Meru Cabs raises Rs150 crore from Bennett, Coleman

Meru Cabs has raised a new round of funding of Rs150 crore ($25 million) from Bennett, Coleman and Co Ltd's (BCCL) investment arm Brand Capital. The radio-taxi service provider will use these funds to further strengthen its foothold in the Indian market, increase brand salience and awareness with the aim of widening its customer base.

Since May 2015, when Meru last raised Rs300crore ($50 million) from its existing investor India Value Fund Advisors (IVFA), the company has expanded to 24 additional cities, launched four services, and grown its fleet size to 20,000 vehicles.

''Meru has been working on a sustainable business model since its inception and has grown its operations across cities as well as continued to provide varied services. With the ongoing transformation in the taxi industry, this move is in line with the company's efforts to showcase its services to a larger customer segment via a bouquet of media channels,'' said Siddhartha Pahwa, CEO, Meru Cabs.

India's organised radio-taxi market presently at Rs7,900 crore ($1.2 billion) is estimated to reach Rs1 1akh crore ($15 billion) by  2022 presenting an enormous opportunity for growth in the Indian market.

''Meru's profitable and growing business, strong technology and analytics driven platform complemented by an experienced management team were strong and attractive determinants to partner with the company in this high growth consumer facing industry. We are confident that this partnership will help accelerate the process of creating the requisite brand positioning as well as awareness for customers who are present across mediums/platforms like Print, OOH, digital, social media etc,'' said Shrenik M Khasgiwala, director at Brand Capital.

Meru was the first taxi player to introduce the carpool service in October 2015 that encouraged customers to share their personal cars, reduce traffic congestion and contribute to a greener environment. The RideShare service, wherein customers share their Meru ride, witnessed tremendous success in both phases of the odd-even initiative in Delhi.

Meru was also the first to launch a specialised service for differently-abled and elderly commuters called 'Meru Enable' via spacious and disability equipped vehicles and trained and sensitised drivers. Meru receives over 70 per cent of its booking from the mobile app and continues to adopt unique technology products to ensure seamless booking and navigation for its customers.