Hyderabad-based cab aggregator Vihik Cabs has been selected by Facebook for its early-stage startup mentor program ‘FbStart’ under the Bootstrap track.
Vihik Cabs has a chatbot called the Vihik chatbot, a cab booking application on Facebook Messenger, which helps customers book cabs or pay for a cab ride without installing the app.
To be clear, it is the bot that has been selected to the FbStart program, which helps mobile startups succeed.
Vihik Cabs was founded by Chaitanya Duddu and Sameera Duddu in June 2016 in Hyderabad. It is currently a part of Hyderabad-based startup engine T-Hub
While Vihik Cabs is a cab aggregator, unlike Uber or Ola has a unique business model where it connects drivers and customers and allows them to negotiate prices in real time. Having started commercial operations in June this year, has on boarded 200 drivers in Hyderabad so far.
Chaitanya Duddu, co-founder of Vihik Cabs
Vihik Cabs gives drivers the freedom to pick the pricing in real time with an upper limit of Rs 35 per kilometer.
Apart from the app it has built for customers to book cabs, it also has a chatbot, which you can use with an existing Facebook messenger account and book a cab in a similar manner in which you chat with a person.
The chatbot also allows sharing cabs and real time bus timing updates from TSRTC.
According to FbStart’s website, its Bootstrap track is tailored to early stage startups that have just launched their mobile app. Once accepted into Bootstrap track, Facebook helps startups leverage their benefits and advance through the program.
As part of the FbStart program, Vihik Cabs will get $40,000 worth of credits in form of free services from Facebook and its various partners.
From Facebook, it will receive $500 Facebook ad credit for new and existing ad spenders to promote your mobile app or Messenger bot and direct support to ask subject matter experts at Facebook up to 15 technical integration questions as well as questions related to app review, platform technical integrations, and its platform policies.
Services from its partners include $5000 worth of Amazon Web Services for the startup to quickly scale your backend infrastructure, 20% off on Adobe’s Premiere Pro CC, 13% discount of acrobat pro cloud and 15% off the full Creative Cloud Plan to create and design highly compelling content, six months of free access to Dropbox and Salesforce, 12 months of free access to Zen Desk, and a lot more.
Speaking of how being a part of FbStart will help in growing his business, Chaitanya says, “We already use Amazon AWS but this will become a booster to us. We will use these credits for getting more users by running different campaigns on Facebook ad platform and also improve the performance of the application using AWS. Basically we can use all the services provided in FB start program and grow our business quickly.”
The biggest advantage, Chaitanya says is to be able to speak Facebook developers. It is a big thing to get their time in case we have any issues, he says.
Vihik Cabs currently operates in the B2C area. It is now in talks with two big companies, which have requested Vihik Cabs to manage their vehicle bookings. This will be the startup’s foray into B2B.
“Companies currently work with different vendors and have different websites for parking, employee bus transportation, cab booking and flight booking. We will bring all these booking into one bot platform and integrate that in Skype for business or Slack, which are common chat platforms in companies right now,” says Chaitanya.