Co-Founding a Unicorn and Solving a Social Problem
Co-Founding a Unicorn and Solving a Social Problem is something a few of us dream of. Yet, there are some with experience of founding 2 Unicorns and building a 3rd on a Social Impact Problem. That is Amit Gupta of Yulu for you.
Welcome to Season 2. After a rocking Season 1, we are back yet again with amazing speakers. In this Episode 1 of Season 2, we feature Amit Gupta of Yulu Bikes. Remember those cute small little bikes that we see in the central business districts of cities such as Bangalore? That’s Yulu for you.
India’s Transportation Problem
India is a gigantic country with lots of problems. And as John F Kennedy once said, in the Chinese language, the words danger and opportunity are represented by the same letters.
And so it is for India. India has more than 500 cities that are being pulled apart by various forces – migration of rural workers, the arrival of technology, remote work due to covid, change in rural incomes due to agricultural bounty, and government schemes. This results in the city’s infrastructure coming up short.
As a result, it creates a sense of chaos that permeates the whole city. And this chaos gives rise to problems that are also opportunities. Problems such as transportation to colleges, workplaces, malls, amongst others. Solutions to these problems sometimes are in the form of public and private transportation or a combination of both.
Bangalore’s Transportation Problem
In the case of Bangalore, the city and state governments have never kept pace with the need for roads, transportation, electricity, water, and sanitation needs of the city. This has resulted in the city having close to 10 Million vehicles for a population estimated at around 15 Million.
This is a terrible vehicle ownership ratio. This has given rise to severe traffic chaos, bad last-mile connectivity from metro stations to workplaces and homes. In Bangalore, Silk Board – an infamously notorious traffic junction to cross is a butt of many jokes. Many techies rue that one can finish reading an entire book while waiting for the traffic jam to clear.
Backdrop for founding Yulu
It is in the backdrop of this problem that Amit Gupta chose to found Yulu. The last mile and an urban transportation problem that continues to destroy people’s lives due to the failure of India’s government and the success of its politics.
However, Amit Gupta is no stranger to problems or companies. Amit has seen a startup or two in his life. Amit was a founding team member of InMobi, one of India’s lesser-known Unicorns. At InMobi, not only was he instrumental in InMobi becoming a Unicorn, he eventually worked on Glance, which became a Unicorn created by another Unicorn. Co-Founding a Unicorn and Solving a Social Problem was something that came to him after inMobi and Glance had reached some degree of stability.
After an amazing ride, Amit decided to use his smarts and experience fixing India’s urban transportation problem. He is making a dent or two in the problem—another outstanding episode for you to listen to. Listen, share and leave us a review wherever you get our podcasts.
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working, people, bicycle, bangalore, problem, business, solve, india, bike, big, thought, company, happened, startup, electric mobility, building, asset, started, money, journey
Krishna Jonnakadla, Amit Gupta
Honestly, if I was a VC I wouldn't have funded myself. Like it was how bad the presentation was, you know, to build scale you have to think sometimes I think too much of money restricts innovation. I think that's a sad partner destiny finds you on the role that you take to avoid it. Whenever you get a seat on a rocket ship, you don't ask which we will see, we actually asked ourselves like too many questions in terms of how big can we get? It was very, very hard to explain what is UGC? If you want to implement something first 30 or 1 million to 10 million overscale. But again, you know, we had basic teams struggle, struggle, struggle, but every day was just learning, which was just amazing.
Krishna Jonnakadla 00:39
Listen to founders about their stories, and how they built their startups. Here on Maharaja of scale with me, your host, Krishna Jonnakadla, co founder of mango mobile TV and everyone. Welcome to another fantastic episode of episode of Maharaja of scale. And, you know, lucky me. I today happened to be hosting Ahmed Gupta of you know, bikes. I've been watching what it's been doing on the roads. And the kind of change that he's actually working on. India has a massive transportation problem. For those of you who heard us talk about quick ride some time ago will relate to some of our philosophical, philosophical underpinnings of how we believe in what Amit is doing. So in some sense, I'm a fanboy of what Ahmed is doing the approach that he's bringing. Amit, welcome to the show. It's great to have you. Thank you, Krishna is my extreme pleasure to be with you today. Wonderful. So tell us a little bit about yourself and what you're doing right now.
Amit Gupta 01:49
Yeah. So you lose my technically third startup. And before this, I was I co founded in Moby. And prior to a movie, there was a small startup I did on the on the business intelligence space, which I ran for almost one year. In movie, you can say, technically was one interesting effort, where we are trying to relook at advertising. And there was TV, there was newspaper, there was radio. And there was actually no need to reinvent advertising. But as you know that advertising follows the eyeball and people and the media is when people are doing and which happened to be mobile phone in our generation. But back then, when we started in mobile, it was only feature phone. And people were using phones for talking and maybe texting. But there was an underlying belief that this device will do more than just talking and texting. And I think we were correct. And in a sense, a new category was created. It took us 10 years now in movies, getting ready for an IPO. So hopefully, it would be a good outcome for the stakeholders. And then during my inmobi journey, I also bought an interesting product called glass, which became another company and that also became a unicorn. And that was also very bold and crazy idea that how can someone do something on lockscreen that also basically went well, thankfully, and then you do have it. And you will happen? Based on my own personal story, where my home to Office journey was taking close to seven minutes. Like when we started in mobile office and auto renewed. And that started becoming 4045 minutes at some time, I don't know, when you will actually get to office. And I was turning 40. I thought that this is a time I should pick up some social problems. And me being a little bit selfish and biased with my own challenges of mobility. I thought let me solve that. And also thought that I should do something on the air quality, which is a link point. So that's how the idea of universe gone. And I thought that I should commit myself 100% on this.
Krishna Jonnakadla 04:15
Very interesting. In fact, hats off for bringing the social angle. I I recently heard a guest that we had on our show Monica Mehta who is in wadhwani Foundation, talk about Indians being problem. Most of the time. It's the first time somebody used that phrase, and problem solvers are in a minority. If anything, we possibly have another third category, which are problem contributors. Which is for for the ones that are actually solving the problem. There are a new set of people that mushroom out of nowhere. But it's interesting. Thanks for sharing that chronologically. I'll come back to that social angle A bit. You really touched a nerve there. But let's go back, even before in mobian, even before your first startup, have you have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Amit Gupta 05:14
Maybe the cool answer is not to say yes. But answer is yes. So I do come from a business family. And somehow I take my parents that let me go and do some higher studies. And then let me work for some companies. And I'll come back to you, and join your family business, after maybe one or two years of experience. And that thing ever happened. And even when we started my first company, it was, again, not cool to be an entrepreneur. It was an unknown entity. It was kind of a revalue something miserably wrong has happened. It is I'm talking about Indian context. While back in the valley, a Silicon Valley, you know, entrepreneurship was treated and seen differently and with respect, but in India, if you're trying to do something on your own, you must have lost your job or your mind. So that's why I'm saying that it was not good to be an entrepreneur back then.
