Drivekool is a Bangalore based startup that is trying to change how individuals and businesses go about the process of taking driving lessons. By building a marketplace for driving schools, the startup is using technology to bring efficiency to a till now unstructured market. Mahesh Gidwani (founder) tell more.
Who is the team behind Drivekool and how did the idea come to be?
Mahesh Gidwani – Co-Founder and CEO
He is an Entrepreneur with equal agility in managing branding, technology, people and P&L. He had 13+ years of rich experience in architecting, designing and implementing cloud based, service-oriented, multi-tiered and web based solutions and products in various domain in numerous Global organizations across geos.
Mahesh returned from US in 2009 and joined Perot System that got acquired by Dell later. Before returning to India he spent 4+ years in US working with fortune 500 companies in east coast and start-ups in Silicon Valley, west coast. He is also an author of patent pending technology in the area of cloud computing. He has been a speaker at various conferences and loves to blog.
Interestingly he was a key member in Pepsi Change the Game powered by MTv campaign during ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. He appeared in a contest on MTv to get picked by Pepsi and MTv for that brand boosting campaign. He also was instrumental in creating a documentary movie for under privileged children under the project name ‘Utthaan’
After we returned from US my wife wanted to learn driving and inconveniences of finding a right driving school triggered a thought of creating something like this.
Saumitra Kayal –Co-Founder and CTO
Saumitra Kayal, an ISI (Indian Statistical Institute) Kolkata alumni, is an innovative professional with strong educational background. He brings over 19 years of progressive engineering and management experience on the table. Technology for him is an enabler and he loves playing with it to make easy to use solutions that work. He is an accomplished and proven leader who firmly believes that able leadership can make all the difference in the success of an organization. He also holds a US patent.
Kumar Gaurav –Co-Founder and AVP Operations
Kumar, is a person who always looks at new avenues for growth. He brings his prior experience of working with startup to Drivekool. He has been instrumental in driving initial set of customers on the platform. He is capable of indulging people into a conversation with his magnetic persona. He would excel in any domain he chooses to work in as he exudes professional and cordial conduct with a great sense of maturity. He loves what he does and does what he loves and that’s what we love him for.
About other founders, Saumitra Kayal is an IIS Kolkata alumni member with 18+ years of experience and Kumar Gaurav used to work with startup at Bangalore as Sales & Marketing executive. Later we got Laveen G. also on board to strengthen our sales team, who picked up minority stack to join our team.
This is a very unique segment, but one question everyone would have is if the driving school niche is big enough for a specialised marketplace?
This is indeed a huge market. To put the things in perspective, in India we have about 18 odd cars per 1000 individuals whereas china has about 60. Thanks to self-driven car rental companies many out there would like to learn car irrespective of the fact whether they buy car or not. As per our conservative estimate driving training combined with RTO services from top 20 cities is going to make more than USD 5B market by 2020.
Who is your main target customer? How are you gathering the service providers for driving training?
We cater to individuals as well as corporate clients such as KFC, FAASOS, Infants Travels, and many more. We have established processes that many of our affiliate driving schools understand well now, which helps us in providing reliable services to our customers. Our service providers go to customers’ place to provide training.
What is the Sarati Institute and how does it fit in with the marketplace?
Sarati Driving Training Institute not only runs courses with driving training and vehicle troubleshooting skills to provide employments to the unemployed youth but also provides high quality driving training to individuals as well and hence it fits very well into marketplace.
How has your growth been since launch and what are the future plans?
Growth has been satisfactory so far. We have done 4K bookings with 125+ driving schools in Bangalore. In terms of GMV this would be INR 70L+ . We have also been very successful in building trust with driving schools as well as with our customers, which is crucial for any marketplace. About future we are chalking out plans to enter other cities and will do it soon.
What is your one tip for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Sometimes overanalyses brings paralysis so just do it 🙂