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5-point someone

Singapore bowled Neeraj Gupta by the seamless functioning of a 24,446-vehicle round-the-clock, on-call taxi service.

india Updated: Jul 06, 2008 23:28 IST

Got the idea from:
Singapore, where he was bowled over by the seamless functioning of a 24,446-vehicle round-the-clock, on-call taxi service.

Starting doubts:
The government had stopped issuing fresh permits to drivers in 1997. The company had to convince the existing black and yellow drivers to join them.

Money problems:
Gupta was lucky because he got an initial investment of Rs 10 crore from India Value Fund, a private equity firm. Also, he had a back-up plan if his cab service failed. He would have just ploughed the new vehicles into his existing business, V Links, a private fleet service.

Other obstacles:
Gupta has not yet broken even. That's because the company spends almost Rs 8,000 on each driver. This covers renewing licences, maintaining vehicles and training. But he is still aiming to expand to a fleet of 5,000 nationally by December.

Outstanding personal qualities:
Risktaking: Each of Gupta's venture's has involved taking serious risks. Having started with an 18-seater bus for his private fleet service in 1999, Gupta started the Meru taxi service. Meticulousness: Research that the company carried out before starting Meru Cabs revealed that poor driver behaviour was one of the customer's chief complaints.

Gupta's eye for detail ensured that he chose the right recruits and then put them through a five-day training programme. Relentless innovation: Gupta believes in coming up with one new idea every day. He brought down to India from Australia a mobile communication device system for his 1,600 vehicles at a cost of Rs 10 crore.