I was introduced to self drive cars concept in USA. Was happy to see India too has this concept thanks to the startup Myles. What interests me the most about this startup is the founder, Sakshi Vij. When India was still grappling with the question of women security, one woman was quietly working towards a solution that’d put the raging debate to rest. Meet Ms. Sakshi Vij, Founder & CEO of Myles, India’s first self-drive service that allows women to take charge of the wheel and hit the road without owning a car.
About Sakshi Vij, Founder & CEO of Myles
Sakshi can be credited with introducing this novel concept in India when renting and driving a car was a rare feat. Her in-depth knowledge of the industry was her strength as she conceived the brand and took it upon herself to see it rise to great heights – Myles has grown its car fleet from just 14 cars to over 1,200 today. Its cars are also present at 250 locations across 21 Indian cities. The brand is now the fastest growing self-drive mobility brand in the category thanks to her vision and consistent efforts.
After finishing her education, she kick started her professional journey with FiNoble Advisors, working actively in the field of new business opportunities. She harnessed these insights when she joined Myles’ parent company, CIPL, in 2007 as a part of the marketing team. Her skills and expertise in the field of strategy, performance improvement, change management, organisation building and human capital management played a key role in her rising from strength to strength from the Head of Marketing (2009-10) to becoming the Executive Director (2013). She fulfilled the responsibilities in each of these roles by not only establishing new businesses but also tapping unexplored markets. After a rewarding tenure, propelling CIPL’s many brands, she founded Myles in 2013. She hasn’t looked back since. Below is the interaction we had with her over email.
Is the name Myles derived from the word “Miles”?
Yes, moreover, it is the combination of ‘miles’ and “my” own car – Myles.
What was your eureka moment for Myles?
We saw a huge opportunity in the transportation industry. This opportunity was much larger than the opportunity in the Taxi industry that was being disrupted by multiple players across the world. This was an opportunity to disrupt the personal car ownership market. According to the Cars Online survey conducted by Capgemini in 2014 across 10000 respondents around the globe, it was observed that 59% Indians looking to buy a car were open to the idea of an alternative mode of ownership. This was primarily because of the need of greater Flexibility, convenience and lower financial burden. The average usage of a car in a year is less than 150 days. Over 200 days a year a personal car sits in your garage depreciating in value and appreciating in cost owing to the maintenance and parking requirements. With this understanding, Myles was born. Read more CEO Interviews.
Is your experience with previous employers helping you drive this company?
Certainly. My professional engagements have been in the area of business management, economics and marketing. , I kick started my career with FiNoble Advisors, working actively in the field of new business opportunities, I harnessed these insights when I joined Myles’ parent company, CIPL, in 2007 as a part of the marketing team.
My skills and expertise in the field of strategy, performance improvement, change management, organization building and human capital management played a key role in rising from strength to strength from the Head of Marketing (2009-10) to becoming the Executive Director (2013). After a rewarding tenure, propelling CIPL’s many brands, I founded Myles in 2013.
Self-drive car businesses are already present in the west (Like Enterprise in the USA), did they give you an idea to start Myles?
I have always been a keen supporter of the Shared economy. Having been a part of the transportation space for a while, I was always concerned with the huge burden of congestion that personal cars were adding to Indian cities. We saw a huge opportunity in the transportation industry. This opportunity was much larger than the opportunity in the Taxi industry that was being disrupted by multiple players across the world. This was an opportunity to disrupt the personal car ownership market.
We launched Myles in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru with just 14 cars, we have expanded our fleet to 1500+ cars with 38 car models in 21 cities with 250+ locations, ranging from an e2o to a Mercedes E class.
How different is Myles from competitors like Zoomcar, Revv etc?
Myles is trying to develop an Alternate Ecosystem to Car Ownership.
We are providing an option for individuals to be able to pay for a car only for the duration for which they use it. So you could buy a car for as little as 2 hours or as long as 3 months. Additionally, we know that owning a car means a commitment to a single vehicle for at least a 3 years period in your city of residence. We provide over 39 models of cars across 21 cities in India. So as a consumer, there is flexibility to drive a Mercedes for date night, a Fortuner for a Roadtrip and a Maruti Swift for the everyday trips. Services such as GPS Systems, Child Seats and Home Delivery of a car ensure that the system is extremely convenient for the consumer.
How fast has been the growth of the company since its inception? How have you mentored this growth over the past 3 years?
70% of our growth every month comes from new users. We are today a community of over 1.5 lakh Mylers. We grow at about 30% Month on Month.
Who is your role model?
My father is the reason I chose to be an entrepreneur. I was fortunate enough to be mentored by him. He started Net2Travel in early 2000, which was later acquired by NewsCorp. He later started Carzonrent, which is today the largest B2B Car rental provider in India. Carzonrent is also the parent company of Myles.
Advice for budding women entrepreneurs?
1. Take as much time building the Idea. There is no such thing as too much preparation.
2. Prepare to be Surprised/Shocked. There is no such thing as fully prepared.
The above statements, while contradictory, are how I explain the journey of an entrepreneur.
What are your future plans for Myles?
Tier-1 cities like Delhi-NCR, Bangalore, Bombay and Chennai have shown remarkable growth in the recent years. The positive response has encouraged us to expand the operations to smaller cities and new markets.
In the next 4 years we would like to bring together a fleet of 50000 cars in 50 cities spread across over 5000 locations. We want to provide a Myles car every 400 meters in a city. We are currently a community of 150,000 Mylers, we hope to get around 5 million members in the next five years. Read more on Women Entrepreneurs.