YULU: Environmentally Viable Mode of Transportation for the Last Mile

A good transportation system is a must for the development of any country. However, most of the modes of transportation we are using today is damaging our environment and causing severe air pollution. Air Pollution has become a matter of serious concern in most of the cities of India, and our country unfortunately is a home to 14 of world's 15 most polluted cities. Wikipedia says that Air pollution contributes to the premature deaths of 2 million Indians every year. Emissions from vehicles being one of the major contributors of air pollution, it has become necessary to move towards environmentally viable modes of transportation. Addressing these issues, YULU has come up as a perfect solution. YULU caters to urban mobility and its products are super comfortable and ergonomically designed to facilitate easy shift from conventional vehicles.

Startup Name YULU
Headquarter Bangalore
Sector Travel & Transportation, Electric Vehicles
Co-founders Amit Gupta, Naveen Dhachuri, RK Misra, Hemant Gupta
Founded August 2017
Parent Organization Yulu Bikes Pvt Ltd.
Website www.yulu.bike

About YULU and How it Works
Electronic Vehicles Industry Details
Founders of YULU and Team
How was YULU Started
YULU - Name, Tagline and Logo
YULU - Revenue Model
YULU - User Acquisition
YULU - Startup Challenges
YULU - Funding and Investors
YULU - Awards
YULU - Growth
YULU - Future Plans

About YULU and How it Works

Yulu Miracle
Yulu Miracle

YULU is a technology driven mobility platform to enable Integrated Urban Mobility across public and private modes of transport. Using Micro Mobility Vehicles (MMV) through a user- friendly mobile app, YULU provides a seamless, shared and sustainable first and last mile connectivity.

The team at YULU are driven by three guiding principles of urban mobility- Accessibility, Availability and Affordability. In the process they are empowering Indian city dwellers to bring about a paradigm shift by making urban commute efficient and eco- friendly.

We are passionate about design and innovation for urban mobility. We understood early in the journey that the form factor will play a major role while scaling YULU services across the country. With this view, we invested our bandwidth in designing India’s first sharing-friendly smart bicycle, “YULU Move” that is suitable for our local cultural and usage patterns.

Yulu takes help from local manufacturers to produce the products in India. After running the service with bicycles and understanding the need of the market, they decided to add electric mobility to their service. Looking at the gap in the market, they decided to design “YULU Miracle” which is a unique battery operated, lightweight, easy to ride, small 2 wheeler. YULU Miracle has a maximum speed of 25 kmph and it comes under the exempted category where there is no requirement for driving license or helmet. It has been enabling individuals to take eco-friendly rides at pocket-friendly prices and reduce carbon footprint. YULU Miracle is using swappable lithium-ion battery and has developed highly scalable networking of charging stations.

Yulu uses IoT, Machine learning & AI and Cloud computing to deliver a seamless experience via a user-friendly app. Using IoT as the backbone of the operation, their dock-less vehicles can be rented seamlessly on a pay-per- use basis. Users can book a ride via the iOS or Android app and the smart bikes can be unlocked via QR codes.

As pioneers in this space, YULU has influenced several policies for sustainable mobility in India. The YULU team has built a technology platform focused on micro-mobility and are harnessing technology to solve complex urban mobility problems using its unique and smart vehicles. It is the only company in the country, in the micro-mobility segment operating with swappable battery solutions for EVs. They have embarked on a journey with multiple hardware innovation ranging from unique battery charging stations to developing various ML/AI models, IoT devices, etc. YULU users can take a GREEN ride just by scanning the QR Code to unlock any YULU smart virtually dock less vehicle.

YULU is building a technology platform focused on micro-mobility. Technology is at core for YULU, as they are harnessing technology to solve complex urban mobility problems using unique and smart vehicles. YULU platform is simple, robust, scalable, supports multiple vehicles, and uses a common information model. Their belief in data-driven business, have led them to develop ML/AI models powered by data gathered from Users/IoT devices to provide better user experience and increase operational efficiency. They try to provide the best User Experience by keeping the app simple to use.

