WhistleDrive - Making Employees' Daily Office Commute a Breeze

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Unfortunately, the public transport system has never been up to the mark in India. In most cases, the buses, suburban trains and metro trains are all overcrowded. The number of passengers traveling in Mumbai suburban rails during peak hours is almost twice the maximum capacity of the trains. Besides, the means of public transport lacks maintenance and also safety. Thankfully, employers are considering the many inconveniences the employees are facing while commuting through public transport, and have introduced employee transport services in Hyderabad.

While many service providers are coming up to meet this increasing demand for employee transportation, WhistleDrive, a Hyderabad based startup founded by Rakesh Munnanooru, is taking employee transportation services to the next level by introducing many hi-tech features that ensure fast and hassle-free transportation along with passengers’ safety.

WhistleDrive - Company Highlights

  • Startup Name-WhistleDrive
  • Headquarter-Hyderabad
  • Founder-Rakesh Munnanooru
  • Sector-Technology & Transportation
  • Founded-2016
  • Parent Organization-WhistleDrive Private Limited
  • Website-[WhistleDrive]

About WhistleDrive and How it Works

WhistleDrive is a transportation technology company that offers an End to End AI-powered Employee Transportation Solution for corporates and On-Demand Drivers for car owners. The company started as a ‘driver On-demand’ service provider and later expanded to employee transportation as well.

After operating for some time in providing ‘driver on-demand’, WhistleDrive's team understood that their software can also solve the inefficiencies in Employee Transportation. Since the DNA of Driver On Demand and Employee Transportation is just the same but the scale of operating is different, they quickly onboarded a client and did a pilot with them. That was a huge hit and they then onboarded big-time clients like ADP, Invesco and a lot of others.

The services currently being provided by WhistleDrive are-

WhistleFleet (4 and 7 Seaters)

WhistleShuttle (Wingers and mini-buses)

Whistle360° (And End to End solution from Fleet to software to On-ground logistic support)

It provides consultation for corporates who need expert suggestions in employee transportation, both for tech, fleet and more. All this is powered by WhistleTech, the technology which is enabling and channelizing the entire transportation process with ease in such a huge scale.

WhistleDrive also provides individual and corporate valet parking services.

WhistleDrive - USP and Innovation

Major USPs of WhistleDrive are-

It provides Fleet+software+on-ground logistics support as an end to end solution. Thus, WhistleDrive is addressing the whole transportation on both ends.

WhistleDrive’s software has been powered by AI and blockchain. Currently, all the reports in the company’s dashboard are deep, insightful, descriptive analytics. The company is also working on predictive analytics which can predict weather forecast, traffic forecast and more. And with the help of Blockchain, all the data will remain highly encrypted and manipulation of data is almost nullified.

The company has an end-to-end automation system which ensures full-scale optimization of routes and cabs occupancy, as soon as the employee location data and schedule is fed into the system.

Location tracking is enabled for all the cabs which ensure that which makes it possible to monitor the fleet across clients.

All cabs included with the company are background verified and has GPS enabled mobile devices to take care of passenger safety.

WhistleDrive’s AI-driven analytics enables it to predict future delays, cab volume and on-demand requests, which helps it to serve customers better.

It has 24*7 customer support on the phone, e-mail and chats to resolve customer queries and grievances.

It allows its clients to access its metrics dashboard so that the clients can view the operational and financial metrics which ensures transparency in terms of data and paperless billing.

"Our advantage is that we are on both ends. Since we have the fleet and expert team managing the overall flow of fleet, we are also well equipped with the technology and we understand the challenges from the client-side as well since we handle the whole transportation for clients, that became easy for our team to connect the dots.", said Rakesh Munnanooru, WhistleDrive founder and CEO.

Founders of WhistleDrive and team

Rakesh Munnanooru is the founder and CEO of WhistleDrive.

Rakesh Munnanooru

He is from Karimnagar, Telangana and is a CSE graduate from Shiv Nadar University Noida, class of 2015. While he was in college he founded BrandDunia which does the branding works for corporate companies and production houses. It was a massive success. They also worked for movie promotions. ‘Sahasam’ was one to name.

