When we were sick and tired of waiting for our buses, Shuttl brought in a new era booking bus through their app, which is both smart and cost-effective for the world of users who are bound to travel to and for every day for their official, personal or business requirements. Though Shuttl exhibited an exemplary rise, tensions always mounted at the backdrop of the fundraisers but little did the bus aggregators know that their services would heap in losses as early as in less than 6 years.
Buses were quite a popular means of transport and communication but with the starting of the past decade, which presaged the soaring prices of fuels, buses rapidly began to be synonymous with losses.
Did you wonder why there are not many bus aggregators in the market when compared to other means of communication? This is because the accumulation and maintenance of buses are not only hectic but also expensive.
The Rise of Shuttl
In a country dominated by cars, taxis, and bikes, Shuttl was founded in 2015 by two IITians Amit Singh and Deepanshu Malviya in Gurgaon, Haryana. It was designed as a bus commute service run through the app.
Sequoia, Lightspeed, Times Internet, Amazon India, Toyota Tsusho were the first batch of investors who decided to put in their funds in this startup in 2015. Shuttl also raised close to $36 million from Toyota Tsusho Corporate, SPARX Group, and some anonymous investors in November 2019.
Starting from Haryana, where Shuttl was deemed to operate within the Delhi NCR, the company received healthy responses from the investors and planned to expand both in size and in income. However, the path it has chosen was simply not meant to be a successful route!
The Jinx in operating Bus service in India
In a country like India, where cities are connected smoothly by bus service run by the government as well as private operators, bus service is otherwise an easy target. However, throughout the years there seemed to be a jinx operating against other third-party bus service operators, which is not ousting the present operators but is playing against the others who are aiming to run their bus services.
The well-known ridesharing multinational company Ola seemed to take interest in buses since forever. However, ever since they started with their bus aggregation they didn’t attract much revenue out of it. This led to Ola’s exit from the bus service in 2018.
Following the ridesharing giant, numerous other startups that began with buses seemed to have already vanished or detoured by the start of 2019, including the scaling down of the Bengaluru-based ZipGo, which resorted to cut down their services and limiting it to a bunch of select cities.
However, nothing seemed to change for Shuttl even as late as 2019, when the company still boasted as the largest aggregator of buses in the country, with around 1200 buses.
Shuttl and its mounting losses
Though Shuttl has reportedly raised over $50 million, as per the reports in 2019, the firm also reported losses like anything. The bus aggregator lost around $8.21 million in the very first year after the company was set up, FY 2015-16, according to the company’s Registrar of Companies filings.
The losses started to further mount and went on at pace with its fundraises. It also exhibited losses in the next year’s report, where it has been seen the company allegedly invested Rs 15.52 to earn Rs 1. However, it might have been better in the upcoming years had it not been for the coronavirus pandemic, which hammered in the final nail.
What went wrong with Shuttl?
Shuttl began with an impossible venture, continued with it even when other large ventures backed off from the same and raised enormous funds from its investors without pondering on the losses that it is likely to suffer.
Ever since the company came into being, losses started to reign supreme. Furthermore, the company also became prey to severe permit violations, where around 50 of its vehicles were impounded by the transport department of Delhi and Delhi NCR for violating permits.
The company has also earlier received warnings and impoundments from the Haryana state authorities, Shuttl’s native state, where the company is stated to have run their buses without permits. These can be summed up as some grave missteps of Shuttl leading to the worst.
The Aftermath faced by Shuttl
Shuttl indeed chose a path that is fraught with uncertainties but the company could have dealt with the situation if the COVID-19 pandemic had not exhibited such a ruthless stance as it did to the tour and travel industry.
The COVID-19 onslaught initially seemed like a dream boost for the company, where the company reported a 48% increase in its total revenues in March 2020, which encouraged the founders of the startup to raise its fleet but this didn’t continue for the company for long.
Running the company throughout the years, even amidst the coronavirus scare and keeping up with their losses meant pay cuts and layoffs, which Shuttl is not unknown to.
Fearing further losses of revenue ahead in 2020, the company announced around 50% pay cuts for their employees along with shaving off any possibilities of bonuses for them.
Shuttl co-founder and CEO Amit Singh referred to the pandemic as “an act of God” and added, “We can’t save all jobs, but if we save the company…we can ensure our team members are better off in the long run”.
While the company was gearing up to witness a new growth post-Covid 19, with the influx of the second wave of the pandemic that turned worse, it just never happened with Shuttl.
Now that Shuttl has experienced enough, it has finally decided to end its streak, as per Amit Singh’s latest tweets. The company is yet to post any upcoming news of merger or acquisition nor did it disclose the other company, but with Singh’s recent tweets, we can anticipate something very soon.
Ending on a Good Note
“All that’s well ends well” and Shuttl seems to be ending it on a good note where the company is being generous on its employees’ exit policies, cutting it down to 3 months from 6 months along with helping them to get placed successfully in the new company.
Who are the founders of Shuttl?
Shuttl was founded in 2015 by two IITians Amit Singh and Deepanshu Malviya in Gurgaon, Haryana.
What is the revenue of Shuttl?
The total revenue of Shuttl was Rs 148 crore in 2020 and it incurred a losses of Rs 165 crore.
When was Shuttl founded?
Shuttl is a office commute bus aggregator based out of Gurgaon, India that was founded in 2015 and operates in more than 6 metro cities across the country.
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