LetMeDrive gets acquired, founders look forward to a new innings

LetMeDrive, a technology driven ‘Self-Drive & Chauffeur Driven Car Rental’ service provider, operational in Delhi NCR and Chandigarh, got acquired by a B2B player in the industry. The company was founded by Navendu Saxena and Nimish Agarwal, classmates of from Delhi College of Engineering. LetMeDrive had got among the top 5 self-driving car rentals in India.

Navendu Saxena and Nimish Aggarwal, Founders of LetMeDrive

Maneesh Prasad, Telematics Wire, in a conversation with the founders of LetMeDrive, discussed various issues from technology to ecosystem to going back to the hot-seat.

Q: Though car rental business is growing rapidly and is expected to grow exponentially, some questions have also been raised regarding the space left for the startups when already companies like Ola and Uber are dominating the market.
Navendu: I am optimistic about the startups and opines that although at present the segment is being dominated by these companies there is still there is a lot of space for the new startups to come in.

Q: What percentage of your initiative was technology driven vs domain understanding driven?
Navendu: When we had started the company, we were not very much aware of the domain knowledge and were more focussed on the technology side but it has been learning on the job and once we delved into the business we got used to the nitty-gritty of the business.

Q: Data is the new oil. How do you mobility generating monetizable data?
Navendu: We have not been directly monetizing data but we study the data to derive patterns of usage etc and that is used to improve our business.

Q: How far did you use vehicle telematics? {Beyond track and trace} Any RoI worth mentioning?
Navendu: No, the use of vehicle telematics in our company is mostly limited to tracking and tracing the car the advanced use of technology has not been taking place.

Q: Do you see autonomous vehicles driving mobility in India in next decade or so?
Navendu: I feel India is still around 15 years away. The critical element i.e. the presence of accurate maps is still in very nascent stage and it will take a long time before this issue gets sorted out. Apart from technology, there are a lot of legal issues as well that puts us way behind the developed countries for the autonomous vehicles to come to India.

Q: What is your view on buzz around electric vehicles, many car rentals have announced their enagagement with it?
Navendu: Electric vehicles as of now are just tools to invite curious customers, but they can not replace conventional IC Engine cars as they are expensive and not efficient enough to travel long distances, also India lacks the infrastructure in form of charging stations etc. which is the basic and the biggest hurdle which stands in the way of wider adoption of Electric vehicle.

LetMeDrive Team
LetMeDrive Team

Q: What are your thoughts about the startup ecosystem in India? How do you see the role of government?
Navendu: The present government is doing much but the impact can not be seen on the ground. There are still a lot of legal hurdles that block even the genuine startups from getting the benefits. I feel the government should ensure that the benefits of its schemes do not remain confined to a selected few startups and every genuine startup must benefit. There must also be a proper mechanism if a startup wants to exit the business. It has been an issue which was also voiced in the economic survey last year.

Q: Any comment on insurance telematics or UBI?
Navendu: Yes it is a very nice concept. But I think the Insurance sector in India has a lot to do. We need a lot innovative products like ‘per ride insurance’ which is prevalent in the western countries.

Q: Five years down the line would you like to again be an entreprenuer?
Navendu : Yeah, Once an entreprenuer, always an entrepernuer as they say. It was an emotional moment for us when we handed over the controls of our company to its new bosses. May be as of now we would like to do something for the society; perhaps I may get associated with an NGO etc.

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