Shuttle, a mass-transit startup based in Singapore, announced raising $750,000 in a seed funding round to fuel its goal of providing safer and convenient mass transport in Bangladesh.
The funding round was led by Singapore-based venture capital firm Accelerating Asia and backed by a number of investors, including Robi Axiata Limited, Impact Collective, and Bangladesh Angels Network.
Shuttle, founded in 2018, is also eligible to receive Impact Ready Matching Fund of up to US$ 100,000 from the Biniyog Briddhi – a multi-year program dedicated to supporting a thriving ecosystem where impact enterprises of Bangladesh can grow and scale their impact.
The startup, which acts like a ride-hailing firm for larger passenger vehicles, provides air-conditioned minivans, accommodating 10-11 people, who can safely commute together by paying less than one-fourth of ride-sharing cars.
Shuttle started as a women-only service to solve a pressing issue in Bangladesh – the lack of safe transportation for women. The service proved to be remarkable, garnering impressive responses from female users, all across Dhaka.
The company currently has more than 20,000 women registered in their platform for the “Shuttle for Women” service and has completed more than 1 million successful rides.
The Bangladeshi startup has recently extended its services further and incorporated “Shuttle for Business” in 2020. In the wake of Covid-19, this initiative aided organizations to ensure safe and sanitized transportation for their moving employees during the lockdown.
“When we started, we figured out that different segments of people in the society (women, men, businesses, school and university students etc.) have different needs and different priorities and one solution for all will not solve the problems,” said Shutt’s co-founder and CEO Reyasat Chowdhury.
“We realized that 21st-century mass-transit solutions need to cater to the unique needs of each of these segments separately. Keeping that in mind, initially we started with a women-only service and later launched ‘Shuttle for Business’,” he added.
The startup has a total addressable market of $7.5 billion in Bangladesh alone and the team believes that the same solution can be replicated in other developing countries and densely populated cities.