Krishna Jonnakadla 06:19
So you, you told your family, you were going to work, and then come back and what
Amit Gupta 06:25
I grew up in control, and my family is into manufacturing, of plastic goods, and also some trading work that are typical, you know, families, you know, back in hinterland the up work, you know. So that was my family's.
Krishna Jonnakadla 06:43
Interesting, interesting, and how was it always sort of a Gambit or a question mark, in your mind that let me just satisfy my family's asked that I've joined the family's business, so I'll just put them off for some time and then keep trying something on my own? Or was there always a desire to say, Okay, I
Amit Gupta 07:04
will, the goal was to do something on my own, whether it is within the family or outside of the family business, I honestly did not know. But you can see the gene or DNA of entrepreneurship was there. And after seeing technology, after seeing how businesses can be created on the back of this digital innovation, it nudged me to do something outside. Because I, I could not have imagined doing something in my family business, which is like, call today startups of the world.
Krishna Jonnakadla 07:46
Right. So yeah, it's interesting. You're contrasting technology and manufacturing are coming together. Now. They are together. But yeah. I think in some way, but yeah, I'm so much of manufacturing is technology driven these days. But those days, when you came out, India was still not known for technology startups, we did have a handful of them. Most important, if you will, right, you had india.com, you had syfy.com. And then perhaps I'm thinking early 2000s is the time that you're talking about. We if for those of us who were in either the premier Institute's or moved around in certain circles and picked up the.com rush and all the euphoria that was going on, I think it was easy to imagine. But post the crash. We also had a lot of people say, Okay, this is this is just it was it was euphoria. So what how do you rationalize that? Yes, technology is going to be the growth engine. Because I always see that the biggest belief system or an as it's commonly called a punt, a punt is always taken when you don't have that visibility. Right. So for example, when when you talk about Navin starting up in Moby when they were just feature phones. And in addition to the feature phone, all that existed was the Blackberry. And on Blackberry, there was the browser that was loading, but there was very little thought about advertising on that. Right. So it is feisty, and then a big one for somebody to take that leap. So it seems like you also have that streak in you. How did you make that connection, that technology and building something could be
Amit Gupta 09:46
a combination of what you're saying, sometime. You don't even know what's going to come or if it will come, but at the same time, some instincts That this is going to be big. And you just align your forces towards that. And, and I think in the case of a movie, particularly, it was ahead of time, you know, our earlier hunch of that, oh, we will do something on SMS that was short lived, only lived for one one year, then we've pivoted to something else. So, one thing which remained common was that we're still talking about mobile phone. But mobile phone also started, you know, there was a lot of evolution, iPhone came Android came and then we never looked back. I difficult for me to say that can someone get trained on this? You know, sometimes you do have those intuitions, at least in my case, while I will not call as my you know, kind of a geek God in just coding etc. But my first job with a startup in in Bangalore, which was like a, you know, the likes of Infosys and Wipro, let's welcome Aditi technologies and who also happen to have a purple talisman? Yes, so I worked out, although I was not part of policeman, but I saw that, okay. There is some usage of technology, which this company is doing. But then later, I joined Citibank, and in Citibank, I was part of their digital transformation team. And I firsthand saw that okay, this is how something which has been taking one week to do using technology, I can do it in a matter of one one hour. And to me, it was that wow, moment that okay, you know, you are transforming the traditional businesses to much more efficient and maybe making accessible for everyone. And truly asked me, did I have that level of clarity? What I'm trying to extrapolate? Answer is again, no. But I started feeling good about usage of technology into into the real world problem, or real world businesses, let me put it that way. In Moby was the same phenomenon, where one thing we started seeing that, you know, even these automatic showers and people in the lower income strata, they started using mobile phone and it started becoming their, almost their earning device or they're paid where they can make some money. So thinking about it, okay, they will be more consumption and advertisement will happen next was a little bit outlandish, you know, was not an easy extrapolation. But that feeling was that a lot of things are happening, there were a lot of SMS being sent, let us do something. And that belief led to be picking up that area, and then areas started evolving. So sometime, you thinking about it, and ecosystem also come together. So for example, in India, we talk about lot of internet revolution led by God. So trust me, whatever in instinct or intuition you have, but you will not control NGO. It was location money, who had this dream of giving internet to everyone. And then you happen to come together at that point of time, or D monetization. In the case of KTM. He was not participating, no one knew that happened. And education, you know, you look at what is happening to buy juice and an academy. They just happened to be there. And this whole export explosion happened. So I think for for in mobi, particularly this whole phenomenon of iPhone and Android that came and then things started going up. And it was a game changer.
Krishna Jonnakadla 13:49
How did you so the big startup that you spoke about?
Amit Gupta 13:54
After a bank, I work for another startup, which was an option management space. So this company, you know, back then was listing products, or there was a software to manage your listings on eBay. So eBay was the big biggest phenomena. So today, no one goes and buy a bit on eBay. They go and buy on Yahoo, and Amazon, actually Yahoo, right. So they used to have this platform where sellers can go list products and manage that. And I worked, it was a baby of a startup life worked very closely with the founders for almost three years. And after that, immediately after that, I started this company bi space, where it was a combination of some product thinking and some, some service work. But when the wheel was, you know, moving back to India, and we were like batchmates from it. So I thought, you know, maybe entrepreneurship is all about working together with people you will love working enjoyable. So I decided to move on from that company. And, you know, became founding team have a movie.
