Th Uber Technologies Inc. car service application is demonstrated for a photograph on a smartphone in New York. (Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg)

Uber Partners With Yulu To Test Bicycle Rental Space In India

Uber Technologies Inc. has teamed with bicycle sharing platform Yulu to offer bike rentals to its customers, a first-of-its-kind partnership in the country by the ride hailing giant.

The partnership comes at a time when the San Francisco-based cab aggregator kicked off its IPO roadshow in London.

As part of the pilot, that will last for about six months, Uber users will be able to book electric scooters or bicycles free of cost, a person privy to the proposal told BloombergQuint requesting anonymity. While the Yulu app isn't integrated to the Uber platform, the ride-hailing app redirects its customers to register on the Yulu platform, the person said.

Uber has already started informing its customers about the pilot in Bengaluru.

Screenshot of the Uber message to the users. (BloombergQuint)
Screenshot of the Uber message to the users. (BloombergQuint)

Uber has been investing in scooter rental firms in the U.S. Last year, Uber acquired New York-based bike rental startup Jump for about $100 million after a two-month pilot. It had also invested in electric scooter rental company Lime as part of a $335-million funding round and had said it plans to promote Lime on its mobile application.

Bengaluru-based Yulu, launched by former InMobi Co-founder Amit Gupta, started off as a bicycle-sharing startup. Earlier this year, it also expanded to offer dockless, lithium-powered scooter called Yulu Miracle—that covers distances up to 5 km—to focus on first- and last-mile connectivity. Yulu has about 500 electric scooters and about 4,500 bicycles in Bengaluru.

The 15-month old startup has so far raised nearly $7 million in seed funding from investors, including Blume Ventures Advisors, 3One4 Capital, a Japanese family office and angel investors such as Flipkart Co-Founder Binny Bansal, InMobi Co-Founder Naveen Tewari and Mohit Saxena, Freshworks Co-Founder Girish Mathrubootham and SlideShare Co-Founder Amit Ranjan.

It isn't clear whether Uber will invest in Yulu after the pilot. It's testing waters in the micro-mobility space in India, the person said, adding that the pilot with Yulu could follow Uber-Lime partnership. BloombergQuint’s emailed queries to Uber and Yulu remained unanswered.

Uber's rival, Ola, too had made a similar bet in the past. Last December, Ola pumped in $100 million in scooter-sharing startup Vogo.