Chalo raises $40 million in Series C funding

By Tarush Bhalla
Chalo will use almost $10 million of the proceeds from the current funding to buy back employee shares, while also enabling exits for early angel investors. (Photo: iStock)

BENGALURU : Public transport technology startup Chalo on Tuesday said it has raised $40 million in its Series C funding round led by Lightrock India and Filter Capital.

The round also saw participation from existing investors including - WaterBridge Ventures, Raine Venture Partners, former WhatsApp Inc. executive Neeraj Arora and former Google Inc. executive Amit Singhal.

With this fund raise, Chalo aims to invest further in technology, deepen its presence in India, and expand to international cities.

The startup will be using almost $10 million of the proceeds from the current funding to buy back employee shares, while also enabling exits for early angel investors.

Chalo is a consumer tech platform built to improve passenger experience, and optimise bus operations thereby increasing ridership and utilisation. For bus operators, Chalo has built the complete tech stack to digitise bus operations and offer a technology-led digital bus experience.

“Buses are India’s number one form of public transport holding 48% of travel share. Despite this, the experience is broken. At Chalo, we deploy technology that significantly improves the bus experience, and thereby increases ridership. We are glad to find partners like Lightrock and Filter Capital who share our vision of creating a positive impact on society and the environment," said Mohit Dubey, chief executive officer (CEO), Chalo.

Currently, the startup claims to have powered 20 million bus rides in September, this year. It currently has 15,000 buses live on its platform and a presence in 31 cities across Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, among other Indian states.

“Public transport is the backbone to build a larger mobility platform addressing mobility needs at scale. We are impressed by the founding team’s innovative, and technology led approach combined with a deep sense of purpose to serve the society," said Vaidhehi Ravindran, partner, Lightrock.

The platform also allows bus operators to reduce revenue leakage and cash management burden by converting cash tickets into digital transactions via the Chalo App and Chalo Card.

“The Chalo founders are seasoned entrepreneurs tackling a large market opportunity; their technology platform has robust product-market fit, attractive network effects, and a dominant leadership position; and their business has a clear path to scale and long-term value creation. We are thrilled to be a part of the next leg of Chalo’s journey," said Nitin Nayar, co-founder and managing partner, Filter Capital India Advisors LLP

The company had raised $7 million in equity funding, earlier in January, this year.

“Bus mobility in India is a $35 billion market opportunity. Unfortunately, it has not seen any tech disruption or meaningful service improvements. Chalo offers a full-stack solution for passengers, fragmented private bus operators and municipalities to improve this essential citizen service for over 350 million Indians," said Manish Kheterpal, partner, WaterBridge Ventures.


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