Krishna Jonnakadla 15:04
Interesting, very interesting. At that point in time, Naveen. There are two things which I think are big. One is you had worked in Citibank, which is, which is a pretty large organization. And in some sense, do you think the three years that you spent with that valley startup, which was an option listing sort of prepared you? Because it's a, it's a big jump? Right? Because Navin coming? Yes, it's those there, which is, which is a good thing. But then again, it has feature phones, the future is a lot hazy. Today, in spite of all the evidence that exists, take, take a FinTech company, for example, there is so much written about how India will be the sort of the torchbearer of innovation in FinTech. But still you talk to people and forget people outside of the ecosystem, people in the ecosystem, you show them, you show them everything, I don't think it can get really big, I get that kind of reaction from them. So it is interesting, you made that leap. Let's talk about your early days. In mobile, you. So you with you know, we'll come to you in a second. You're seeing another scale journey. And you have seen you, you're part of the initial team, you've seen a lot of scale happen. And you allude alluded to part of that being the smartphone Revolution, the iPhone, and then Android ecosystems, but talk about a little more about the initial days. And how it was because the funding ecosystem hadn't developed. And like you said, Today, startup is glamorous, becoming an entrepreneur. And adding that add entrepreneur tag has become glamorous, but it was not anything back then. How is it starting? And how did you guys survive? What were they
Amit Gupta 17:01
they said that being an entrepreneur back then, was not a norm was not good. And the type of challenges one has to go through in starting companies were enormous. So from fundraising, so there were hardly any angels. In fact, we were the first angel investment from Angel, which is one of the oldest angel investors group in the country. And getting a space hiring people with private thinking, people who can, you know, do some partnership deals, so all of that was all alien. And it was extremely difficult. And you're then talking about getting a product market fit. And you don't even sell what is a product thinking, there were no product managers in the country. So you were trying to juggle since way too many balls. And, and that's why, you know, back then starting something was not a norm. But thankfully, a lot of things got started to get solved. For example, there was no at AWS. So for us to even post our site was a tedious suffered, we need to get a server for our service. I was another nightmarish situation. So those were the days. And but I think what kept us going that we started seeing the value, you know, so first few quarters were difficult, because we just had to under, you know, under come What are the challenges, which are just simple one in current time. So just click up button, you have an AWS account set up, just go and on a website, you get a fancy status as as people, you don't have to worry about it hiring a lot of people will come because you are a cool startup. But back then it was not easy. And then you building a product market fit. So when we started, we actually struggled for first year because we were trying to do something on SMS, where we were able to get some business, but we were not getting an extension on the advertising side. So they were like, okay, you took this five lakh rupees for me. But how much value did I get? You know, nobody knew because on SMS the tracking is very, very difficult. And they were very busy throwing their money on TV on print on radio. So they did not have any benchmark to even understand what is impact. And when mobile internet thing happened, then the trackability and accountability and the measure of LTE actually became far better. And after that, we never looked back. So we were able to demonstrate that okay, you were doing this much of money on other media. But look at what you are doing right now. So the fact that it was measurable, people can track that how much ROI they were getting that started becoming, you know, a thing which started giving us a snowball effect in our next order from them from the advertiser that, okay, I want to do more business with you, I want to do more business with you. So as I said struggle over multiple forms, it was not just a product market fit. But even getting the basic setup up and running was a big thing.
Krishna Jonnakadla 20:29
And then you've literally grown, you literally grew within inmobi. You've seen that company go through
Amit Gupta 20:37
the US patent in 2002. So our service got launched in 2018. January, but we started couple of months ago.
Krishna Jonnakadla 20:47
Okay, a couple of months. Okay. Interesting. So you've seen in Moby attained that imobie, itself attained that unique constraint? Yes, by the time you launched, you know, right. I mean, mobile AdWords, advertising, and all of that, in some sense, is still getting started, things are getting more sophisticated. You know, the next wave of battling privacy and cryptocurrencies. And there is, there's a very, sort of a healthy cocktail of interesting elements to battle out there. So was it like, you, you saw that, okay, I've grown this, I played my role. And I'm getting bored. So therefore, it's time to start something from scratch. You briefly alluded to attaining 40 and then doing something, which was your news? Were all of those.
Amit Gupta 21:41
Yes, yes, I was, I started your decision. That feeling to and getting good. But that did not happen. When I was doing, started thinking about you. But it happened much prior to that. And that's where this whole notion of glands came into picture. So after almost six years, or seven years into the journey, maybe it is the journey. We were all of the founders were like, okay, you know, we have built this company got it to this level. And I was chief Revenue Officer at turning the revenue. And I was like, okay, how's my day meeting these customers, maybe doing something. And imobie actually is a pretty heavy business, where most of your money comes from the fortune 500 customers. So those are only those much, who will, who will go and and also, there's no limit for you to do more and more. But my typical week would be half of the time, we'll be on the phone just talking to my team, and how are things running the sales pipeline and things like that? And was that the best use of someone like me, who can also think, you know, put things together, take little bit more fibers out, etc. So we decided that, you know, we should, you know, create some bandwidth from founding team to look at something new moonshots. And that's where the idea came where we thought that okay, we are competing with Google and Facebook. And what do they have, which user doesn't, which in mobi does not have. So we both had, you know, access to unique, unique users have close to 1.5 billion unique devices, but they make that much money, we make only this much money, an idea. And after some thinking was very clear that okay, they basically get lots of share of time. So people spent almost 25 minutes on Facebook and, and Google. And the depth of data, what they have got, is also very, very good, because people spend time they click on multiple things, but in movies, working with publishers, who are only exporting that much of data to you, and also only that much time you get. So we thought that Okay, why don't we sit on the device. And we can work with OEMs, who are also looking for some ways to create value. So while this whole mobile internet has been going up, the the handset manufacturers, particularly on Android, they were being marginalized. So their ASP is going down, their margins are going down. And they were looking for some level to come back into the game create value in this process. So we went with this value proposition that we said, you know, what, why don't we go create this product with you? Where you give us this real estate? And then we'll build a user value proposition on top of it. So a lot of a lot of it. They were very hesitant. That what are you saying that logs is very pristine. And if you show something I don't know how users will be But then with some experiments and the goodness of the product, there's at least we have seen glance or not. But now, every Samsung and Xiaomi phone in India, it gets prebuilt. So out of the box experience, it became almost a feature. So we started noticing that, you know, in retail shop, the salesman will show you, Sir, this is a smartphone with a Smart Lock screen, don't buy the other one. And then we started seeing that, okay, you know, when you create a product that is really loved by the user, then, yeah, everyone just wants to work with you. So we got something excited. Xiaomi is excited. So I did both of these deals, and got the business to a level where there was a product market fit and two very signature partnerships in hand. And I was having one of the best times of my life where some problem statement, which was much larger than, you know, the problem itself, it okay that how do we become relevant in front of Facebook and Google, to thinking about that, okay, what can we do, and then we building something and which is estimating like crazy, was very gratifying. And after that, another thought. So, in movie started, my first company started when, and I thought that I will be starting a company before I turned 30. So I lived up to that. By 40, my wish was that I should be retiring. So it was not about that, oh, I'll do this, whatever you do, but Okay, I'll be retiring. But the thought of when I started getting to that milestone, it was not an easy thought that I somehow just stopped working and do something and relax. No, that is not going to happen either. So I started thinking that okay, what is this next 10 years mean to me? What do I not do today, which I will regret when I turned 50. So this is how this whole notion of that he lets me pick up a social problem. And work on that right now, when I still have physical mental rigor, that I can run around hustle. Because when you start a new company, you know, you're again, back to square in terms of figuring things out making building team and whatnot. So it was a tough decision. But in the interest of that, you know, I took some very large decisions for my life. And I thought, I've never regretted them, in retrospect, to thought that this is also a good idea. And then by then inmobi was in a very strong situation as a business. And also plans got to a reasonably high level of momentum and intensity. So I thought, if it is a time, this is a time. So that's how my journey of us getting nanobots started.
