Bengaluru-based EV bus startup FreshBus has raised Rs 26 crore in a seed funding round led by travel tech company ixigo.
The startup is set to debut its services in Hyderabad and Bengaluru by introducing 24 electric buses. The company aims to expand its operations to encompass more than 1,000 buses across India within the next 2-3 years. The startup’s initial operating routes are expected to be announced in March 2023.
According to the company’s statement, The smart bus platform will operate on a complete-stack structure, providing a broad selection of amenities such as quiet air-conditioned cabins, cozy seating, affable and uniformed crew, real-time monitoring of air quality and temperature via the Internet of Things (IoT), security cameras, personal charging stations, as well as Wi-Fi, among other things.
Unlike the existing inter-city bus aggregators, FreshBus will be a technology-enabled smart bus operator that will build and own the customer experience for travellers end-to-end across finding, tracking, and booking their electric intercity buses via the FreshBus mobile app and website. The total market size for inter-city bus travel is close to $20 billion and is expected to grow more in the next few years.
Founded by serial entrepreneur Sudhakar Reddy Chirra, who earlier built and scaled India’s 2nd largest bus aggregator, Abhibus. Reddy has over 15 years of experience in the business domain and in managing technology-led businesses.
“FreshBus was born out of a desire to address the pain areas of inter-city bus travelers in India, such as lack of punctuality, unscheduled stops, poor customer service, unprofessional staff, a low bar for cleanliness, inconvenient boarding points, unhygienic pit-stops for women, etc,” said Reddy.
“FreshBus aims to address these issues by emphasizing on quality and customer experience to make bus travel a hassle-free experience for all. We will offer a more environment friendly and affordable alternative to existing intercity public transport which is currently dominated by fossil-fuel buses. A single FreshBus will save over 90,000 liters of diesel and reduce close to 200 tonnes of CO2 emissions in a span of one year. That is equivalent to the effect of almost 10,000 trees on the environment,” Reddy added.