-cash deal, the two spoke on Tuesday.
Chalo founder and chief executive Mohit Dubey declared the acquisition of Shuttl, which engages thousands of buses directed at working professionals, will help his startup increase appearance in many parts of the country including metro cities, widen the technology and product offerings, and also supercharge the firm’s overseas development efforts.
“Shuttl and Chalo, these are the firms that are positioned to become the largest mobility firms in the world. I wish the pandemic had not happened, but it has allowed the two companies with a similar focus to come together,” he stated in an interview.
Dubey declined to disclose the deal’s financial terms but said Shuttl co-founder and chief executive Amit Singh has agreed to continue his journey. Chalo will continue to use Shuttl’s branding, he said.
“We started out to take the pain away from daily commuters. In the process, we built a category and inspired others from different parts of the world to do the same. It’s a bittersweet moment for us. We believe the team and legacy of Shuttl will thrive equally well in the new set-up,” stated Singh in a statement.
For investors of Shuttl, too, it’s a bittersweet moment. The startup struggled to raise a new investment round and had cut its workforce to go with the pandemic. For months, murmurs around Shuttl closing shops were floating.
Shuttl had raised around $97 million in a series of investment rounds, according to data intelligence platform Tracxn. The startup includes Amazon, Times Internet, Sequoia Capital India, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Toyota, among its backers.
Chalo stated that the whole current team of Shuttl, including some key executives who have been part of the startup from the start, will remain in their roles.
Dubey said he has been engaging with Shuttl’s Singh for many years, but the two began acquisition talks just two months ago.
At stake is India’s $20 billion bus market, which is near twice the size of cabs. Bus commutes are more available to the broader masses of the country, but currently, there are significantly fewer buses in India: about three for every 10,000 people.
Chalo is free for all app that tracks buses live and presents mobile ticketing solutions for bus tickets and bus passes. Founded by Dhruv Chopra, Mohit Dubey, Nikhil Aggarwal, Priya Singh, and Vinayak Bhavnani in 2014.