1) The Founders
Dinesh Kumar Kotha and Sripad Vaidya. Kotha specialises in product development and played a crucial role at o9 Solutions India. Earlier, he had worked for IBM. Vaidya is also a former IBM professional and has more than eight years of experience in analytics and operations.
2) The Idea
"Our story is a bit like redBus. We always found it difficult to get confirmed tickets to travel to our home towns every other week," says Vaidya. "In India, 2.2 million train tickets are booked and around 41 per cent of these are on wait lists. People often suffer as their wait-listed tickets do not get confirmed. So, we decided to set up Confirm Ticket Online Solutions to address this issue."
3) How It Works
The duo has come out with an app for iOS and Android devices that uses historical data and machine learning to predict the chances of wait-listed tickets getting confirmed. It also suggests best available travel options by linking trains, buses and cabs based on available inventories.
Anyone looking for a ticket has to enter the departure and destination cities and travel dates. The app then displays a list of trains along with confirmation predictions (in case no direct and confirmed ticket is available) and shows alternatives, including same train (if confirmation chances are high), train+train, train+bus and bus+bus options. For instance, if one's direct ticket from Bengaluru to Kolkata is on the wait list, the app may suggest the following options: 1. Buy a confirmed train ticket to travel to Vizag and get another booking from Vizag to Kolkata; 2. Book a bus ticket to Vizag and get a train booking from there to Kolkata; 3. Get a confirmed train ticket to Bhubaneswar and then take a bus to Kolkata. The app also has offline train tracking and wake-up alarms.
4) Revenue & Expansion
The company claims to be cash-positive, selling tickets worth Rs 12 crore-plus a month during FY2018/19 and clocking a revenue of Rs 60 lakh-plus from in-app advertisements and commission. In future, the focus will be on ticket sales as it aims to expand more in Tier II and Tier III cities by betting big on vernacular play. It will soon start voice-based services to provide information on PNR and train status in real time.