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Electronic Vehicles Industry Details

Globally, urban mobility is witnessing a historic shift from vehicle ownership to Mobility-as-a-service. The future of urban mobility is Shared & Sustainable which is Always Available, Easily Accessible & Commonly Affordable.

Micromobility’s potential extends well beyond connecting people to mass transit, more than 60% of the trips in big cities are of less than 5 Km and Yulu is targeting this segment through its eco-friendly vehicles designed for a single passenger and sharing usage model.

Yulu's core target group is young millennials, working professionals and college students in Tier 1 & Tier 2 / Smart cities of India.

Founders of YULU and Team

Founders of Yulu
Founders of Yulu | (From left) Hemant Gupta, Amit Gupta, RK Misra & Naveen Dachuri

Amit Gupta - Co-founder & CEO, Yulu
Amit graduated from IIT Kanpur and received the prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award from the institution. Amit formerly co-founded profitable, billion-dollar startup InMobi. Amit played an instrumental role in building InMobi’s revenue engine and its expansion in 15+ countries. Prior to starting YULU, Amit built a new business unit for InMobi that created massive value for Telecom Operators and Smartphone manufacturers. Amit comes with an experience of scaling up and building businesses from scratch.

RK Misra - President - Ecosystem Partnerships, Yulu
He founded and successfully exited Tenet Technologies (Sold to Hughes) and Traveljini (sold to ICICI Ventures) post which he decided to leave the corporate world to
engage with the issues of Public Policy & Governance. RK is associated with several organizations like Carnegie India, Center for Smart Cities (Founder), SAHYOG (Founder), Karnataka CM's Vision Group . He did his graduation from IIT Kanpur and Masters from Tokyo University. He is also a Fellow of Harvard Kennedy School of Govt and Aspen Institute.

Naveen Dachuri - Co-founder & Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Yulu
He played leadership role at Ascent Consulting where he architected and implemented a complex analytics platform for US Federal Aviation Administration from ground up.
Prior to that, he was Technical Director for Data Analytics at BIAS Corporation. He also co-founded Learnora, an online educational platform. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from IIT Kanpur and a Master’s degree in Computer Graphics from Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea (GIST).

Hemant Gupta - Co-founder & Chief of Operations (COO), Yulu
After his MBA from Symbiosis, Pune, Hemant joined A.P. Moller- Maersk as part of their highly acclaimed global talent management program. After achieving global recognition in Maersk for his stellar performance, he moved to The Netherlands. In his 14 years of professional journey, Hemant has delivered impressive results across the various management roles he has held in logistics and supply chain. Hemant is passionate about traveling, the tech-domain and some other habits he picked up from Netherlands, like fitness and biking!

Currently, YULU is 70+ full-time staff strong. Additionally, they have 160 field staff who are responsible for on-ground Operations. Attitude and eagerness are the icebreakers to be working at YULU. They strongly believe that the role of senior management is to inspire people to achieve extraordinary outcomes by giving them the clarity of purpose, the required resources and freedom to execute.

We prefer to spend quality time with the team in explaining the “WHY” and discuss the "WHAT” and leave “HOW” part of them. Another thing we value a lot is the sense of ownership. If someone is passionate and is taking ownership, the success rate of that mission increases significantly. Last but not least, we believe that someone works hard, nothing is impossible to achieve. - Amit says describing Yulu's work culture

How was YULU Started

The vision to do something for creating a bigger impact in the society was the start off point for the founding team of YULU. Traffic congestion and air pollution were the problems which gained their attention and thus, they built Yulu, focusing on solving urban mobility problems and to address the rising air pollution and traffic congestion issues

Yulu provides an eco- friendly UMaaS (Urban Mobility as a Service) which is an affordable and scalable solution of the first and last-mile commute option to citizens. Their vehicles are designed for shared micro-mobility for Indian climatic and road conditions.

Yulu Logo
Yulu Logo

YULU in Chinese translate to simple. The team at YULU believed this aptly describes their products as they are simple and convenient to use.

