Do you wish to visit your loved ones, during Diwali? Or, any emergency at home and can’t get train tickets or afford flight tickets. Then open the Redbus app, and type in your onward and return destinations. Congratulations, your ticket is booked, and you can experience extreme comfort and pleasure, equivalent to that of an airplane just in rates of a bus. Redbus is India’s largest bus ticketing company that connects hundreds of cities across the country. Travelers can now experience bus-booking comfort right from their home and through their phones and laptops, instead of rushing to go to various bus stations. So, now let us share with you this interesting journey.
The Beginning of RedBus App
It all commenced with the terrible experience of Phanindra Kumar, an engineer working as a designer with Texas Instruments, Bangalore, in 2005. He was going to Hyderabad from Bangalore, but couldn’t reach the bus stand in time, to purchase bus tickets, due to the awful traffic. After this harrowing experience, he realized the need for a bus ticketing website, where customers could instantly purchase their bus tickets.
So, along with his two friends, Sudhakar Pasupunuri and Charan Padmaraju, pooled five lakhs from their savings and started a portal, known as Redbus. Next, all the three of them went to different travel agents, for linking their bus seats. Initially, they were refused multiple times. On 18th August 2006, they received five bus seats from a travel agent. Due to the slow pace, the three distributed their Redbus cards to all their IT employees during lunchtime. The first customer was an Infosys employee, who booked a ticket to Tirupati, from the site. In that same year, Redbus was selected for TIE Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program. Through this program, the founders received training on how to conduct a market survey of buses, customer profiles, and agent commission.
Admirable Journey of Success
It has been a tumultuous journey for Redbus, which is fraught with accomplishments. The company had five hundred partnerships with buses and travel agents for 5000 routes. The firm has raised several rounds of funding, starting from the noted venture capitalist firm SeedFund for three years. The latest financing, which it acquired, was 6.5 million USD, with VC firms like Invetus Capital, Helion Venture Capital, and SeedFund, in the year 2011.
Due to the massive intake of funds, the firm went on a rapid hiring spree and had a headcount of two hundred and fifty people, working in different cities like Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune, Vizag, Coimbatore, Delhi, Vijaywada and Ahmedabad. Redbus had seven physical customer care centers, three satellite call centers, and home delivery of tickets in ten different cities. Much more confounding was the fact that the firm’s portal was operated like SaaS for bus operators. This software handled upgrades, maintenance, and licensing of the software.
The company’s revenue grew massively from five million rupees in 2007 to 120 million USD in 2013. Redbus also established tie-ups with Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation, Goa State Road Transport Corporation and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation for selling govt and private bus tickets. Redbus launched real-time tracking using Asset Tracker and YouBus. They also had 75000 partner outlets, and delivered ticket booking services from the cell phone and using SMS, besides home delivery. Observing its achievements, Redbus was ranked among the most innovative firms globally, Google, Facebook, and Apple.
It was announced that RedBus had been sold to a giant company from South Africa, known as Naspers, from its Indian subsidiary, known as Ibibo Group, for 120 million USD. It is perhaps the biggest overseas acquisition of an Indian firm.