DriveU: Driving a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Ashok Shastry,Co-Founder & COO

Ashok Shastry

Co-Founder & COO

It’s a pretty hectic day at DriveU. The Ops team is tirelessly working in sync with the drivers and are ensuring that they are on time. The Customer Success team is speaking with customers to ensure their needs are addressed promptly. The marketing team is closely analysing customer habits and accordingly come up with ways to tailor the offering and at the same time entice new customers to use DriveU service. The Tech team on the other hand is valiantly building new features into the products to optimize the system, which continuously strives to match drivers to customers and at the same time eliminate the redundancy in the current processes. In fact, today, 90 percent of DriveU’s booking dispatches are completely automated. And very few times there is any requirement of human intervention. This is a sublime scene witnessed on an everyday basis at the DriveU’s head office, located in Koramangala, Bangalore.

Heavily investing in technology, the DriveU’s customer application is just one facet of the puzzle. Internally, they use several tools and applications that are specifically designed & integrated to manage drivers, employee, workflow and B2B clients among others, where the senior management can keep an easy track on the overall efficiencies, alongside harnessing the element of transparency throughout the system. All changes to product or process must be data-driven to get approved by the senior management team.

More than anything, team DriveU believes in “Kaizen”, a Japanese phrase for continuous improvement -- by implementing incremental steps to improve upon things, where they optimize systems & operations and introduce new processes. Most important of all, the team’s enthusiasm towards learning and improving align with the goals and vision of the company, which inevitably channelizes to create an innovative product that ultimately, delivers value. “You cannot build something great without failing a few times,” asserts Ashok Shastry, Co-Founder & COO, DriveU. Often, a lot of people get demoralized,if the product doesn’t work. At DriveU, it’s exactly the opposite. It’s about stepping in the right direction, where the company is creating a beautiful product that eventually changes the whole scenario for everyone.

Work is Important, But Family comes First!
At DriveU, employees come to work because they feel like they are at home. They feel like it's a family. Alongside building a great product, the employees take great responsibility towards each other,
both in personal and professional life. The company understands that the employee’s productivity is indirectly dependent on personal needs and requirements. And, DriveU ensures to provide plenty of support to improve their personal life. Also, the company offers flexible work timings, where they provide one day per week work-from-home option to all its employees, and plenty of compensation offs.

Team DriveU believes in Kaizen --implementing incremental steps to improve upon things, where it optimize the systems & operations and introduce new and innovative processes

When the company hits a milestone, they don’t hesitate to party! Recently, the entire team went to Goa, to celebrate exceeding the goals they had set for themselves. And, this is just the beginning of many more celebrations to come. Needless to say, the management walks the extra mile to ensure that their employees are happy always, where they provide meals every day, including breakfast, snacks, refreshments, lunch and even dinner.

Another fascinating aspect about the DriveU office is, it is one hundred percent dog-friendly. At any given point in time, you’ll see dogs walking up and down the halls. Also, if an employee adopts a stray dog, the employee is given ‘peternity’ leave and a keg of beer to boot! And, employees are always welcome to get their pets to the workplace, as they understand the responsibility of owning a pet. “It’s really important to fill your office work environment with positivity. And, pets are stress busters,”happily says Ashok.

He further adds “After staring at the laptop for hours, or after a tough meeting at times, you see the dogs in the room. It automatically calms you down. No matter what! And, the whole situation lightens up, thereby bringing in a positive reinforcement.”

On Friday’s, the aura is completely chill, when the entire team goes out for lunch,and there is lots of impromptu singing and musical jamming that happens at DriveU. The co-founders identify individual’s talent and encourage them to take it to the next level. “We don’t hire drones. Like, just come to the office and work every day. We are a lean team, so we hire people who are able to express themselves better and believe in the vision of the company, and how they can help improve the service overall. Most importantly, we want people to come up with some crazy ideas, we want people to question, and not be afraid to take responsibilities, and all times step-up and talk to customers about their experience. Above all, we want to keep the culture that pivots innovation at every stage of the process,” explains Ashok, is what it takes to work at DriveU.
The Journey so Far...
Founded in July 2015, the company has come a long way from where it all started. Initially, what started as a manual process of booking and dispatching of drivers, DriveU over the years has transformed into a fully automated system.“When we entered the market, there were a lot of players. So, we did a lot of research. And, we stuck to our guns and focused on building a company that incorporates quality service and customer experience, positive unit economics and margins, and strategies that would eventually attract the right customers, and ensure fair rates, so that our drivers earn well,” says Ashok.

Growing 20 percent MoM in terms of revenue, the company is currently in an expansion phase. Celebrities not only use DriveU service, but even tweet to their flock, unbeknownst to DriveU! In a short span of less than three years, DriveU brand is recognized in major metros of India for quality and service.In terms of workforce, from a 10 member team, at present DriveU has grown to over 80 members, spread across six metros, including Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Pune. And, the company provides 24/7 support to its drivers and customers. “It is not always about providing technology to connect with the customers and service providers. It is always important to optimize the overall service quality and to understand the logic behind it. And, it is always important to increase the earnings of the service provider and enhance the overall experience of the customer,” concludes, Ashok on a positive note.

DriveU - Get Your Car a Professional Driver on the Go
• The user can book Professional Drivers on minutes, hourly and monthly basis.
• Ensuring car ownership, a seamless experience, whether it is maintenance & servicing, insurance, or finding a parking space, road assistance, and more, DriveU is a one-stop for all your car needs.
• Transparency is maintained in the system, where the element of trust and quality embedded deep into the processes.
• All drivers are closely scrutinized by DriveU. They have to go through an interview session followed by a stringent background verification process, ensuring safety and security of customers and their vehicles. [They have 6000+ drivers across India]
• Once hired, DriveU provides soft skills training program to all its drivers. In case the average star-rating goes below 4.0, the driver will be questioned, assessed, and may lead to suspension or even cancellation of their contract.
• Most importantly, DriveU is very strict when it comes to behavior and driving skills of the driver. Therefore, they have a team of experienced professionals, who are specialized in both automatic and manual gears, starting from hatchbacks to sedans, SUVs, XUVs, and premium vehicles. The user can choose their car specification and drivers will be matched and deployed based on their experience.