Krishna Jonnakadla 28:11
Amazing. Amazing. And thank you for sharing that backstory on glands. That was fantastic. I'm glad you went into that detail. So tell us before we jump into the Euro story, and in the scale, tell us some numbers about you know what sort of numbers you're seeing what sort of settling that can do just
Amit Gupta 28:30
the journey started off with a pedal cycle with a poll idea that we want to move people from these personal car or for that matter taxis, where they are the only rider in the car 90% time. So our idea was that let us replace these journeys, which are happening on big bikers, and which are also also polluting the environment on something which is much more sustainable. And we happen to pick the bicycle, and bicycle versus like a story of SMS, where there were people who were looking for using it, but we found that okay, if we need to solve that problem holistically, then probably we need to look at something more than that. So I'll come to this part later. But in terms of the top level metrics number, so you know has now 10,000 Electric electric two wheelers. And it makes you as the largest electric mobility company in India. Just before this lockdown, we were talking a little over a million trips on a monthly basis. And this number is actually also very interesting. If I compare the pre korona number and our March number. We grew 2.5x in terms of revenue and the trips. But in terms of profitability, which is even more important, our numbers went up by 3x We are very happy in our office mobility. And we are hoping to hit a bit of positive state sometime this year. Okay.
Krishna Jonnakadla 30:20
Oh, amazing, amazing. Well, I'll come to that question in a little while why you would prioritize operational profitability this early. Because this, this is such a big problem to solve. But let's get into the, I call it a dirty problem. In India, most of the startups actually do not really solve social problems. We have enough problems. And then yeah, everybody, everybody's fancy statement is to say, solve a real problem. And then every time somebody says that I'm actually cringing inside saying that, man, you're looking so intelligent right now, but I can real after I can, I can reel off name one after the other, which is not solving the real problem. And then some of these are very, very celebrated startups, right. So I think we have got nothing against them. But what you're solving is a real problem, which involves working with civic agencies, which involves working with a lot of behaviors that are actually in bread, or inborn in the Indian psyche. So let's contrast this. A couple of years ago, I was in Amsterdam. And if you've been to Amsterdam, if you're a fan of bicycles, anybody should go to Amsterdam. Especially outside of Amsterdam, there is this station called Utrecht, there is a city called Utrecht, outside of Utrecht, will see piles and piles of bicycles. In fact, when we take a round around the canals in Amsterdam, the boatmen who's actually giving you a tool will actually will tell you that about 20,000 bicycles are actually stolen every single year. And 1000s of bicycles are there. And the beauty of it is every single street there has a huge bicycle and not not even the three feet bicycle lane that you see. Yep. So it's pretty fascinating. India doesn't have any of that. And CB CB agencies are not sensitive to that. I mean, they pay they pay lip service to it in some form or fashion. And I'm a biased I'm a biker myself I buy bicycle about on a good day I bicycle 30 kilometers per day. On another day average, I basically about maybe 15 to 20 kilometers. That's that's sort of the average. So I'm very, I mean, the community, but why pick up this, I can understand the social angle. And all of that. Indians have a very sedentary lifestyle. There are very few that have an active lifestyle, infrastructure. And traffic chaos. I can't tell you the number of times I've had near misses bicycling even early even in early morning. So why, why this problem? what's so fascinating, I know it's big. I for one, I mean, I hats off to you. But did did any of this factor or you were just like a lot of
Amit Gupta 33:24
this to set the context. Amsterdam is also one of my most favorite cities. I have been there multiple times one of my co founder is from Amsterdam is another interesting fact. And that cannot work, which you did with a quote when I actually did a loan. I was able to sail the boat. I took it on. Yeah, so I did a little bit more fancy stuff than you biking around, you know, which is always fun. back to India. So you're right, was kind of an insanely crazy idea what I'm doing and but one thing I realized that you know, either you try to become a painkiller, you try to become a vitamin. And most of the startups if I can, you know, say baby and then putting so many of them are fascinated with being a vitamin. Were fine. This is cool. Let me do it. Maybe this is painkiller for some but to me it is more about and there's also nothing wrong in that to be very honest. Because as a country we are basically moving up on your own misters law of parameter you move up move up, but to me after doing certainly in movies, so forget the first company what I did. Doing anything which was not super complicated was not a choice and dance was you can all practical reason said It was another entrepreneurial journey. So yes, I could have picked up some problem and did some Tegmark. But I actually got to a point that if I am not personally worried about that problem on the basis, then there's no drive for me to go fight that battle. So, and that, that problem statement meant something to me to my family, to my neighbors, my friends, everyday, you know, you go out of your home and you know, you live in Bangalore Krishna, so how tricky it is for you to cross the sailboat. And this, you know, 200 meter journey can sometimes take one hour. And, and if you think that there's some emotional chord with this situation is causing in your head or your heart, then you better go about it. So that was my reason. And although I was not causing civil good, I was living in I live in bill and dirt, which is the property that Macau capital for all the traffic related nuisance. So it was the, you know, and you are like, no, this is this cannot happen. And once the thought that would let me pick a social problem. So that was the first thought. And second thought, Okay, let me pick something which I am getting impacted on daily basis. And that happened to the mobility part, I have no background in mobility. And after that, we'll move on as your boss, you said, No, it's not a cause. So, say, you know, Tila dakka, dakka, we'll, we'll figure it out. So it was a fairly daring and stupid move. If you look at things in, in some perspective, but at the same time, I also think that if this problem is not being done by someone, like, my background and my journey, then who else will pick it up? So government is not going to do you know, it? Comment has got so many other things. And they can be an enabler, so we can keep on cribbing about it. But if we need to solve it, that it has to be one of us. So that's how I got myself committed. And I was able to excite three more co founders, who said, okay, just like me, also very successful serial entrepreneurs. When they move from us when they move from Amsterdam, one guy moved from his own corporates on Yes, who made a decent amount of money, but it had an age of 40. I pulled him back when he was 50. So yeah, we had our own share of interesting journeys. And when we said that, okay, let's just do it. country needs it. And know each other, the person, you know, who joined us when he goes through all his mind together, or palazzina, from it can put one of my batchmates, Naveen is CTO, another Navy. So we went in our undergrad program together. And then the person who was living in Amsterdam was my school friend. So he was basically my childhood friend, not school friend, school friend is my CFO now, I was able to pull him from COVID. So a lot of friends and old, trusted people, okay. We basically came together.
