How do you do market research on a small budget? And when do you know you have achieved product/market fit? Key questions for any start-up. We asked Anshuman Mihir and Mohit Rajpal, the co-founders of My Taxi India, a start-up focusing on the inter-city cab rental service market in India which recently won the RISE conference pitch competition.  

We first looked at train data. Close to 5 million tickets are getting sold every day. And even with that huge number, still, 13 - 35 percent tickets are not getting booked, because trains don't have the availability needed. On the other side, we also looked at the bus industry. Busses, like trains, don’t drive in or into every city.

Then we thought of this huge population (60-65 percent of people) that is not being served at the moment. We then looked at the data from tier 2 and 3 cities, where people really want to come and use road transport, but don’t find what they need.

Whenever you build a company or build a technology, you have to think of the entry barriers

Let's say, I'm going somewhere with a family. If I take a Volvo, that will cost me 4,000 bucks, even if I take the Aghra route. As an alternative, first, I would go from my home to bus stand, from bus stand to the destination bus stand and then from that bus stand, to the final destination. It's not convenient.

That's how we thought of launching intercity taxis. Intercity taxis will come to your doorstep and will take you to the destination where you want to go at a cheaper cost. We are serving a market, which is completely unorganized at the moment. There is an existing demand, and if we get this seamless convenience in place, people would love to take the taxi.

If you ask anybody in India, booking a inter-city taxi is a very tough task at the moment. You need to call multiple people. There is no one brand in place. You first find a name on Twitter or Google, then you have to call multiple taxi operators. In India, you have to negotiate the price. Every taxi operator has a different price. So we know this pain area of the booking process for intercity taxis in India.  We know that this is a very tough process. That’s where we came in.

For these 46 million people transfers per day and a market that’s 90 percent unorganized, we thought of launching a GDS, a Global Distribution System, so that all taxi-operators could get into one system and reach out to these consumers. At the same time, this volume allowed us to reduced the taxi price by 40 percent, making taxi as competitive as bus and train.