After a while, he had to leave BrandDunia and later he started InstaBuy which is a tier-2, tier-3 city online shopping site. That was also a huge hit and since Amazon or any other big players doesn’t have strong footprints in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, it was a very happening business. Rakesh made huge business margins there but had to leave it to continue his graduation.

After his college, he returned back to Karimnagar and did web-development freelancing for several businesses and online tutoring for a few months while he was simultaneously preparing for his GRE for Masters. He scored 112 in TOEFL just to prove to everybody that he can get admission anywhere but he was eagerly waiting to startup and his Entrepreneurship pursuit. Then WhistleDrive ideation happened in 2015.

WhistleDrive Team

It was 2015, and location-based services were taking over the market. Rakesh was quite fascinated by the technology. He wanted to be part of the wave and solve a critical problem with real-time location sharing technology. From personal experience and a bit of on-field research, he quickly realized that there is a considerable market for 'driver on demand' service for car owners. So, WhistleDrive was formed in 2016 as a driver on-demand service.

The company did a dry run for about 8 months, and it took a while for the team to understand the market expectations and communicate with its partner drivers efficiently. The company soon adopted a process-driven approach which helped it grow by 5 times in 3 months. The team discovered that the technology it is using will hold good for employee transportation as well, which led to the expansion to employee transportation.

“We piloted our employee transportation model with a B2B client and It was a massive success. We understood that the DNA of B2C and B2B business is the same but it’s just the scale that’s different and started approaching new clients. We scaled significantly and landed 4 huge volume clients by February.” Rakesh, WhistleDrive CEO, added.

Currently, WhistleDrive is operating successfully providing both ‘driver on-demand’ and employee transportation services.

"The market size that we are tapping is very huge. Any corporate company or a medium scale company that is looking for employee transportation, shuttle services or transportation technology or all of them, it’s our target market to reach. And the scope of it is not only in our country but also in several other countries since employee transportation remains the same and technology is easy and quick to adopt which is irrespective of the geographical reach. In fact, we’ve been hearing a lot of interest from transportation companies from the Middle East for our software solution.", says Rakesh Munnanooru, WhistleDrive founder.

WhistleDrive - Name, Tagline and Logo

Once Rakesh was watching a TV series called ‘Suits’, where the actor Harvey Specter calls out a cab with a whistle. He liked the act which made Rakesh add the word ‘Whistle’ to the company name. Since the company started as a driver on-demand and valet parking service, they added the word ‘Drive’ to ‘Whistle’.

Logo - WhistleDrive

The initial tagline was ‘Hire a driver, Anywhere’ but after evolving as an Employee Transportation, WhistleDrive’s tagline was changed to ‘Think. Whistle. Move.’

As for the logo, Rakesh being very fascinated by location tracking, the company’s logo shows the location icon with steering in it as the logo.

WhistleDrive - Startup Launch

WhistleDrive began operating from a little space in an IT company in Hyderabad. Initially, as the company provided just the driver on-demand service, there were just 3 people handling everything from driver hiring to booking and marketing. The company was well received by the customers and soon it moved to a 6*6 office space.

WhistleDrive gradually started increasing its customer reach by building its own website, booking portal & app. Alongside, the company also started social media chat and Messenger/Whatsapp bookings.

WhistleDrive - Business Model and Revenue Model

WhistleDrive provides an end to end service for employee transportation to corporates. The company provides software, fleet and also manpower for meeting the employee transportation needs of enterprises. These services are provided as a whole package or individually like only fleet or only software to the required prospects.

WhistleDrive makes money by providing these services. It ensures better margins by excluding third-party vendors for vehicle needs. The company sources vehicles directly from the owners which give them more control and margin for all the stakeholders involved in the business.

WhistleDrive has a Hybrid fleet model, where it owns 125+fleet and the rest of the fleet are partnered. Their software clubs partnered cabs and own cabs while routing the cabs and ensure cost cuttings for clients and improve efficiency by backing up the existing fleet.

