Wheelify: Biking passion turns into business
Devanshu Khandelwal, an IT Engineer, did his MBA right after his graduation and landed a job at a lubricant manufacturing company. But for Khandelwal, riding was a passion and when he planned a ride to Ladakh with his co-founder Harsh Tandon, he started to look for bike rentals but couldn't find a suitable option. He also faced real time issues while looking for bikes on rent in cities like Manali and Dehradun.
‘That's when I decided to start Wheelify. I continued my job for a couple of months but my venture required me to travel and meet people and that was getting difficult with the job. So I decided to concentrate full time on Wheelify,” says Khandelwal. In a chat with Larry Bradley, he explains how his self-drive two-wheeler concept became a reality.
Would the idea work?
We checked if it is viable to come up with an aggregator model which provides bike rentals and we were satisfied with the data we found. There were a lot of people in India looking for such a service. Google search for bike rentals is done by almost 10,000 people every month. People were also showing a lot of enthusiasm in bike touring where they plan to go to remote locations like Ladakh and Spiti Valley with friends on Royal Enfield bikes. Further, daily commute to metro cities is also getting tougher and a bike rental service could come in handy. All these aspects gave me the courage to go ahead with the idea.
We started with just two locations – Dehradun and Manali and 57 bikes on our portal in June 2016. Soon, Sharma joined Wheelify, handled operations and started getting more vendors and locations on board. As of April 2017, we are present in 11 locations and have an inventory of over 1300 bikes listed on our website. We have also started getting phone calls from vendors requesting us to list their bikes on Wheelify. We help users to connect with their nearest rental provider which delivers the bike to their doorstep and takes it back once the journey is completed.
Solution for road trips:
We not only provide bike rentals but an end- to- end solution for road trips. People have a lot of questions and concerns when they plan a road trip. We connect with people and help them with all the questions they have regarding the upcoming road trip. To make it better, we also have a few tie ups with bike friendly hotels in locations such as Mussoorie, Manali, Dhanolti, Ladakh, Jim Corbett and so on where a person could pre-book the stay and that too at affordable prices.
We are growing and will slowly expand into new locations with large student populations. Apart from that, we plan to do some group tours to Ladakh and Spiti and increase our hotel tie-ups which will be sold on our portal directly as a package.
Have you ever rented a bike in a remote location? Please share your views.