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Rediff.com  » Getahead » They quit jobs at Google, Apple to build the Uber for ambulances

They quit jobs at Google, Apple to build the Uber for ambulances

Last updated on: January 16, 2017 14:05 IST

Ambee, an Ambulance-hailing app, is set for commercial rollout. Sharath Chowdary profiles the Uber-backed firm that aims to bring online 50% of ambulances across 60 Indian cities over 5 years.

HLAmbee

IMAGE: Ambee founders Jaimon Jose, right, and Rohit Kumar, left, with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Kalanick committed to investing $50,000 in Ambee, after the latter won in Uber Pitch. Photograph: Nirmala Sitharaman/Twitter.com.


In a city where the emergency medical service (108) is available free of cost, two MNC employees have decided to start Ambee, a commercial ambulance-hailing service. The Hyderabad-based start-up is aiming to bring online half the ambulances across 60 Indian cities over the next five years.

Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick had recently committed to investing $50,000 in Ambee, after the latter won in Uber Pitch, a country-wide competition held on December 22, 2016, along with two other start-ups.

In March 2016, Jaimon Jose had left his job as site lead at Google Maps and founded his own venture 1st Consult Technologies to start Ambee.

Six months later, Rohit Kumar, who was an engineering project manager at Apple, had resigned from this role to join Ambee as a co-founder and COO. The existing gaps in the emergency services in the country have made them develop an ambulance aggregator.

The 108-emergency services are currently operational in 20 states, but there are over 6 million deaths in a year due to delay in emergency medical services. According to the Indian Medical Association (IMA), the country's medical emergency services should ideally be in a position to cover a five-minute emergency time.

Ambee founders observed that private hospitals are keen to serve the patients but cannot discover emergencies. Though there are many ambulances in a city, people cannot track the availability of the nearest vehicle, the way they find a cab in most of the cities. In such a situation, Jaimon Jose said he lost his colleague and this incident triggered him to create an open platform accessible to public, healthcare providers and private ambulances.

Ambulance

IMAGE: The revenue model of the company is based on commission on the fare. It charges 10-20 per cent commission on cost of the rides ranging from Rs 500-2,000, which depends on the distance covered, type of ambulance and its facilities. Photograph: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters.


Jose said that the final version of Ambee app will be ready to use by the end of this month. The users of the mobile app can track the ambulance in the nearby location and its exact position where it has reached. The company will soon launch its commercial operations in Hyderabad and plans to spread across all metro cities of the country.

The 10-month old startup had more than 30 ambulances on their technology platform and tied up with 11 major hospitals in Hyderabad to access their ambulances as well. In the last three months, it is piloting the operation with two hospital chains in Bengaluru. It also plans to enter New Delhi by the end of this year. 

The revenue model of the company is based on commission on the fare. It charges 10-20 per cent commission on cost of the rides ranging from Rs 500-2,000, which depends on the distance covered, type of ambulance and its facilities.

The start-up had earlier raised $200,000 through angel investors from the US and Middle East. It plans to raise another $500,000 to $1 million to invest in the technology and roll out the services in the metro cities of the country during the next one year, according to Jose.

Sharath Chowdary Hyderabad
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