- Baaz Bikes is one such startup in the space that is looking to solve the mobility needs of the gig workers with its “cost-effective” end-to-end EV mobility platform.
- The startup aims to build the entire ecosystem, including bikes, battery swaps stations, and software, to help gig workers kick start their journey in the most cost-effective manner.
- The startup has established its assembly facility in Faridabad, Haryana, and expects to produce 1,000 bikes in the next 120 days and 5,000 by the end of FY23.
Baaz Bikes develops an end-to-end platform, including bikes, battery swap stations, and software, for gig workers to increase their take-home income and start their journey in a cost-effective manner.
Nowadays Electric Vehicle (EVs) is the buzzword in the automobile industry and the startup world. Not only the biggies of the industry like Ola and Ather are pushing towards a greener future, but a host of startups across India are evaluating every segment/stakeholder in the EV revolution and building solutions for the same.
Baaz Bikes is one such startup in the space that is looking to solve the mobility needs of the gig workers with its “cost-effective” end-to-end EV mobility platform. This Delhi-based startup sells its own-assembled bikes to a chain of rental partners who resell them to gig workers on the platform. A system of automated battery swap stations and machines have been installed by the startup across regions where gig workers can access them.
The startup aims to build the entire ecosystem, including bikes, battery swaps stations, and software, to help gig workers kick start their journey in the most cost-effective manner.
The founders of the startup Anubhav Sharma, Shubham Srivastava, Sahil Singh Malik, Abhijeet Saxena, and Karan Singla have laid down the startup, with a strong founding team and sector expertise that helped them build a purpose-specific product.
IIT Delhi’s automobile club — Axlr8r Formula Racing brought together the motorsport enthusiasts and budding engineers. Together they built a Formula car, by which they became the first and only Indian team to have their electric car running on the prestigious F1 Circuit in Germany.
The founder member said, “we had made a team by working on several auto projects together. And realised that we had unique insights to building successful world-class EVs and the opportunity must be leveraged,”.
With their first venture, ElecTorq Technologies (parent company), the engineers donned the entrepreneur’s hat in 2018. While building key auto products for clients like Vogo and Rapido, they continued to work on their flagship product, the Baaz Bike. In the year 2019, the first generation of the bike was ready. Due to the pandemic, the founders could see the rise of the ‘delivery culture’ and decided to investigate the problem of the workforce behind it.
The founder says “There was no specific platform that focussed on making the lives of gig workers easy. Their in-hand incomes are a result of how much they earn and spend. Companies like Zomato and Dunzo are focussed on increasing their earnings. The more they get orders, the more they earn. But our focus is on the spending side, that includes the cost of purchasing, maintaining, and operating a vehicle, which is important for a gig worker to maintain or afford,”.
Usually, a gig worker approaches a rental company and pays a fixed price for an EV on rent, starting from Rs 5,000 — To rs 8,000 per month. In some cases, this upfront cost is less than the worker’s monthly income, which can sometimes be less than the cost itself. Top of that, the worker is responsible for everything, starting from charging to technical support.
Now let’s see how Baaz Bikes is attempting to create a differentiator in the market. One is its focus on gig workers and a purpose-built product.
“Our concepts are focussed and have been built specifically to benefit gig workers. It’s a robust product, has no plastic components that can break, and is designed to go for 120 km per day without hurting the backs,” Says the founder says
Secondly, the cost-efficiency or the unit economies for a gig worker himself. The platform sells the bike to the rental partner at a fixed price (Rs 30,000 per bike), Later on, they rent it out to the gig worker at a monthly rent of as low as Rs 1,500. The worker is charged on a per-kilometre basis, which turns out to be beneficial for him, especially on days he has limited deliveries.
As micro-entrepreneurs, the rental partners provide workers with on-the-ground support, acting as a point of contact in case of problems.
Anubhav says “The total costs of a gig worker could be the same, but they would benefit from low upfront costs, comfortable ergonomics over long distances, a hyperlocal battery swap network, and a support ecosystem on the ground”.
According to the founders, there is a value in building the entire ecosystem that includes bikes, battery swap, and software. This makes sense for a player like Baaz that operates in a hyperlocal space.
The plan is similar to Taiwanese company Gogoro’s, which has in-house Smart Scooters and a modular battery-swapping infrastructure of 2,000 GoStations. Besides having its own electric scooter sharing service it offers vehicle innovations to vehicle maker partners.
The founder says “We aim to build a one-stop-shop to fulfil every need of a gig worker to start his journey. Everything will be provided in-house with limited dependency on third parties or partners,”.
How will the company Earn?
The platform earns by selling bikes to rental partners at a margin of about 20 per cent. Besides that, the startup is looking to make money through the per kilometre cost they charge on battery swaps.
Currently, the startup is profitable on the per kilometre cost (contribution margin positive) and has about 50 bikes (proof of concept) and swap stations living in two major areas of New Delhi—Saket and Malviya Nagar. And automatic battery swap stations have been set up across restaurants.
The startup has established its assembly facility in Faridabad, Haryana, and expects to produce 1,000 bikes in the next 120 days and 5,000 by the end of FY23. The fleet size purchased by a dealer could start from as low as 50 to 250 bikes.
Several small local companies and two-wheeler rental startups operate in the space, including Yulu Bikes and Zypp.
The closest competition comes from Yulu Bikes which follows a Yulu-owned and operated shared mobility model where people can pick up these electric bikes from the nearest public points in the short or long term.
The same model is even handled by third-party franchise partners. However, gig workers are not entirely focused on Yulu, but on people who need a second vehicle to cover short distances.
To date, Baaz Bikes has raised about $2.3 million (Pre-Series A) and is backed by Kalaari Capital, AdvantEdge, 9Unicorns, and Sumant Sinha (CMD, Renew Power). In the near future, the startup hopes to close a Series A funding round with investors. By the end of the current financial year, the company expects to have an ARR of $5 million.