Krishna Jonnakadla 38:43
Outstanding, no, trust is the bedrock of any founding team. Even if there is a shortcoming on the ability front trust will eventually make up for it. Right. Always. Yeah, so I. So before we talk about the initial days, you know, how it was, how you touch the numbers and everything. There's an interesting story when I used to live in Chicago, in Chicago, there is what is called as the downtown in downtown, there is a there is a place called Michigan Avenue. So it's a busy street. For people who are from Bangalore, somewhat like empty road. It's like a hub. What used to so Chicago has a decent transportation system, or going to mass mobility transportation system, which comes straight into the downtown and takes people between suburbs and within the city. So Michigan Avenue used to have an iconic train. And what happened was, General Motors purchased that particular company which used to run just that. And they soon dismantled it. Right. Yeah, the whole idea is the larger goal obviously is if there are more trains To you, you will have less than number of cars. So in some sense, it's about feeding their own demand curve. So, but in India, we have a dichotomy where today in COVID, if you see, one of the biggest distress news is about auto companies, automobile manufacturing companies not growing because of economies. But if you if you see as a parallel, or urban infrastructure is super, super bad, right, no matter how much we want to brag about it, we possibly have one of the most worst infrastructures on the planet. And there is so little accountability. But I think the right amount of attention by automobile companies plus the ones like you can bring that attention.
Amit Gupta 40:49
I think I see that happening particularly around the safe infrastructure, if I can use this word for a moment. Note that our cities have not done that. At the same time, it was just a timing. So imagine that there is a reliance geo, but people do not have are many people do not have smartphones, and vice versa. The magic will never happen. Same way. Cities actually did build these dedicated by corridors, but just because they were not many people who were waiting to do because of so many challenges. By the way. Those initiatives never took off. But they never was seen as a success. successful projects. If we talk about that, say pandas. So pandas in China has beautiful bike lanes, where maybe on Saturday and Sundays, they will be bunch of enthusiasts 100 of them they will just do it. But common cannot build infrastructure which is being used for two hours per week by 100 people because they have larger societal goals.
Krishna Jonnakadla 42:06
Yeah, I think I mean, not even dedicated lanes. I think that's definitely a pipe dream. so far. I think the the amount, the condition of the roads is so bad, I still think there is opportunity for automobile companies. So, let's take Bangalore itself as an example. The at some degree there are supposed to be one crore or 100 lakhs right. 10 million vehicles. Yeah, on an average, if each vehicle spent now we are talking about normal time not yet with time consumption spent 100 rupees 1000 rupees on petrol 100 rupees on fuel every single day, that's 3000 rupees per month. And that's 3000 euros. Now, the Bangalore Metro project so far is supposed to have costed about 16 to 18,000 crores, which is equal to just five or six months of fuel expense. Now, if you see it in that context, and then the other thing is, they should be working with someone like you who's really solving the last mile problem is it's a beautiful solution that you have. So on that count. I mean, I don't think there is an answer for it. I would love to hear your thoughts a little later. But I think we should jump to the scale part now. So So talk about the initial days, how did it feel you were working in a tech startup, you were working on phones and smartphones, where it was unhindered in some sense, unhindered access, right. And all of a sudden you're working in the rough and tumble you're working with is some borderline antisocial elements also. So how was that initial? So and when did you start picking?
Amit Gupta 44:01
The thought of this problem itself was very grounding and very grateful. Oh, you were doing this, okay. And then the moment you tell the solution and solution that okay, we will put these bicycles across the city, people will take it on their own using bone, and then they will leave it. But what about you? What about your person? We don't have any person they will just use the same foot. So the first reaction used to be okay, maybe one month or two months, you count your days, and you will be bankrupt. So, so, so many of my friends, my relatives, my close relatives, they were like, very clear. That's fine. You're doing it. Three months, your story's anyway going to be over. You're talking about India. India is a mature country. Everyone is, you know, everybody's like, you just just being there to just take your money and your bike will be gone. But we said okay, No problem, we'll figure it out. We'll see how it how it goes. So we launched our service on first week of January, we put close to 100 bikes in this bellandur area, there's a tech pack on, he covered a lot of feet, and he covered the cord, which is actually not on the main road. So there is a main road where there's an Intel campus gate is equal, we're taking shuttle walking, it's almost two kilometer journey, one and a half to two kilometer journey, which is, yeah, one can walk, but it takes like 1520 minutes. So we thought that maybe this is a good use case, people will take buy from here and then leave it here. And then this whole rotation will be put 100 bikes. And you won't believe that from day one. There was a sense of curiosity. And okay, what is this blue color bikes? And, and we just had to less than that, okay? You know, you just go and just do this. And Aaron said, What also very kind, they gave us a space, like in their tech Park. So they say, Okay, why don't you take these sevens five, six spots. And they were, you know, very supportive of green mobilities and abilities. So that worked really well. And because the coolness of the product where you know, your phone is opening up, awaken. And we became kind of an instant success. At the same time, the NT social, not the fear part was also running in parallel. So on third day, we lost our first bike, where someone in the middle of the night picked up in one of our bikes in a probably in an auto rickshaw and took it some seven, eight kilometers from this area. That Porter did not know that that bike has a GPS, and he will be in trouble. So in no time, we were able to catch him, bring him to the police. And then some fun happened. Yeah, so that whole part about anti social elements and people trying to break your law breaker by all of that nooses was part of the soul. But we started seeing that the core consumer, they were willing to try out new things. And I must actually say that, in that regard, Bangalore city is exceptionally high on that. So any new thing you bring, which is tech oriented, or tech powered, people in Bangalore are game for that. And we were sitting in the mecca for technology, a lot of technology companies, etc. So that worked, what was not working when to where our original hypothesis was that we want to solve for five kilometer journey. And we started noticing that this bicycle form factor, people are okay taking the work rated commute, maybe for two kilometres max. But after that, you know, when we were talking to consumer that, hey, why not using Judo everyday, or why you're not using it to start with, oh, I live in this HSR layout. This is very far or live in that search output. This is very far for me. So we were convinced and you also made a point that Indian Li delivery or non active lifestyle. So it is also to thanks to the weather, thanks to the road condition. So we were convinced that maybe this bicycle is a good product for kilometers or half a type of distance. And maybe for leisure. So if you go to some of the lakes, very big lakes in Bangalore, you will see a lot of people just roaming around in you go to carbon Park, lot of bicycle trips, but for work. Thank you. But if you look at the actual use case, we started this company for I've done even launching that product market fit at scale. And that's where the idea of bringing some power to the maker came into picture. We tried, you know, e bikes and there was also a thought, which came just for some time that a Why don't we use a petrol scooters. Because you don't have to do anything. There's a scooter made by Honda and TBS, we just put your IoT and then it's good to go. But there we took a little bit contrary approach. We thought that using petrol first of all will not make sense business wise. At the same time, we were also not