Bangladeshi transport-tech startup Shuttle recently announced USD 1.5 million in a new funding round, bringing its total investment to USD 2.5 million. The company charges less than one-third the price of regular ride-sharing by clubbing 4-10 people in sedans and minivans. Shuttle’s potential to change the consumer transport dynamics and reduce pollution in congested cities has earned its founders spots in the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia list.
South Asia Tech, a growth-stage venture capital fund focused on logistics & e-commerce start-ups in South Asia, led the round. Other investors in the round include Start-up Bangladesh Limited – the only government VC fund in the country, investors from Bangladesh Angels Network (BAN), and some existing investors, including Accelerating Asia.
Shuttle started its journey in 2018 with pre-seed capital from Robi Axiata Limited. Other previous investors include SBK Tech Ventures, Accelerating Asia, The Ventures (South Korean VC), BAN, and local as well as global angels. In addition, the company also received an impact-matching grant from Biniyog Briddhi, a public-private development partnership (PPDP) between the Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh, Roots of Impact, and LightCastle Partners.
After its initial success with providing women-only services, Shuttle later made it open for all and added B2B offerings to bring convenient and affordable daily commutes for middle-income people in Bangladesh.
More than 30,000 university students and office-goers have registered on the Shuttle platform, with the majority being women. The company has also worked with over 50 organizations (B2B clients), including the country’s largest multinational companies (MNCs). Shuttle is also set to launch a new service, “Shuttle for School” for the students in Dhaka city, which is a milestone project initiated by Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) to reduce traffic congestion in the metro.
Shuttle’s Co-founder & CEO, Reyasat Chowdhury mentioned, “We are thankful to South Asia Tech and all other investors for believing in our vision of making daily commutes convenient and affordable for the middle-income people in Bangladesh.” He added, “The new funding will help us to expand our footprint across the country through further investments in tech, product, and team.”
Ashfaque Chowdhury, General Partner at South Asia Tech, said, “We support innovative start-ups that are tackling large problems and stand to gain from the substantial growth of the economies in South Asia – the region with the fourth largest GDP in the world. Shuttle’s focus on solving a major problem for middle-income consumers, with special consideration for women, truly caught our attention. We are thrilled to be supporting them in their mission.”
“Shuttle has been working tirelessly to solve a major problem in Bangladesh’s transportation sector, and their innovative approach is truly commendable. I am confident that this investment will strengthen Shuttle’s position and allow them to expand their services in the future”, said Sami Ahmed, Managing Director of Start-up Bangladesh.
Sonia Bashir Kabir, Founder & Managing Director at SBK Tech Ventures, cited, “We are glad to be supporting Shuttle since the beginning through Robi’s r-ventures program. I admire Shuttle’s contribution in improving safety for women during commute in our country.”
The start-up has a total addressable market of USD 13.5 billion in Bangladesh. The team believes that the solution can be replicated in other developing countries with densely populated cities in the future.
“What impressed us most about Shuttle is the category it targets: mass transit. The company is solving mobility problems that affect the majority of the population in Bangladesh and in other markets. By doing so, Shuttle is helping people get places in more ways than one: People can enjoy not only faster and safer commutes but additional economic opportunities from the time they save,” said Craig Bristol Dixon, Accelerating Asia’s Co-founder and General Partner, after their follow-on investment.