The concept of startups is not too old and a lot of young entrepreneurs are already walking on the path of creating their own ventures. Rajarshi Nag and his fellow team members started off on a similar journey in 2017 when they launched their app called ‘Drivers4Me’ which is basically an app based driver hiring platform, available on iOS and android, for both private and commercial car owners.
How It Started
Recalling his initial days Rajarshi Nag spoke about the difficulties of the journey. “When we first started off this journey, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, since there were a lot of tasks involved in successfully establishing an operational startup. Along with that came the speculations and concerns raised by family members and close friends, that going forward in the entrepreneurial direction was a huge risk compared to a job. Still we decided to take up the challenge and started to work on this. The decision was taken by me and 4 of my friends – Paramartha Saha, Prachatos Mitra, Rajarshi Basu & Ronit Ray. During the very early days of our work, we included a junior from our college, Hillol Barman, a very creative young mind with a distinctive talent for graphical works which gives a dimension of uniqueness to our Startup”, Says Nag.
“We were in our 3rd year of Computer Science Engineering from IEM (Institute of Engineering and Management), Salt Lake. Boredom of work and assignments and some past incidents led to this unique idea of ours. We were lucky enough to get the support of our college founder, Dr. Satyajit Chakraborty who supported us by providing us with an office room at the Ashram Campus. Later, we extended our team and our main office is now located at (GF-17 Ground floor, Rajdanga Main Road, Sector G).” Added Nag.
The beginning of this journey was tiresome and hectic as balancing work and start up was never easy for any of us. “Hailing from middle class families who have practically no idea of startups/businesses made it even more difficult for us to get that extra support. But from sleeping for only 2-3 hours, to now having 4 big operational offices with over 900 team members, in 5 major cities namely Kolkata, Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad and Mumbai, to having tie ups with big clients like Cars24, Zoomcar, Revv, TCS, SBI, OLX, Marriott etc, it all seems like a dream come true.” Said the proud entrepreneur.
What Is Different About Drivers4Me
Rajarshi Nag further mentions that unlike Ola and Uber, Drivers4Me provides drivers for both organizations and individual customers with all types of preferences, such as online payment for customers, short trips, new trip types, regular uniforms worn by drivers for identification, verified drivers in various segments of car and background and police verification for all drivers. In addition to this, they have a comparatively lower and dynamic fare starting from Rs 49 per hour, along with live tracking of the driver in the customer app.
Speaking of the COVID-19 situation and lockdown, Rajarshi Nag mentions there were lots of difficulties in the early phase of the lockdown. “We were forced to do minor pay cuts because of the situation, but we soon changed our business model. We made tie ups with essential service providers like medicine companies such as 1mg, Medlife and so on and other grocery stores such as Spencer’s, Big Basket etc. They would hire our drivers and in this way we provided our drivers for transportation of essential workers and deliveries of medicines and grocery. We made tie ups with Zoomcar, Revv and other car providers, where their cars would be driven by our drivers.” Explains Nag.
“We have made a lot of donations of rations to the families of our drivers and several others in need, who stay in remote areas as a part of our CSR. During the ongoing pandemic, all kinds of measures and preventive steps have been taken to ensure that drivers and riders enjoy a safe and hassle free journey. Our drivers undergo temperature checks and they are provided with masks, face shields and sanitizers. Through our app we constantly monitor whether all the drivers are maintaining the correct steps or not. A 24*7 call and chat support is also available for our customers”. Added Nag.
An app like this does make life easier and Nag and his team have been working day and night and thereafter they have been successfully running the app with more than 20,000 registered customers.
Talking about the challenges of a startup company Nag explains how tough it is for Bengalis to be a part of startups. “It is difficult to set up your own startup especially if you are from Bengal, where startups aren’t prevalent. The general inclination of people is towards mainstream 9-5 steady pay jobs. You cannot build a successful venture within your comfort zone. The Government of India and the Government of West Bengal have set up several schemes to help startups grow. The only thing, that needs to change here is our mindset. We believe that parents have to play a crucial role if we want to have more budding entrepreneurs. Although, we had to start from scratch, but we want to join hands with more start up owners and we pledge to open more startups in the near future in West Bengal. We aim to turn West Bengal into a major entrepreneurial hub in India.”
There is more to achieve but the quest to succeed drives Nag and his team to dream big, work hard and know it is all about the apt decisions taken in the toughest of times. Some may work, some may not. But Nag knows, if you never try, you never know.