Tummoc is India’s First Multi-Modal Public Transport App which helps commuters with real-time public transport information and last-mile connectivity.
In an exclusive interview with Sakshipost, Monalisha Thakur, Co-founder and CMO of Tummoc, tells Reshmi AR on how her company is trying to create a smart and cashless-commute in India while easing the hassles caused by the regular transportation options.
1) First of all, tell us about Tummoc and what it does
Tummoc is India’s only patented multi modal transit application that helps commuters with real-time public transport information, last-mile connectivity and single journey ticketing. Tummoc helps you track and find actionable & accurate bus/metro/suburban rail intra-city travel information. It helps you plan your end-to-end intra-city travel while making the most of available public transport infrastructure. Find accurate information on buses, metros, and other modes of public transport in your city.
2) What was the reason behind starting Tummoc
The core of our motivation to create Tummoc as an offering was that, while India has an extensive network of public transport, which are priced affordably as well, we still don’t see public transport as a legitimate commute option. It’s only ever chosen out of desperation, and never by choice. What motivated us further was the preference public transport gets in first world countries because of the customer-first approach making it an accessible and convenient option. We wanted to give everyone access to the widespread intricate network of public transport this country already has and make public transport a legitimate choice of intra-city commute.
3) What do you think is the greatest challenge for a commuter?
The daily average commuting time that Indian working professionals take is 29 minutes. However, the majority of the public still spend around 90 minutes every day traveling for work. If you live in cities like Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai, you can get stuck for hours during peak traffic. Then, there are other challenges such as pollution, weather and unreliable public transport systems as well.
4) What kind of feedback do you receive on a daily basis for your product
On a daily basis we receive tons of feedback through emails and reviews. Sometimes we get a bunch of constructive feedback which is helping us in improving our user experience for Tummoc. Since the time we have launched the BMTC bus pass, we are delighted to see daily commuters positive remarks as to how happy they are since they don't have to stand in the queue anymore. Feedbacks are always full of suggestions which the team is working on to implement in future. Few times they face minor technical issues due to network issues which they inform us about and we make sure they are rectified.
5) How has the company helped ease commuter woes?
We strive to make public transport commutes seamless across the country, and eventually across the globe. Currently, we’re doing this solely for the common man, the people who use public transport every day by providing accurate information, online tickets and passes, live tracking as well as first and last-mile connectivity. We want to make their lives easier and hassle free.
6) How do you wish to add value to your product
Our goal is to do this not just for the sake of commuters, but also for the environment. Public transport is significantly more planet-friendly and reduces carbon emissions by a lot.
7) How has the Hyderabad market been for you?
Hyderabad has been good so far, there has been a 10% growth in user base since the launch of the app. The total number of commuters are more than 65000+ out of which 54424 are men and 8750 are women. The number of trips planned are more than 4510.
8) Does being a woman professional at the top seem challenging?
Of course, being a senior woman executive came with its challenges. I believe my internships and my training experiences have helped me a lot. I worked with HCL in a high-pressure sales environment, I learned everything from scratch. My seniors always made sure that as a woman I was given equal opportunities as my fellow male co-workers. All these things have helped me grow. I have learnt a lot from all of them. So yes, challenges are part of everyone’s life. I really do not need to point out each of them separately, every woman executive faces different challenges at different organizations. Those challenges have only led me where I am today.
9) From food engineering to Tummoc, how did you find a connection?
I have always been a public transport user. I still don't own a car. Before becoming an engineer, I commuted to work daily by taking public transportation. This was the driving force behind my decision. As a female commuter, I can relate to the difficulties of the job. Instead of sulking in self-pity, the goal is to find a solution. Tummoc has nothing to do with food engineering. I am an engineer by heart but first I am a citizen of my country where more than 80% people are dependent on Public transport. Hence we are just trying to be a part of the solution by creating such a product.
10) How much of the learnings in your MBA have you been able to apply to your business?
I did my MBA in 2009-2011 in marketing as my majors & operations as minors. The dynamics of marketing have changed from what I have studied and what is happening currently. Human behavior keeps evolving. Though one of my prof. for branding and marketing who has been my mentor and has created an impact with whom I have learned a lot and yes somewhere I was able to apply in approaching problems and coming up with a solution. I keep educating myself even now to keep up with the current trends. MBA has been a part but since so many things have evolved it's better to keep adapting new trends and I try to apply the same in business.
11) Creating employment opportunities for last-mile partners. How does this happen?
For last mile connectivity we have collaborated with Rapido. Rapido onboarded with us in October last year. We have not contributed to direct last mile employment. Earlier we had started with bykerr as a first & last mile connectivity partners but eventually we upgraded ourselves as a multi modal public transport app. An app which connects commuters from the first mile, mid mile and last mile. Hence this question is little irrelevant to what we do now but I would like to say that we are indirectly contributing to last-mile employment opportunities as we have collaborated with Rapido.
12) Being a working professional, how do you strike a work-life balance?
Work life balance is a myth. Instead of that I believe in going with the flow. and being present in the moment and whenever given the opportunity, enjoy that time whether it's related to work or not.
It reminds me of an incident when my daughter was born,where everyone, including the doctors used to advise me to try to get some sleep when you get time.But when a kid is born things change and no matter how much I tried I still couldn't sleep as it's practically impossible. The more I tried to follow the suggestions,the more it failed,the more frustrated I became.
That is when I realized that work life balance is a myth. Let's not fool ourselves. Let's create our own rules and abide by them. Anyways, that's something I did all my life .
This realization of going with the flow helped me as an entrepreneur, where whatever is happening in my present moment I try to live life as it comes.