Meru adds new services to up competition
In order to better compete with app-based cab hailing services, Meru has introduced new features, including a new range of cab categories. Meru Cabs CEO Nilesh Sangoi said SUVs, sedans and hatchbacks would be added as a separate service and would also be competitively priced. 2000 drivers and vehicles have also been hired by Meru under the new categories.
Headquartered in Mumbai, Meru cabs was started in 2007 by Neeraj Gupta and was the first company in India to provide 'radio taxis'. Meru Cabs was first launched in Mumbai with a total of 45 cabs and started operations in 2008 at Delhi, Hyderabad & Bengaluru. It extended its services to Jaipur and Ahmedabad in 2013 and to Chennai by March 2014.
On 2 February 2015, Google Now and Meru Cabs mobile app decided to integrate. With this alliance, the Meru app would be able to transmit passengers pickup reminders, alerts if they need to avail a taxi etc. Meru's novel mobile app also introduced new features like "One-bit booking, trailing your cab, confirmed booking up to seven days before and India's 1st Cab-Wallet."
Meru launched Eve service, a cab service for women in Delhi in 2015. Eve taxis are hatchbacks shaded pink and white and operated by women donning pink vests.
Meru Cabs divulged its plans to invest approximately $100 million (almost Rs.600 crore) for acquiring cabs in the upcoming months. Its Chief Executive Officer Siddhartha Pahwa confirmed that the company was in advanced stage of raising about $150 mn. Most of the capital would get utilized to acquire "small to medium-sized" taxi service-providers. These deals will take place in the south and northeast areas.
In 2006, equity stake was taken in Meru by India Value Fund (IVF), which is a premier private equity fund, operating a corpus of over $1.4 billion. 85% stake in Meru is owned by IVF. On 17 March 2015, Meru Cab raised $50 million in fresh capital from existing investor, India Value Fund. With this funding, Meru divulged its plans to reach 40 cities.
Meru Cabs tied up with Mobikwik and Paytm, the mobile payment service providers to provide cashless travel to its customers. This will also help Meru gain access into Mobikwik and Paytm users. Meru digitized itself doling out new features in its app as 70% of its revenue is application based. Before this, it had already tied up with the e-wallet Citrus.
Meru Cabs has joined hands with France's eCab, a subsidiary of French Taxis G7, to extend its business offering in international markets. Under this alliance, Meru's clients will use eCab's services for global travel in 50 major cities around the world, including in countries like France, Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, and Ireland. Likewise, eCab mobile app clients can use Meru in India.
Meru cabs has raised $25 million from Brand Capital, the investment arm of Bennet, Coleman and Co. Ltd. Meru said it would use this funding to improve its service and make its business model more sustainable. Meru added that these funds would also be used to improve "brand salience and brand awareness" in an attempt to widen their customer base in the country.
Meru Cabs' CEO Siddhartha Pahwa has stepped down saying he is happy that "Meru is now a cash-positive, profitably growing organization,"; sources said CTO Nilesh Sangoi is to take over his position. Pahwa said he would now consider starting his "own venture or some opportunities that people have been discussing." Pahwa joined Meru in 2011 and has been with the company for 5 years.