With support from DFC, Yulu is helping mitigate carbon emissions and reduce traffic congestion.
Yulu’s electric bikes are available for short-term rentals in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi-NCR. (Photograph © PradeepGaurs / Shutterstock.com)
Imagine renting a bike, zipping past cars stuck in jams, without breaking a sweat or receiving your dinner order early because your delivery executive can navigate traffic quickly and bring you your order, piping hot. And all this without adding to the air pollution from transportation. This is what Yulu offers you.
Founded in 2017, Yulu provides electric bikes for short-term rentals at affordable rates in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi-NCR. In November 2022, it received a commitment for a $9 million loan from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). Ajay Rao, regional managing director, South Asia, at DFC, says the loan will support Yulu as it expands its fleet by at least 20,000 electric bikes. The new bikes will be made available in multiple Indian cities, empowering low-income workers to deliver packages more easily. These new bikes will also help reduce congestion and air pollution in urban areas.
“We believe that shared mobility plays a crucial role in empowering people by opening up employment opportunities, facilitating better and safer commutes, increasing women’s mobility and participation, reducing traffic congestion, mitigating carbon emissions, and thus improving overall quality of life in urban areas,” says Anuj Tewari, chief financial officer at Yulu.
Social and ecological impact
The partnership between Yulu and DFC began when Tewari and his colleagues recognized that the two organizations shared common values. “Yulu’s commitment to carbon emission reduction through sustainable mobility, integrating technology to generate employment while addressing the pressing need for innovative mobility solutions, and focus on empowering women through easily accessible vehicles aligned closely with DFC’s mission,” says Tewari. “Through initiatives like the Safe Rider program, Yulu is also educating delivery executives on road safety to create a positive social impact.”
“The DFC loan not only brings much-needed resources to accelerate our scaling-up and path to profitability,” Tewari continues, it also “amplifies our ability to create positive ecological and social impact.”
Yulu has helped Indian companies make over 75 million environmentally sustainable deliveries and save over 20 million kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions. But Yulu’s plans for the future are even more ambitious. The company expects to grow its fleet to over one million vehicles, offer its services in major cities around the world, and become a leader in the area of shared electric bikes.
Looking to the future, DFC’s Rao has great hopes for Yulu. “We would like to track Yulu’s growth in profitability and cash flow while, at the same time, seeing an increase in electric delivery bikes on the road.”
Michael Gallant is a New York City-based writer, musician and entrepreneur.
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