Arsen Tomsky, Founder and CEO of ride-hailing application inDrive, was in Nepal recently for the launch of his book'inDriver: From Siberia to Silicon Valley'. Tamish Giri of New Business Age sat with Tomsky to have a short chat about the company's journey in Nepal so far and its future plans ahead. Here are some excerpts:
What was the inspiration behind writing the book?
I wanted to share my journey with readers. The foundation and growth of inDrive is not just a professional endeavour for me, but a deeply personal and emotional journey that has shaped my life. Writing about its development has been transformative, and I am thrilled to invite everyone to embark on this adventure with me. With this book, I seek to motivate people to develop themselves and the world around them in any circumstance. In my case, challenging injustices has become an important driver for the foundation and development of the application.
How has the journey of inDrive been in Nepal so far?
inDrive arrived in Nepal in the second quarter of 2022, and since then, thousands of drivers have started using inDrive on a daily basis to make money. We are providing services on a non-monetised basis to users in Nepal to test the market. We have received very positive feedback, which shows the acceptance of our application and the need for such a service among users in Nepal. In terms of the industry outlook, the ride-hailing market in Nepal is growing due to factors such as urbanisation, population growth, and changing consumer preferences. The company places strong emphasis on safety, including inDrive's standard safety features like the SOS button and route sharing. As part of our safety efforts, we actively take action against fraudsters. The implementation of the SHIELD anti-fraud system in January significantly helped us combat fraud.
Nepali customers typically face two major challenges when using inDrive: the lack of insurance policy for riders and customers, and inaccurate mapping. What are you doing to resolve them?
We are providing services on a non-monetised basis to test the market. We are continuously working on addressing these challenges to ensure our application fits the requirements of the Nepali market. Whenever any issue is escalated, we dedicate ourselves to resolving it to ensure 100% customer satisfaction by providing an application that best suits their needs.
As an IT company offering mobility services, it's essential to emphasise that we are not a taxi company and we do not employ the drivers on the platform. Instead, our drivers are valued customers and independent service providers who directly engage with other users on our platform, offering mobility services to those in need. Our focus is on creating a secure and user-friendly environment for all participants. Safety is paramount, and we actively encourage feedback to maintain the highest standards of passenger safety throughout their journeys. Our users operate as independent entities while adhering to traffic rules and local driving regulations, ensuring responsible and professional service. We maintain a zero-tolerance policy towards any user who violates the law or behaves offensively in a manner that may hurt public sentiment or pose any form of danger to other users.
inDrive partners with the world's leading map service providers, covering the territory of Nepal. Every ride request submitted by the passenger to the driver is processed on the inDrive platform, connected to various map suppliers, and returns full-fledged map layers to the user's screen. This is how inDrive provides timely and accurate ride-hailing service, ensuring the best experience for users in Kathmandu and other cities across Nepal.
Why did you choose Nepal to expand your service?
Nepal is an exciting market, and we entered it to support local communities, connect drivers and passengers for affordable and convenient mobility solutions. Nepal, home to Mount Everest and other stunning landscapes, is not only a tourism hotspot but also has a demand and supply from citizens who require services like ours for easy and flexible commuting. We see a great opportunity for our business to thrive in Nepal.
What is inDrive’s goal for this year?
Our main objectives are to expand our business into new countries and grow in the markets where we currently operate. We plan to launch new verticals, including freight, courier delivery, and others, to offer more equitable services. Alongside this, we prioritise enhancing customer experience and ensuring safety for all users. We continue our journey of empowering communities through our inVision programs, supporting access to education, arts, sports, and science. To uphold our commitment to safety, we have introduced the Safety Pact - an initiative empowering users with dedicated features, tips, and a code of conduct for drivers and passengers. We promote mutual respect and have a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination. By pursuing expansion, growth, customer satisfaction, and safety, we are well-positioned to continue delivering great results and making a positive impact in the communities we serve.