convinced that while solving for air pollution is not our primary mission, but it has been a secondary mission, which we have been very excited about. And if we use petrol scooter, then we are not solving that problem or not contributing to that. So but I must say that the reason for not being petrol was more financial than the secondary. Not to just take all the credit on that, but in our subconscious mind. We were also not fine with it. So the next best answer was electric mobility. But back then I'm talking about q4 of 2018. electric mobility was not that easy. There was no vehicle, there was no battery, there was no charging infrastructure, people did not know how they will play out in India. And then they were playbooks where they were companies in our space, who went ahead and look for the growth, the scale phenomenon. And very differently, they're like, Okay, let me not solve for the parking, let me not solve for the electric scooter, let me not solve for the battery. Let me just go and grow, grow grow, you wrote, took a contrarian approach, we were like, no, this is any way not going to happen. And if I'm approaching this business for next five to 10 years horizon, then it does not matter that I'm not growing, growing from a fleet perspective for next couple of years. So we ended up investing a lot of our bandwidth resources in building this new form factor which India has not seen, which is a purpose built vehicle, solve for batteries or for charging infrastructure policy framework. And then it came to a situation where the other companies who were just going like this on the back of easy to play playbook, they failed, because something is not good is not good. And we basically in a slow and steady manner, we will started building the business. And today we are probably one of the most in was a company which has got the most level of knowledge and insights about electric mobility business in India, it has got a lot of small, small nuances. And now we are ready for hyperscale. So as we look at our plan going forward, so we will be growing 20x in next two years, at least. And despite of like leaving the largest company at a reasonable scale, we basically have now a business plan to to support 20 exploits, at least in India. And we think that the sky's the limit, we have hit product market fit spot, we saw huge retention curve, how people are using our product, why they are using it, and Corona, which was actually just like the whole backbone of the mobility companies. We actually were one of the beneficiaries of this, where people started valuing their personal safety due to Corona as the most important lever while clapping, so people stopped using bike taxis taxis auto rickshaw process, and they were using you because on you know, they are only one, there's no passenger, no driver, they don't have to deal with anyone. And then to make things better, we were sanitizing homemakers multiple times per day. And this whole safety narrative became the most important criteria. So earlier, we would get into the white collar guys. But they started working from home. But then we saw that, oh, there's so many other people who also need to move. So we started configuring our services in different different parts of the city and different different spots of the city because our product services that you had to pick up our Michael from the network of parking area, what we have created we call them user. So earlier, we did not have for example, you lose on at colleges, at factories at those high street shops. So we built that. And with that we got people who were working in garment manufacturing factories that are no good students going to college coaching is cetera. All of that happened in less than six months. And today, we believe that something which we wish that will happen in three years. It all happened much earlier in our in our journey due to Corona. So I remember we were able to add 1000 dials, maybe take 2000
Krishna Jonnakadla 54:21
Amit Gupta 54:23
Yeah, so we deployed approximately 300 400 bicycles and each bicycle you should do some four to five trips. So it was pretty steep. So our business is nice, because it is linked with an asset. You know you cannot just go through and find it. So there is a hurdle all the time that how many assets you have on the road. So we basically started with 100 bikes for first week and then added another 100 so by the end of the month, we had like 250 or 300 bikes And literally in the second month of our journey, we started hitting 1000 trips on a daily basis. So that was pretty quick 10,000 journey also happened interesting, adding the red. Then after that, we started to chat, okay, things are not going to go hockey stick. And we also started seeing the behavior that this whole piece of you know, we're looking at bicycle as the primary form factor is not going to work. So we had almost, maybe 3000 3500 bicycles. And we are also live in not only in Bangalore, but also in pooling. So we started seeing that how two cities are looking different. How you sit phenomenon is basically working for us. And by then, we were very clear that when we were at 10,000 journey, we were very clear that we are looking at journey 200,000 we need to think beyond bicycle. So then we started working towards this whole electric mobility product, and electric mobility product was, so it was actually a super hit product from day one. The moment we launched, we became the coolest thing to do in mandore. Yeah, so I think electric mobility PR was the one, you know, out of box. This is up in order the box itself. And operationally, also, from a profitability perspective. From day one, we were like, officially profitable. So it was very cool.
Krishna Jonnakadla 56:50
Interesting. So I'll tell you what the view from for me from outside looks, yeah. When it comes to funding, because all of this also requires, because it's not, it's an asset heavy model, I would like to mention that. And, and in a moment, I'll describe an asset light model, which I think you may have already contemplated, because you've done so much innovation yourself, which is, so Eevee is a popular category, a lot of people want to see it grow. And the urban mobility last mile and connectivity is quite a bit of problem itself. So there might be a lot of good intentions, and therefore, it's a big enough problem to solve. So was raising funds easy. And I'm sure your own track recording actually played a positive role, when you go outside looks like some journey with
Amit Gupta 57:46
the same view from the inside. So raising initial round of capital is relatively easier. But just because solving these problems are not easy and cool. So unfortunately, when you talk about so what are the sources of funding? So I know that when you say funding, you typically indirectly mean it's this capital VC money, as we say, and, and VC money as you know, is not their money, they are fund managers there is someone else's money, right? And they tend to put their money on those companies where they can see a disproportionate ROI Right. So, their measurement of their reason for admission to the company has no business with what you're doing. It is all about that okay, my 100 rupees will underdog become $500 in this time period, and this is my ability to get this money in this timeframe. So, it is that simple. We may talk about vision we can we can talk about so many inspiring thing but honestly it doesn't matter at least not in India. So, then you basically have two points, one point is Oh, you do what we see is what you do what you want. So we chose that, okay, we will do what actually what society wants and what then he wants indirectly. Or you can say the association transition route. So we said okay, we'll do what we want. And we'll solve the problem. How do you know holistically there's a lot of, you know, challenges around you being an asset heavy company. You know what, there's no business in this planet that you can build out of thin air you someone has to put an asset, but asset is ownership is distributed or you know is getting concentrated in one company. That is the real risk and real the problem right? So not that Uber and Ola. They also need an asset, but that asset is owned by that poor guy who has put his entire life saving to buy a car. And right now the US MCA is in trouble. Because bad guys are choosing. At the same time, I believe that, ultimately is the goodness of the business model. If you are able to create enough and more profit margin, from your business, the value we're adding, then does not matter whether it is an asset light or so, this is how you look at things holistically. I was not convinced that the business model at least used by that taxi hailing company, car, you know, car, even computer sitting, you know, companies, they will ever make money in India. And it was very evident