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YULU - Revenue Model

The YULU platform works on a pay-per-use model, a first time user needs to register on the app with a refundable security deposit. The MOVE + MIRACLE plan requires a refundable deposit of Rs. 250. Users are billed Rs 10 to start and Rs 10 for every 10 minutes for Miracle usage. Yulu Move users pay Rs 10 for the first 30 minutes and Rs 5 for the subsequent 30 minutes.
One can also pause the trip anywhere and keep the vehicle overnight by paying an additional charge. Their revenue model also includes exclusive mobility solutions for corporates. YULU is building a holistic ecosystem for Micro mobility with Cities, Corporates, Citizens along with various OEM’s and Policy Makers.

YULU - User Acquisition

The Yulu team has utilised WOM (word of mouth) Marketing for their initial market reach. Nevertheless, the unique Design of the products created inquisitiveness to try the product once!

They have acquired more than 1.5 million customers with zero user acquisition cost, it’s the uniqueness of the products which helped them in acquiring the customers along with solving the pain points of first and last connectivity for the customers.

Today Yulu is changing the way Indians are moving in big cities. They believe Electric Vehicles are the future of mobility, for known reasons like good quality of air and their vehicles are setting the trend for EV adoption in the big cities of India.

YULU - Startup Challenges

Public transport in India is dependent on fossil fuels, and it can be a burden on the common man in terms of affordability. The ecosystem for the development of electric vehicles is at a nascent stage compared to other countries.

According to the team of YULU, there are 2 challenging factors in introducing the 'Yulu' concept in India

  1. Primarily, changing the mindset of the people.
  2. Secondary, there is need for partners of the ecosystem to think alike

Thankfully, the first signs of change in mindset and adoption is already visible. Compared to 3 years ago, the trend of the cycle has grown. There are classic examples right from CEO’s to individual employees choosing an eco-friendly mode of transport to work. They are also aware of the bad air and want to reduce the carbon emitted by all the fuel-based vehicle. The Yulu team believes that with help from Government agencies and private organizations, they can work better towards making Indian cities pollution free.

We also would like to urge to private organizations and Govt agencies to come forward and offer solutions. Today many private IT parks are offering spaces to us to set up charging stations or parking zones.
The first mile and last mile connectivity should be adopted by every commuter to ease the traffic congestion. However, we need help from Government agencies to complement their solutions by providing solutions like dedicated cycling tracks, charging stations in public places etc. Public Bike Sharing zones should be available near every transportation or community hub. We feel roads should be constructed well and proper parking lanes should be built to place the smart vehicles.

YULU - Funding and Investors

Yulu has raised $ 7 Million seed funding in total till, October 2019.

Date Stage Amount Investor
Mar 1, 2018 Seed $7M Undisclosed

YULU - Awards

Yulu has been awarded-

  • Emerging startup of the year by Entrepreneur India
  • Coolest start-up of the Year by Business Today.
  • Most Innovative Startup by Inc42
  • Cypher - Great Learning Data Science Awards 2019 for AI implementation in mobility

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YULU - Growth

YULU has the largest fleet of bicycles or e-bikes in India, with 8,500 bikes(known as Yulu Move) and close to 2500 e-bikes(known as YULU Miracles). YULU now has 1.5 Mn registered users and is currently present in Bengaluru, New Delhi, Greater Mumbai, Pune, and Bhubaneswar.

YULU has grown to become a movement because it is solving the complex problem of First and Last Mile connectivity while also helping alleviate the challenges of congestion and air pollution. Ride-hailing giant - Uber has also partnered with them for making urban commute efficient and eco-friendly.

YULU - Future Plans

Their goal is to run Yulu service in all Tier 1 and the rest of the Smart cities in India. They envision to be the largest micro-mobility player in India and have 1 Mn shared electric 2 wheelers by 2022. The company is also planning to launch their service outside of India by forming strategic partnerships.

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About Chayanika Goswami

Chayanika is an MBA in Finance and a trained Digital Marketer. SEO and content writing are her hobbies turned profession. She is a rover. In her free time, she loves traveling and cracking jokes.