This is the era of digitalization where everybody is going digital; be it individual, a corporate house, IT or any business for that matter. There are market places for every single thing. In India one sector that was yet to join was driving schools. But now that is here too. Drivekool, an online forum for driving schools and their customers was established. Here, one can book driving classes online, request for other RTO services like driving licenses, international driving licenses, commercial driving licenses, an address change, NOC and road tax. “It also provides free mock tests to help customers prepare for their learner’s license”, says Mahesh Gidwani, Founder and CEO.
The Starting point
Like most of us still searching for a good driving school to learn driving, Mahesh and his wife were looking for a credible one, which would provide unbiased professional training. But the quality of training was questionable. After brain storming and discussing with a few peers and colleagues they came to a conclusion that this problem needs to be addressed ASAP. And thus Drivekool was formed.
Mahesh had returned from the US in 2009, and had joined Perot Systems, and later Dell, where he met he met Saumitra Kayal and Kumar Gaurav, the now Co-founders of Drivekool. The trio discussed every detail and made Drivekool possible.
The current market scenario and the path ahead
“Market-wise, almost every individual who is above the age of 16 is our customer, as they might want to learn driving and apply for a license,” says Mahesh. More than the supply of good drivers there is a huge demand for it. Drivekool targets businesses that need drivers, so the potential candidates could be taxi aggregators, bus operators, e-commerce companies and food or restaurant chain companies.
Currently Drivekool is operating only in Bangalore and has over 100 driving schools, with over 400 vehicles. The platform has over 2500 bookings and 1500 customers. But taking drivekool to the point where it is today was not at all easy. This was something that never existed. Challenges kept on coming in their way, and the biggest challenge was convincing driving schools to come on board and later pay for the service. Next was finding schools that were reliable and discharged quality service. “Driving school owners and their staff members don’t understand technology; that makes adoption slightly slower than we thought,” adds Mahesh.
Drivekool is looking forward to expand and presently they are operating only in Bengaluru and plans further to make it Pan-Indian. This is indeed a great step ahead in increasing driving literacy and safe driving. “As per reports, we have accidents every minute and a death every 3.7 minutes on the road. This also causes national loss of over $20 billion. We definitely can’t take pride on these figures,” concludes Mahesh.
India was the sixth-largest vehicle manufacturer in the world as of 2013. 2014 report says that over 3.22 million passenger vehicles were rolled out. India also is the eighth-largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, and the second-largest motorcycle manufacturer. The total turnover of the automobile industry has been estimated close to $35 billion.
Since there is high rise in the manufacturing of vehicles, there is also a piercing uphill rise in the demand curve for skilled drivers. Reports suggest that by the end of this year, the country’s road freight segment would need close to 51 million skilled truck drivers. With increasing need for drivers in every sector, be it food, e-commerce, transport or delivery, what needs to be seen it whether Drivekool be able to manage this fuss and be successful in what they have aimed for.