that, even if they do that they will not grow. Because they're only 5% Indians, who can afford that price book, how many people in the country can afford 10,000 rupees just for the office commute. And they cannot have their own car. So that number is very, very thin. So, from us, large scale impact was much more important than we just trying to create a small niche back. And also the not the impact, but also the size of the business which we are building. So there is no fun in you doing, you know, kind of moving 10 steps back. So we were very clear that affordability is an important element, along with sustainability efficiency, everything. And we took a path where our solution set demanded what we are doing and why we're doing. So, the moment you put a driver for example, the economic model does not make sense. So, you may even do it on the two wheeler two wheeler, again, you will be supply constraint soon, because you need to make 20,000 rupees for that driver. And the moment you have to make 13 or 20,000 rupees for the driver, either you are going to be supply constraint. Or you will be not able to, you know offer a price point that 100 million people need in this country. So we basically approach things very fundamental. And our notion was that, okay, we may have some challenges in the beginning, because people will say, okay, you're still not to leave profitable, and how much you can raise equity capital to buy assets. But, you know, we are now at a junction where we basically, if not today, but very soon, we'll be generating so much of money, not only to take care of our operational cost, but also the leasing costs of the week. And towards the end of this year, all of our new assets will be coming through lease financing. And this imagine this in an asset go where their financial institutions were willing to give you money, and willing to basically give you lease financing, where the asset belongs to them, and you are the operator and hand to a lot of money being available for now. Climate change, sustainability, there's, there's just way too much of goodness in terms of the money where if you are doing something, which is reducing the greenhouse emission, and and also the climate change the type of money, the price at which it is coming to contact, it is a next level. So we are actually there. I know our you know, our mid period where we were still trying to prove that okay, we can make profitability in this equation. That took a little bit longer, and it is actually not because of anything else. But to Corona. It kind of pushed us by almost six months. But the picture remains same. We are almost there. And then it's a hockey stick after that. So we never looked back. And we only have raised by the way $20 million in venture grappling money. We never came from that school of thought that you blow money. So you asked me this question. Growth versus profitability. profitability in our business is not a not a wish, there is actually a requirement. Otherwise you keep on burdening your equity capital. So there's no fun for you to work so hard and get diluted to a small number from an ownership perspective. So we actually, so it's a part of the playbook that you raise that much which can help you in building the use case. Proof in that small microcosm. Your Lego block is ready and now you go and scale. So we are basically now getting to that stage where we are now at a scale where we are just going for a big ride from here.
Krishna Jonnakadla 1:05:10
How much of last mile Have you been able to solve? Because an agent in Bangalore especially, for instance, I have to feign ignorance of Metro status in tornado. The last mile, given the Metro is pretty reasonable. I think in another three years, we'll see all of Whitefield and Dr. Purim also get stitched up. Yeah. But the last mile is a is a problem. And there I'm, I'm imagining a shared asset model. If you remember, if you are familiar with Zipcar in the US, where you, it is like, somewhat like owning a car sharing a bunch of vehicles, yeah, you don't really own a particular vehicle you are owning. So what that does to you is, for example, if I pick up a new bike from a particular railway station, I can come and park it at my house. Right? Anyway, the railway station is about three kilometers from the metro station is three kilometers from my home. What that does to your cost is you do not have to incur the cost of picking up the bike. If I'm going to work tomorrow again. So do you foresee that model coming around? Yeah. And therefore I think it kills too. I mean, two birds with one stone one is shared ownership means it reduces your asset cost, although you're leasing it, I can understand. Yeah, and the other thing is it reduces your cost of returning to presidential territory. And Alavi I also saw over services. Is that coming over the horizon, or you see
Amit Gupta 1:06:42
and last mile for us on day one was this kintel Gate where people were stepping down from purpose, and they were using you to service to quit to hoovered or someone living and but at the same time in Bangalore, because we do not have Metro coverage yet, at least where the people are working. The mere mile phenomena was also very big for us. And what do I mean by nearby? Nearby is a phenomena where you live in coal mangla and you are working in ETL. There's no Metro, there's no bus, you just start from your phone, go to your workplace directly. And it's a very big use case, the way our city has grown. So you have those pockets of people living in electronic city in Whitefield area in aura. They're all youngsters, they live in PGS, or people who are young professional. So they prefer to live not too far from their book area. They are the one who do not have any medical. So they basically become our one of the top customer segments. And the next big customer segment for us is the is the metro user, where they are coming to Metro station of Bipin Li SV road, working for RNG infinity Park manitech Park, or come down at Indiana metro station, go to each year, or get to 22nd go to various offices in mg road area. So we actually have solved the last mile problem really, really well. So this is what by the way, is the genesis of our business. And the Zipcar example, what you get is what actually is our service all about? The only difference is, instead of you taking the car, you are taking a uniform, from a place of a parking area, and then putting it at your building parking, which is again by you. So and in the morning, you come back and you pick the from the same pool, you pick one bike and leave it at the metro station, someone else uses it. So this is a whole shared economy. And the bike bet, by the way, changes hands at least four times, in our case in a given day. So it basically reduces the cost of the ownership of the vehicle for you. reduces the number of breakers required to serve the same set of people who would have bought individual bikers for themselves. So it's a good thing for everyone. Before the by the way clarification we are not present with ExxonMobil million right we are present in Mumbai, Mumbai, for example, we are in PTC. So come to us for a sec local train. So they come to cola. They come to Bandra, and they're using getting they come to the kissy sister last night, okay.
Krishna Jonnakadla 1:09:38
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Because Yeah. Interesting, interesting. So, if I just say that a million is happening in value, just for discussion sake, that means then 10 million 10 million vehicles, which is one crore in Bangalore. And let's say on an average, about 40% of them, take a trip every day. That's literally 4 million trips a day. So that's 100 and 20 million, just Bangalore, which means at 1 million scale, you're starting to make some sense in the minds of people to say, let's look at this. A lot of people should not be owning some of those vehicles. It's the ubiquity of the presence, you have enough use zones where somebody looks at them, and then tells me, possibly I don't need it. If I do need a personal vehicle for work, maybe I'll complement this with an Uber or maybe if there is Metro, I'll go with Metro. So I think I'm seeing the need for somebody stitching it all together. So in the US, you have something called as commute. So in Google Maps, when you search, get directions to a destination, if that particular area is supported by public transportation, it will give you Uber plus public transportation plus walk that kind of an option. It is still early days in India, though, I think we are likely to see that. It's, it's been great. So to two last questions on to your last point of decision. So we see public transportation have not worked out lamenting the decisions that
Amit Gupta 1:11:20
and therefore can move millions of people in economic manner and environmentally sensitive mammal.