WhistleDrive - Funding and Investors

WhistleDrive has raised a total of $10.8M in funding over 3 rounds. Their latest funding was raised in Sep 2019 from a Series B round.

"It was the time when we signed up with a few clients in Employee Transportation and serving 5,000+ customers in B2C. We got the funding at the right time when we started working on the technology and operations to scale up.", recalled Rakesh, WhistleDrive founder.

WhistleDrive - User Acquisition

WhistleDrive’s quality service has been instrumental in getting a lot of word of mouth publicity. The company is guided by the values to put customers first, to empathize with partners, to listen to understand, to speak with intent and deliver 10 times.

Digital platforms have also helped a lot to tap a huge number of audiences in one go. The company put equal stress on offline modes of promotion too, as it used  to reach people through campaigns in communities, pubs and malls.

Meanwhile, WhistleDrive  also found B2B2C clients like Zoom and Revv.

"The true hack we believe in is Customer Obsession. We stand on it right from our values. We understood that there is a pain point either in Employee Transportation or Driver on Demand. We address them with our services with the help of technology.", said Rakesh, WhistleDrive CEO.

WhistleDrive - Startup Challenges

Corporations are increasingly looking for automated data-driven solutions to ease the process of transportation and also bring a significant improvement in operational efficiency and overall cost minimization. The major challenge for WhistleDrive is to address inefficiencies in the current traditional model and help transition the industry to adopt a data-driven process.

With the aid of its integrated cabs+software model, WhistleDrive helps clients adopt the transition with much ease. Cab partners love the ease of accessing all their past trip and payment data right on their mobile application. This also helps in building loyalty owing to transparency.

WhistleDrive - Competitors

In terms of technology, some of the competitors of WhistleDrive are MoveInSync, Safetrax and Routematic.

In terms of fleet, WhistleDrive’s competitors are SelectCabs, Mahindra Logistics and several other local vendors.

WhistleDrive - Advisors and Mentors

Shailu Tipparaju is the WhistleDrive team’s advisor and mentor.

Shailu Tipparaju is an Investor and a Forbes Technology Council Member. He is also the founder of Colosseum Group and he heads several companies that are into AI, technology, health, business, transportation and other domains. He lives in Chicago.

WhistleDrive - Awards

WhistleDrive has received the following awards and recognition-

  • Awarded among the ‘50 Emerging Startups to Watch in 2019’ by Business Connect Magazine.
  • Awarded among the ‘10 best startups in Hyderabad’ in 2018 by Silicon India Magazine.
  • Finalists in the HYSEA 2018 Annual awards & 2019 Annual Awards.
  • First company to get selected into the first cohort of T- Hub's Lab32 program (T- Hub: Asia's biggest Startup Incubation Hub).

WhistleDrive - Growth

WhistleDrive presently is operating in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai. In the B2C segment, the company is serving more than 15,000 active customers in Hyderabad with 150+ rides every day. As of today, WhistleDrive has a fleet size of 700+ vehicles across 3 cities and transport 12,000+ employees every day through its cabs and bus shuttles.

In November 2020, it announced its entry into the Urban Mobility Market backed by a 5,000+ strong truck fleet, with a portfolio of 20+ medium and large clients.

In the B2B segment, WhsitleDrive is currently serving 28 clients from multiple domains like IT, Health, Infrastructure, Finance, Support, Hospitality and more. ADP, Invesco, ITC Hotels, Accenture, L&T, Rainbow Hospitals, Model N, Anza Medicode, M Modal and Strateology are a few clients of WhistleDrive.

WhistleDrive - Future Plans

In the long run, WhistleDrive is focused on building an ecosystem of transportation solutions. Having achieved a significant scale in fleet and shuttle services, the company is looking at using its experience in solving inefficiencies in intra-city logistics particularly in e-commerce & FMCG channels.

The company is guided by the mission to transport a million people a day to work and places through technology-driven, efficient and safe transportation. It envisions to be India’s leader in the transportation industry and enable hassle-free private car ownership and employee transportation using technology.


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