Mumbai-based startup Railofy, which aims to provide "protection against waitlisting and reservation against cancellation (RAC) in Railway tickets has raised Rs 7 crore in seed round from Chiratae Ventures.
A problem that affects roughly 300 million railway passenger trips every year, Railofy says it is trying to "solve the wait-list problem" by using technology to connect excess demand of the railways to other transportation modes like flights and buses at affordable prices.
The funding from Chiratae validates the strength of the business model. Railofy will use this funding to scale presence across India post lockdown.
Founded in 2019 by Rohan Dedhia, Vaibhav Saraf and Hrishabh Sanghvi, Railofy started trials in January 2020 on select trains originating from Mumbai.
The team claims that within 1.5 months of operations, which was before the lockdown, Railofy recorded more than 60,000 visits and sold hundreds of WL & RAC protections on these routes. The protection is currently available for all special trains currently running.
Railofy’s biggest USP is that it provides alternate travel at price points close to the railway ticket price which is affordable for the vast majority of Indians without compromising on convenience or timing.
The founding team said, "This platform is dedicated to every railway passenger who could not finish their journey because of an unconfirmed ticket. Thus leaving them with either expensive alternatives, dealing with unreliable agents or altogether cancelling their plans. We aim to replace these de-railed experiences with stories of convenience and comfort, affordable and timely travel. Chiratae’s funding validates our belief that the problem of Waitlist in India can be solved indigenously using a technology-led business model."
How Does It Work?
Approximately 1 of 2 passengers get waitlisted at the time of booking an IRCTC ticket. With WL & RAC protection, railway passengers get flights close to train prices to their destination if their train ticket is not confirmed after chart preparation. For shorter distances, Railofy provides buses at nominal prices if train ticket is not confirmed after chart preparation.
This ensures that passengers reach their destination conveniently, in time and at the lowest possible price, ultimately introducing predictability into the overall travel experience.
Passengers can purchase the protection from Railofy’s portal against their ticket for an average price of Rs 200. If the ticket is not confirmed post chart preparation, Railofy provides a flight close to the price of a train ticket or bus for nominal prices to the destination. The price for flight/bus options is fixed at the time of purchasing WL & RAC protection itself, thus ensuring that passengers are shielded from last-minute rising fares.
TC Meenakshisundaram, founder and managing director of Chiratae Ventures India Advisors, said, "Indian Railways is the backbone of our country. As India becomes more aspirational, passengers will demand a more reliable experience while travelling by the railways. Railofy is working towards this by solving one of the biggest problems affecting railways - waitlist due to congestion."
First Published: IST