His new venture – RoyalAuto.in – seeks to assemble all the unorganised autorickshaws in the city which don’t function under the Ola and Uber banner, and improve their accessibility to the public. Through his web-app, Virupakshan not only connects on-the-road autos to customers nearby but also ensures return rides for the drivers.
“As of now, in two weeks since inception with our beta mode, around 700-odd drivers have registered. This was enabled because we went stand-to-stand to meet and convince them. These are independent drivers who say their life has come to a standstill since the likes of Ola and Uber arrived in the city. Most of them don’t know how to use technology and struggle even with a simple message or GPS directions. Similarly, there are many in the public who still hail autorickshaws from the road, and then haggle for money. This is where we come in to connect both these demographics,” explained Virupakshan.
RoyalAuto.in will show all nearby autorickshaws on a map along with phone numbers and info on where the ‘base stand’ of the auto is. “Drivers ask for extra cash from people because they don’t get return rides. But in this case, customers pick autos depending on the latter’s base stand which correlates with the direction they want to travel in. This enables the driver to get a return ride easily,” he says.
Virupakshan does not charge drivers to be listed on his website now. “In four months or so, we would charge them, maybe Rs 10 per day,” he said. The former Infosys employee has been a serial entrepreneur, opening a start-up that changed the way people do construction, and then another venture, Kartla, which provided the contact info of all local businesses online.