Mahesh Gidwani’s Drivekool.com is an aggregator platform for driving schools and RTO agents. It is India’s first driving school booking site that is based on an innovative cloud platform and acts as a bridge between the motor driving schools and their customers. Customers can log on to the portal to search and book any kind of RTO services (like driving licenses, international and commercial driving licenses, address change, and road tax) or driving lessons. What’s more, they get to choose their preferred time slots too. Talking about its origin, Mahesh said, “As you know necessity is mother of invention and in this we were looking for such services, which was very difficult to find and hence we decided to take the challenge of making A) discovery of such services easier and, B) delivering them hassle free. This is a tough industry to deal with and the good news for customers is that they have got professionals to provide the mostly neglected yet important set of services to them.”
Drivekool as an idea came to Mahesh when he and his wife were looking for professional and credible driving school after they shifted to Bangalore. However, the couple was disappointed as they didn’t get what they were looking for. Later, they discussed with their friends only to realize that it was a serious problem that many was facing and there got to be a solution for the same. It was only when Mahesh joined Dell and eventually met his co-founders Saumitra Kayal and Kumar Gaurav that the trio decided to do something to tackle the problem. Thus, Drivekool came to existence and there was no looking back. It was first started in Bangalore, and currently has over 100 driving schools, with more than 400 vehicles. Recently, Drivekool was launched in Delhi NCR to replicate the success that it has received in the garden city.
Talking about the business model, Mahesh said, “We actually started our business in B2C model but now recently have started focusing on B2B as well and got great success out there. So expect our B2B to surpass B2C business soon.” Though this portal is not yet profitable, but they are gradually moving towards it. Mahesh and his team was always very clear about one thing from day one –that they would concentrate on revenue generation and not into burning money. They always looked at the cost of customer acquisition and never did anything that doesn’t mathematically make sense to the team.
Talking about the significant developments that this startup has made, Mahesh Gidwani said, “We have provided more than 12K services to individual and corporate customer within one and half year that too without spending any money on marketing. We launched one of its kind road tax calculate to calculate road tax that one has to pay in Karnataka and that has given huge relief to our customer. They could calculate road tax and pay it through our portal without stepping out of home.”
Their constant endeavour is to continuously innovate their processes so as to gift a hassle free life to their esteemed customers. This trait has helped them survive in the big, bad competitive world. Talking about competition, the CEO and founder of DriveKool said, “We don’t have direct competition however there are plenty indirect competitors out there in the market. Most of them are from on demand home service and classified portal space who don’t support customers end to end the way we support.”
Though the going is good for this company, yet it is punctuated with occasional challenges as well. The two main challenges that this startup faced were – convincing the driving schools to come on board first and later pay for the services and finding good driving schools that offer good quality services. It becomes a Herculean task at times given the fact that the driving school owners or their staff members are not tech savvy. But then, impossible is nothing and with proper coaching/training sessions, every challenges can be turned into opportunities.