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Public transport tech firm Chalo raises $45 million, to expand globally

The funding would help the firm to expand its presence in international markets after its successful entry into South-East Asia

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Peerzada Abrar Bengaluru

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Chalo, a public transport technology company, has raised $45 million as Series D funding. This round is led by incoming investors Avataar Ventures, along with existing investors Lightrock India, WaterBridge Ventures, and Amit Singhal (former Senior VP and Head of Google Search). Chalo has also raised an additional $12 million secured in venture debt from Trifecta and Stride Ventures. This takes the total funds raised by Chalo to $119 million so far.

Chalo didn’t reveal any other financial details, but according to the sources, the firm has crossed a valuation of about $450 million in the new funding round.

The funding is expected to help the firm in the next phase of its growth. It plans to focus on increasing sustainable e-vehicles on the road – both buses and e-bikes, and further enhancing its tech capabilities towards 100 percent  digitisation of buses. The firm also plans to expand its presence in international markets after its successful entry into South-East Asia.

“In the last two years, our capabilities have grown significantly. We have strengthened our core business of city buses, and now offer a multi-modal public transport network solution to cities, encompassing city buses, premium buses, and first and last mile connectivity,” said Mohit Dubey, chief executive officer, Chalo. “Our tech stack is globally relevant, and can help improve the public transport experience in cities around the world.”

Chalo is a tech platform built to improve the consumer experience in city buses and make buses more reliable. With a better and more reliable experience, bus ridership increases. In the Chalo App, passengers can live track their bus and see its live arrival time, thereby eliminating waiting time at bus stops. They can also see how crowded the bus is and buy a ticket or a bus pass via the app. The Chalo Card, enables digital bus tickets for those who are not comfortable using their smartphones for payments.

For bus operators, Chalo has built the complete tech stack to digitise bus operations and offer a digital bus experience. Chalo offers a dedicated mobile app for operators with which they can monitor their buses live, as well as a digital tickets platform that enables mobile, card, and cash tickets in buses. Operators benefit with increased revenue. Digital transactions also reduce cash pilferage.

Chalo is operational in 51 cities live-tracking 15,000 buses in India (Mumbai, Chennai, and several other cities) and select international markets, with a proven record of increasing bus ridership by up to 50 per cent in the first year of implementation itself. Chalo also runs premium office commute buses in Delhi and Kolkata under the brand name Shuttl; and has a fleet of e-bikes for first and last mile connectivity under the brand name Vogo. Recently, Chalo also partnered with BEST in Mumbai to launch the Chalo Bus, an all day long premium AC bus service, where passengers can reserve their seats in advance on the Chalo App.

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First Published: May 22 2023 | 11:39 PM IST

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