Amit Gupta 1:11:29
actually, which have not worked out is a difficult question. Because every mistake you do you learn something, I will not say that, oh, we did bicycles. And it was a bad decision. I think, because of bicycle, we learn something. We also realize that this whole concept of you can leave the bike anywhere, it was a disaster, our separate was high, our vandalism rate was very high. But then we said, okay, let's create this parking area so that people can pick and choose. I, Honestly speaking, don't see them as a, you know, it's it's a journey. Things which I, you can say, maybe I can regret, typically on more than the hiring front. But we are so early in our journey where you have yet to basically say that, okay, you know, I hired this guy in my team and that person was a disaster. Fortunately, we did not have to hire a lot of heavy weights. We have been very handsome. So typically people in our company have been so our average age is around 25 years, maybe 24 years only. So we have hired a relatively young set of individuals. And when you typically hire instead of individuals, and even if you have made around hiring, then replacing them is not a very expensive process, versus you trying to bring a country had an ET person is a disaster. And I have made that mistake at Mobile. Otherwise, I honestly don't regret city choices. Maybe we could have done. I don't know electric mobility to start with. But and and the decision we have taken which probably we are very proud of looking at the outcome, at least at the at the current state of the other peer group that we did not just flew flow into this whole notion of growth. Without substance. I think that decision, we probably should be proud of anniversary. Many a time we used to get this FOMO that oh my goodness, one more than 100 million when more than $10 million are coming in funding and what are what the hell we are up to. And why are we doing so hard work and everything is there on the platter. And we used to be not discussion by the team. That why are we not doing this petals butter. It's so easy. no friction. But somewhere the instinct said that no, no, this problem is solved for your next six months. But it's not the working out. Yep. So but Fingers crossed, you don't know because the game is not over yet. We have not painted in our big cities blue color. So when we see cities like Bangalore million people, so we touching million people in cities like Bangalore, where the population is around 14 to 15 million right? Yeah, then I will be very happy that yes, we are making a difference to our cities.
Krishna Jonnakadla 1:15:04
Certainly, certainly certainly no, I, I can't understate the impact. It must have taken a lot of courage to take that off the beaten path. And I'm sure you can possibly speak an hour just on that particular decision itself. Amazing. Just one last, before I asked you what you read one last thing. Do you regret leaving in Moby at all? I know you will succeed. By the way, I think this will this will succeed. I think your value system is right. As your moorings are, right. I think the goals that you set for yourself, sound right to me. And I know you're going to you're going to make that and this is, in my opinion, you're just getting started. India is such a big country, and this is such a big problem. And what you have right now is necessary, the evidence you have is necessary in your mind to say, I think I'm on the verge of hockey stick.
Amit Gupta 1:16:07
I don't mix my, my cuca but then apart. So I think I will lie if I say no, because
Krishna Jonnakadla 1:16:17
it's sort of like,
Amit Gupta 1:16:18
that is more of the emotional side. Do I miss being part of in movies journey? professionally, on the senses, I'm truly enjoying what I'm doing. Okay, and my heart and my, you know, all the best wishes for the company. So, you know, we live by the way not too far from each other. So now we live right next door, we need WeChat. So, so those things happen. And a lot of other imobie colleagues are also friends. Unfortunately, you know, my college friends are less friends than my colleagues, because you spend way too much time with them. My best friends are my you know, ex colleagues are my current colleagues. And I think this decision professionally also, you probably are, you know, answer you can probably give when I'm 50. So, and if you try it right, is that okay? criteria is you would have been more successful, maybe richer? I don't know, what is the definition of success? You know, it's a very vague term. But for me, the definition of success is my own happiness and the impact I've made, then I think the decision so far has been date. So fingers crossed. And if you look becomes big, successful, everybody happy? If it does not, at least we'll be happy that at least someone has made an honest attempt to worry or whatnot. Yeah. Yep. On the road. So bicycles, I don't talk about
Krishna Jonnakadla 1:18:18
successful to buy bicycles are going to come back. And I still think there, we are going to see more avatars of the problems that are going they're going to come back I know for sure, because in this lockdown. Last year, I sold my old bike because my previous fancy bike was stolen. And I told myself till I bicycle regularly, I'm not going to invest in a fancy bike. And I sold it around May of last year, just when the lockdown was eased, or maybe started. Funny thing is, for the next nine months, for the next seven months, I never got a bicycle, it was out of stock every single place. So I know, I know for a fact that bicycles are going to catch up, it's going to come back more possibly, the area that I live around is quite hilly. And I'm a bicycle enthusiast. So therefore I don't mind it. But for flatter regions, I'm sure it will come back. We'll see but it might be a lot.
Amit Gupta 1:19:24
So I read a lot when I used to travel a lot. So one last thing to read either watching movies, which also became you have exhausted them all on Emirates. And then you started reading books. So for me, self help, business, biographies, etc. So those are my, my favorite genres. And these days, they're more about just reading. There's so much of things where you can just consume things on the go. So your blog and then A lot of research papers, etc. So reading books to, you know, these kinds of things actually become more prominent for me. So, the most decent work. So although I read a lot about mobility. So this was an interesting paper from McKinsey, what was the last thing this talks about? says basically a very small 10 page note that this whole phenomenon of mobility becoming green, what does it mean? And why? In the context of, for example, even India, this two wheeler will become even more important. How do you solve for that whole problem of energy to metal? There's a, there's an underlying theme that, you know, you're talking about everything become electric, but do we have those precious metal or not? How do you recycle that? So there's a very interesting analysis that there's, we are not there yet. So if we have to convert everything to electric mobility, particularly the battery technology requires some serious overhaul? What are the geopolitical risk in that? So there's a complete chain of, you know, thoughts and facts? That is what I recently read, like last week only? Yes. Yeah.
Krishna Jonnakadla 1:21:40 You remember that arc reactor in Iron Man, the thing that he puts in his heart. So I think we need a mini arc reactor, the size of this size of a tiny pepper con in each bite, and not drawn from any of the precious metals that China's already cornered. So on that note, Amita, it's been fantastic having you, I love that you went into so much depth in each of your responses. I can't say sing enough praises of the problem that you're working on and evidence that you've already built. I know you're going to scale peaks, and valleys. I say this to everyone that's on the show that we're going to come back and Krishna is the pleasure once again, and wish you all the best and Mount Everest is not there yet. You know, you still have to code when God speaks you have to skip. We wish you the very best. And it's been fantastic having you on the show. Thank you for listening. If you enjoyed listening to the show, and want to help support our show, please leave us a review by visiting our website Maharaja subscale.com forward slash reviews. It helps other people like you discover the show. like totally appreciate your support. If you're a founder or an entrepreneur, or anyone interested in or working with startups, this show is where you see discussions in depth about founder stories, their playbooks and learn more about growth strategies. Visit our website for regular updates, or wherever you get your podcasts and discover more awesome episodes. I'll see you on the next episode. Click on the bell like and hit subscribe to get the latest episodes