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Sharon Lobo

IWB Blogger

Moksha Srivastava Shares Her Route To Success In Bike Rental Business

  • IWB Post
  •  September 1, 2018

Vroom! Vroom! Vroom! I am taking you to meet one super badass lady!

Meet Moksha Srivastava, who started a hassle-free bike renting service for motorcycle enthusiasts across India and make traveling on a bike a fun ride. After having an awful motorcycle renting experience herself, she saw an opportunity to make this space better. ‘It was the worst and best experience of my life,’ she says.

Her venture Wheelstreet connects bike owners to a boot-full of options to choose from, irrespective of whether you want to go on a long trip or take a quick ride nearby. Excerpts from a chat:

Tell us what is the market currently looking at and how are you dealing with the competition?

We work with small-time vendors, mostly to give them business. There weren’t many working in this field, but now new firms have come up with apps, new ideas, etc. I feel it’s a good thing that the market is expanding. Most of them have their own bikes, so even though they are the competition, we do consider them as potential vendors.

Initially, motorcycle rental market was an unorganized space. How was it dealing with the chaos?

Yes, when we started, it had been an unorganized place. Now we have designed an app for the vendors where all the inventory can be managed and the bike rent is uploaded. Through this process, we have standardized the prices. For example, if someone has an Activa, and one vendor prices it at  Rs. 15, even the other vendors have to price it around Rs. 16 or 17, not more than that. Previously the prices differed and, due to lack of the organized information, everyone had been charging whatever they felt like. Now people can check the reviews, prices, and location which encompasses us to work in an organized way.

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What sparked this idea?

I was studying in my final year and got an internship which demanded me to travel from Delhi to Gurgaon. I had to do field work so, at my friend’s suggestion, I rented an Activa for 6000. It was such a bad experience. Things promised to me were not provided and I had to spend over 12000 because the bike was in such a bad shape. I noticed that there had been a massive market for rental bikes. I researched a lot and launched the venture in 2014.

Motorcycles have always been associated with road trips.

You will be surprised to know, Sharon, that now people hire bikes for commute mainly. Traffic has increased, and many look forward to using a two-wheeler which saves time and easy to cut through. I have seen cases where people rent bikes for 4-5 hours to just search for homestay rent. The long trip is definitely a big section for us, but 80% of our business is coming from the commute section. In fact, the female rides are increasing now.

Oh! Tell us more about it.

I’m personally a great fan of Royal Enfield and love riding it. Girls do hire bikes, too. Although, a huge percentage of girls are still hiring Activa for an intercity commute. Not everyone is comfortable with changing gears all the time, especially in jam-packed traffic. There are even biker groups only for women who go for long trips. We also recently sponsored a trip only for women from the city. I was surprised to see girls and married women come ahead. This is the kind of change happening.

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What damage policy do you follow?

All these bikes carry black and yellow number plates. They have an insurance. When a bike is damaged, the vendor can claim insurance. If there are minor damages, we charge a small fee. Few parts of the bike can be repaired easily in cases of damage, so the person just needs to pay for that. The rider has to pay 5000 in a worst-case scenario but I have not seen anyone pay more than Rs. 500, so far. Usually, customers make sure that the bike is safe and secure. And our target audiences are students and working professionals.

Bike rentals can be easily misused though.

It cannot be misused. We have kilometer limit, speed limit and details attached to the GPS. The GPS is attached to the bike cannot be removed. If the conditions are not followed, then we turn off the GPS and ask them to return it.

Do people take bikes on rent for special occasions? 

Many people rent a Harley Davidson on occasions like Valentine’s Day. I have also seen girls booking it for their boyfriends. When we sit on a bike, the feeling of the breeze hitting your face and closeness of a person behind you makes a special bond.

What makes your founder partnership work?

Pranay is a dear friend to me. He has pursued his studies in engineering, and I don’t have any technical knowledge. We decided to divide the work accordingly. He is looking after the business development, and I am handling the marketing team, HR, and finance. We pick an hour where we discuss strategies and ideas.  Once work is assigned, we don’t poke nose in each other’s work.

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What is the set-up in your office like?

There are only two cabins in my office. One is for customer support, and another one is for meetings and interviews. Otherwise, it’s an open space and the environment is different from other offices. My team loves this environment. We always solve problems together.

First published on Nov 20, 2017.

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