Bangalore’s urban chaos spawns creative start-ups

FP

Ashif Panakkat and his wife, who live in the crowded Sarjapura Road locality in Bangalore, have found a way to simplify their lives. By calling an instant neighbourhood delivery service called Delyver, they can order food from nearby restaurants, have their favourite ice creams delivered, order flowers, or even have their laundry picked up.

"I am saved the hassle of getting out in traffic, finding a parking and then navigating the last stretch to the restaurant or the store," says Panakkat, who runs a structural engineering design firm. He and his wife, a scientist, are frequent users of the service since they moved from Chicago a year ago, sometimes as many as three times a week, to make their life a little more efficient in teeming Bangalore.

India's urban chaos is spawning an array of creative start-ups like Delyver that aim to take the pain out of living in cities like Bangalore. An exploding population, traffic congestion and parking challenges are pushing entrepreneurs to offer creative solutions that smoothen life in a metropolis. "Delyver is instant commerce, it is a service for people who don't have the time to wait for the long waiting times of e-commerce," says K. Ganesh, a serial entrepreneur who set up one of India's first call centre firms and later an online tutoring firm, both of which have since been sold for tidy sums of money. He has obviously sniffed a similar business opportunity—he is an angel investor in Delyver.

Bangalore is proving to be a testing ground for a host of similar start-ups. When it launches this year-end, Zoom will be India's first self-driven cab service offering vehicles on demand round-the-clock. Zoom's American co-founder Greg Moran says his service aims to ease Bangalore's constraints such as a lack of inventory of cabs at peak hours. "Our service is looking to mitigate the typical pain points in Indian cities," says Moran. So Zoom will offer its customers aggregated parking spaces to alleviate parking challenges. Its cars will come with large-screen tablets that will be loaded with maps, voice-controlled directions, traffic and parking information.

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