Chalo, a startup that is digitizing bus rides in India and recently raised $ 40 million in a funding round, acquired Amazon-backed Shuttl desktop commute bus aggregator as part of a cash deal, both said on Tuesday.
Chalo founder and chief executive Mohit Dubey said the acquisition of Shuttl, which operates thousands of buses for working professionals, will help his start-up have a presence in many parts of the country, including metropolitan cities, to expand the supply of technologies and products, and also to boost the company’s overseas expansion efforts.
“Shuttl and Chalo, these are the companies that are positioned to be the largest mobility companies in the world. I wish the pandemic hadn’t happened, but it brought the two companies with a similar goal closer together, ”he said in an interview with TechCrunch.
Dubey declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, but said Shuttl co-founder and chief executive Amit Singh had agreed to continue his trip. Chalo will continue to use the Shuttl brand, he said.
“We started by relieving daily commuters. In the process, we ended up creating a category and inspiring other people from different parts of the world to do the same. It’s a bittersweet moment for us. We believe the Shuttl team and legacy will thrive in the new setup as well, ”Singh said in a statement.
For Shuttl investors, too, it’s a bittersweet time. The startup had struggled to raise a new round of funding and had downsized to deal with the pandemic. For months, murmurs around Shuttl closed the shops.
Shuttl had raised more than $ 97 million in a series of funding rounds, according to data intelligence platform Tracxn. The startup counts Amazon, Times Internet, Sequoia Capital India, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Toyota among its backers.
Chalo said the entire current Shuttl team, including several key executives who have been with the startup from the start, will continue to play their roles.
Dubey said he had engaged with Singh from Shuttl for several years, but the two began acquisition talks just two months ago.
At stake is India’s $ 20 billion bus market, almost double the size of taxis. Bus journeys are more accessible to the wider masses of the country, but currently there are very few buses in India: around three per 10,000 people.