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This Is What Ride Hailing Startup Chalo Has Been Doing Wrong

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As an idea Chalo is brilliant given the fact that it is solving a real problem. It has apparent advantages over many soon to come similar services as a first mover. It has also great growth potential given that we are a market of 160 million people. It has attracted quite good attention from tech enthusiasts and also from mass users [it even made to our list of 6 most potential startups launched in 2015]. But the startup is playing wrong with more than one thing. 

This is a very common rule: under promise over deliver. It creates credibility, gives a wow feeling, and helps in creating long term bonding with customers. From the very beginning Chalo has been playing just the opposite. It promised of an ETA 1o minutes which is quite impossible given the traffic scene in Dhaka. Still this is good if you communicate properly with your users but it is just so out of place in this case. We have people asking us about Chalo and their services, after our story, and why they are so slow and all. This is suicidal for a startup not to meet an expectation after creating it on purpose.

Then comes availability. A very common complaint from people is, they never found a Chalo car in their area. They installed the app and tried more than once to get a car but every time they got same answer ‘car is not available in your area’. This is like driving your users away and asking them to not to come back again. It is not possible for a startup to serve whole Dhaka in one shot. That’s understandable. But one has to inform it and communicate it in black and white. The most likely result of this-people failing to avail your service after trying for multiple times-is abandonment and low credibility. They will not try it next time even when you are offering solid service. What Chalo could do is offering location base service. It can start with one area at a time and then expand from there which has been the growth strategy for almost all car hailing services including Lyft and Uber.

It is true that Chalo is just testing the water but testing does not allow you to make careless mistakes and thus kill the future.

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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