In a conversation with Sarthak Sharma, CEO-Founder of AutoForSure; talks about company performance, footstep, driver-partner dealings, and much more.
From lockdown to survival, how has AutoForSure recast itself amid the pandemic?
We used the lockdown period to grow our relationships with our driver-partner and users, and focus on cash and cost management. We are currently working on enabling many partners and consumers to recover fully to pre-COVID levels and extend the network on the back of the enhanced products and experiences.
What was AutoForSure’s footstep pre-pandemic, and what is it now?
In terms of the footstep, we have currently achieved 85 per cent of pre-COVID levels of driver-partners’ availability. The supply momentum is building up for auto-rickshaws and taxies in India. Rickshaw drivers in India continue to choose AutoForSure as their preferred business partner as we continue to provide digital payments and engage a large customer base to drivers.
What is AutoForSure doing to maintain clarity in their dealings with drivers?
From our conversation with driver-partners in India, we received a fair percentage of feedback. We launched the self-help section & support ticket centre within our driver-partner application to provide easy access to any support material and enable them to reach out to AutoForSure in case of a query and get real-time ticket visibility. We have moved to weekly payments. We ensure transparency in our day-to-day operations. Today in India, over 85 per cent of the auto-rickshaw drivers have opted to be on AutoForSure online wallet based system, which is also a feature that our partners love.
How do you think the travel sector will recover in India post-COVID?
As per travel industry reports, India is better positioned for faster revival than other markets regarding the strong domestic demand in its region.
We are carefully optimistic about the market now as we have seen small but significant sprouting shoots. Daily Active Users on the AutoForSure platform have seen a 2.0X increase compared to lockdown levels, as users have started to book rides. Our growth numbers are back to pre-COVID levels, reflecting the confidence coming back into travellers across shares.
While complete recovery is highly uncertain as the pandemic is still not subsided, the industry’s confidence is not on unstable ground. Look at the listed stocks of hospitality chains in the country – most have regained above 80 per cent of pre-COVID stock prices. Some are trading above their pre-COVID levels, indicating that the markets believe in pent-up demand for the sector in short-term and robust fundamentals to recover in the mid-term.