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Ola and Hero’s Pawan Munjal invest in scooter rental platform Vogo

Ola’s parent ANI Technologies, along with and Hero MotoCorp Chairman, Pawan Munjal, Stellaris Venture Partners & Matrix Partners India have invested an undisclosed amount of funding in Bangalore based scooter rental platform Vogo. Other investors including Aprameya Radhakrishna (Founder, TaxiForSure), Rajesh Yabaji (Founder, Blackbuck) and Mayank Bidawatka (Founder, Goodbox) participated in the Series A funding round.

Note that Ola had invested Rs 40-45 crore in Vogo earlier this year as well.

Founded in 2016, by Anand Ayyadurai, Padmanabhan Balakrishnan and Sanchit Mittal, the Vogo app enables users to locate, unlock and pick-up its scooters and bikes at one point, and drop it off at a different point “without the need for a docking station.” Every Vogo scooter comes with an OTP based IoT sensor that allows customers to unlock the vehicle.  The company is currently present in Bangalore and Hyderabad, and plans to add over 1,000 pickup points across the 2 cities in the coming year.

Dockless is challenging: Remember Ola’s dockless bicycle sharing category ‘Ola Pedal’ which was launched in December last year? At that time we had pointed out problems with dockless vehicles sharing, and what the service could learn from China.

Bicycle sharing companies were China’s hottest startups for the last couple of years. But they began to topple with shutdowns of Wukong Bike3Vbike, DingDing, financial trouble of Bluegogo, Mingbike, and others. In India, Beijing-based bicycle rental start-up ‘ofo’, started scaling back its India operations.

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The problems with dockless vehicles include lack of civic sense and hence tackling operational costs. After unlocking the vehicle, people may park or drop the vehicles anywhere. In China, People were parking cycles anywhere, blocking the way for pedestrians and traffic, and authorities in China found bicycles dumped in rivers, abandoned anywhere on land, hanging in trees, etc.  Wukong lost 90% of its vehicles to theft.

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