With all the buzz that the millennials have with traveling and easy bookings, we had to have the online booking portals that are easy as a button. Today from airfare booking to bus booking, we have all arrangements for easy and fast online booking. One such company that revolutionized the bus traveling industry is RedBus. In August 2006, Phanindra Sama, Sudhakar Pasupunuri, and Charan Padmaraju had launched RedBus which is now a multi-million dollar startup.
Now, traveling might be a necessity, but the aim varies from the need of delight to professional to adventure and many more. The available avenues for transport are many- starting from airplanes to trains to metros and autos. But the foremost commonly used mode of transport remains to be BUS. While traveling from one city to a different city, private buses are operated by bus operators under the supervision of travel agents. With this arrangement there are certain hardships that the consumer faces, this can range from limited seats particularly within the seasons of festivals. But with online ticket booking, this is a completely new and effortless experience for the customer. Initially, we just had an online booking for trains and airplanes which are now too predominant in the market. But the good news is that now we have several players in the market offering easy and efficient bus booking facilities to the consumer. However, the first and now the top bus ticket booking platform is RedBus.
- Company Name-Redbus
- Founders-Phanindra Sama, Sudhakar Pasupunuri, Charan Padmaraju
RedBus - About and how it works
Redbus is a web ticket booking platform that facilitates comfortable and affordable traveling to millions by providing a dynamic and efficient online ticket booking system.RedBus was envisioned to make traveling for Indians a very convenient and cozy experience. Hence Redbus offers a dynamic range of services which include the following:
- Multiple Travel Options Across Thousands of Routes
- Excellent Customer Support for solving travel issues
- Low-cost and affordable tickets
- Extra benefits like discounts, deals, and festive offers, etc.
- M-ticket, E-ticket, and Counter ticket
- Luxurious hotel services
- Bus hirings
- Pilgrimage tours
The users can book tickets using the application and also customize the choices using the Redbus ticket booking application. Ticket booking across various bus types is available at this portal. It also facilitates users by providing exciting bus coupons, festival offers, etc. Other important features like availability of buses, seats, sort of bus and selection of the bus are available within this application.
Also, the RedBus team developed a software package named BOSS for bus operators. This software provides smooth access and thorough knowledge of buses and seating allotments to the customer. And a seat seller which furnishes the knowledge to the agency.
There are several other products at RedBus that make bus travel easier for Indian customers. Each product fuels the opposite and growing one product also leads to the growth of the others. At RedBus, they have call centers, an internet site and franchisees in Mumbai. With all of these arrangements in place, RedBus has been on the top of a highly fragmented bus industry and also taken on to shape it by aggregating information and centralizing.
RedBus - Founders and Team
The founders of RedBus are Phanindra Sama, Sudhakar Pasupunuri, and Charan Padmaraju. All of these three brilliant minds behind RedBus are engineers from BITS Pilani. After they graduated, they worked for several MNCs in Bengaluru. Phanindra Sama worked for STs electronics and Texas instruments, Charan Padmaraju for Honeywell and Sudhakar Pasupunuri for IBM. Phanindra Sama was the mastermind behind this million-dollar venture, Redbus.
RedBus - How did it start?
If you’re wondering as to how the idea of such a mind-boggling thing struck to the founder, Sama, then here is the story of how RedBus was actually born! All of this started when the founder Phanindra Sama was trying to travel from Bangalore to Hyderabad for Diwali vacation in the year 2005. And it so happened that he could not get a bus ticket to travel to his hometown. He wandered all around Bangalore city for a ticket that could take him home for the festival. But unfortunately, he didn’t get a single ticket. That very day, he came to know the disorganization in the system and the huge and unending communication gap between the two tiers of the whole system namely, bus operators and travel agents. Apparently, there was absolutely no translucency on the available seats and price of the ticket with regards to the date of journey, time and all other related variables. And everything related to the bus booking was done through phone calls and if one wants to do something with a ticket, they had to go all the way back to agents every time to book a new ticket or cancel or refund or hundred other things.
When he went through the same issues with ticket booking, Sama felt it was extremely clumsy and time-consuming. And after thinking about it, he came to believe that this could be solved by taking this whole process online. After discussing this new-born idea with his friends, three of the founders decided to enter the realm of the entrepreneurial ground even though they didn’t have entrepreneurial bugs initially. And that’s how RedBus was born.
RedBus - Name, Tagline, and Logo
The name “RedBus” is supposedly taken from the color of the Virgin brand which was started by Richard Branson. This was because of the mastermind behind this venture, Sama was immensely fascinated with his autobiography. And so he wanted to have a color for his business. And because the color of the Virgin brand is Red, they were mutually fiddling on this name for the firm. There’s one more reason to name it RedBus that it is an online-based brand and for the common man’s convenience, the founders wanted an easy and at the same time a catchy name for their startup. So, finally, they named it RedBus!
RedBus - Startup Challenges
All the startups have their fair share of milestones that they have to cross before becoming number 1 in the industry. Similarly, RedBus had its own set of challenges. The challenges that they had to face to take RedBus to where it is today are as follows:
Payment gateway issues for providing easy checkout facilities to the customer
Propagating a similar working environment, culture and value system across offices in different countries.
RedBus - Competitors
Though RedBus is the pioneer in the industry when it comes to online booking for buses yet today it faces intense competition from other predominant market players. The top competitors that directly or indirectly pose cut-throat competition to RedBus are Trabol, TicketGoose, MakeMyTrip, Travelyaari, AbhiBus, My Trip Zone, Ibroad, Simplotel, Purebus, and OYO. Though it sold its stakes to Ibibo, the competition is better faced with combined resources and upgraded technology.
RedBus - Funding and Investors
To date, RedBus has raised an amount of $10.1 million over the span of 14 years.
In 2007, the company received $1 million in its first round of funding from SeedFund and other undisclosed investors. SeedFund is known to invest $500,000 in RedBus while other investors accounted for the remaining $500,000 investment.
Then in 2009, RedBus raised a funding round of a massive amount of $2.5 million from investors like Inventus Capital Partners, Seed Fund and other unnamed investors.
In 2011, this venture again raised a funding of $6.5 million from Helion Venture Partners, Seedfund and Inventus Capital.
In 2012, it raised $210K from Inventus Capital.
In 2013, RedBus was acquired by the Ibibo Group.
RedBus - Growth
Globally, RedBus has 8+ million customers,
2300+ bus operators
100 million trips are booked worldwide using the RedBus application
RedBus sold its stake to Ibibo for $135 million.
RedBus has operations across various countries besides India which are Colombia, Indonesia, Peru, Malaysia, and Singapore.
It currently sells around 220 million tickets/year(contract carriage buses).
RedBus is providing access to nearly 40,000 travel agents across the country
Also, the overall sector is growing at a CAGR of 35-40% per annum.
RedBus enjoys a huge network effect
Also, it witnesses high trust from bus operators because they are stuck to standard commissions and never asked for an increase based on increased volumes.
RedBus is recognized as an organized travel company in the country because it ensures a viable online presence by having call centers as well as franchisees.
RedBus is also very excited about BOSS installations in Bangladesh and Malaysia.
RedBus - Awards and Recognition
The awards and achievements that RedBus backed in its journey of 14 years are as follows:
Phanindra became the second entrepreneur from India to join Endeavour.
The most innovative company from the business-standard.
The most trusted brand from the brand trust report.
Mobile innovation award from the eye for travel.
Phanindra Sama placed under “40 under 40” by Fortune India in 2014.
Phanindra was appointed as the CIO (Chief Innovation Officer) of TSIC (Telangana State Innovation Cell) on 10th November 2017.