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India's Jugnoo To Exit S'pore After Just 3 Months – Finds Ally In Local Ride-Hailing Startup Kardi

Jugnoo, which offers on-demand auto-rickshaws in India, is the nation’s third largest ride-sharing provider — after Uber and homegrown Ola.

The Indian firm has since made its first foray into Southeast Asia with a Singapore launch on May 1.

But in just slightly over three months, it has announced that it will be shutting down its Singapore app by the end of August.

Jugnoo told The Straits Times that they had difficulty in recruiting local drivers, which proved to be a challenge for their app to take flight.

In contrast, local ride-hailing company Kardi has “strength … in operations” — an area which they lack in — so it was a natural choice for Jugnoo to partner and provide them with tech expertise and engineering support.

Moreover, Kardi founder Ashwin Selambram, was a private-hire car driver so his first-hand experience can help improve and innovate the current ride-hailing landscape, reasoned Jugnoo’s CEO Samar Singla.

Jugnoo To Lend Its Technology Expertise

According to him, a team of five will be assigned to Kardi, but they will continue to be based in Chandigarh, in north India.

They will play a huge part in improving and advising on the IT structure of the current system, including creating new digital assets and improving the rider and driver apps.

“We want to support the underdogs… We are giving the small guys the same tools as the bigger players like Uber and Grab, so they can compete without worrying about technology,” he added.

In return, Jugnoo will take a cut from Kardi’s revenue, but both companies refuse to disclose the exact percentage of this cut.

So far, Jugnoo’s engineers have helped to improve the accuracy of the map in Kardi’s app, and they will also help the company develop a feature that automatically calculates any tolls incurred during a trip.

The improved map, in particular, will be a huge boon to the company as it will help to increase the conversion rate of successful rides, said Ashwin.

Kardi Integrates Jugnoo’s Bidding Model

Following this partnership, Kardi has also integrated Jugnoo’s unique “reverse-bidding” model, which lets drivers bid for commuter requests.

It is unclear how successful this model has been among Singaporeans among so far, but Jugnoo said that it has about 2,000 active users on its app so far.

Riders currently using Jugnoo’s app will see an icon in the app, which will then redirect them to Kardi’s app, prompting them to provide consent to be ported over.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Kardi, and this comes with the growing demand for ride-hailing platforms. Kardi being Singapore’s local company, has better expertise in handling the operations, and Jugnoo being a tech platform, will empower Kardi with the best-of-class technology,” said Samar.

“With this collaboration, we envision a future that will provide more affordable rides to the customers and a better earning to the riders.”

Moving forward, Kardi also plans to expand its ride options such as KardiXL (6-seaters), KardiExec (premium cars) and taxi services.

It is also looking to roll out new features such as scheduled rides and a reward system. After solidifying its foothold here, Kardi intends to expand overseas.

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