Brainchild of IIT and IIM graduates; Niraj Taksande, Raghavendra Bhushan Karn and Jigar Vora, Express Bike Works is a ‘first-of-its-kind’ concept in India, which has created a disruption in the two wheeler service industry.
Express Bike Works is an automated bike wash machine, which is the fastest in the world and washes a bike in 2 mins (doesn’t happen anywhere in the world,) and has a record of washing over 230 bikes in under 10 hours. This machine is made in India… designed, developed and manufactured by three passionate bikers, who realized the value of time and service, which was lacking in the bike servicing industry in India.
I got a chance to interact with Niraj Taksande, Co-Founder of EBW to get more insights about their venture!
SV: Could you please throw some light on your company and how your educational background has supported it to reach to the level it has?
NT: Express Bike Works believes in giving bikers an exceptional bike care experience, which is not prevalent in the conventional two-wheeler service industry. Conventionally, when the bike is sent to a local garage for washing and servicing, they would keep the bike there for the day and pick up only by evening. While at EBW we want bikers to come, get the job done and leave without wasting their time. And, we have been successful in creating the fastest bike wash machine in the world.
The machine is capable of washing even the dirtiest of motorcycle within 2-5 minutes. We have met the record of washing over 230 bikes in less than 10 hours with our machine at one of the largest motorcycle OEM’s service centre.
Since I am mechanical engineer and a management graduate with keen interest in corporate strategy, my focus has been on adding dimension to the business through smart decisions and technological breakthrough. Jigar and Bhushan have been best buddies and with our IIT and IIM background along with passion to ride bikes, we came up with India’s first and fastest automatic motorcycle wash machine in 2013.
SV: Starting your own venture at an early age like you did…. was that always the vision or an opportunity on which you capitalized?
NT: Among the three of us, one thing that bonded us together was the love for bikes and going for long bike rides. We faced similar issues when it came to servicing and our discussions would be around the possible changes that could be made in the industry. So, we thought of creating this machine, which would be a breakthrough in the bike wash industry, benefitting both the rider and the society.
SV: Do share the story behind the conceptualization of your startup and its work ethics. It does seem like a very different idea for today’s world!
NT: We have spent a lot of our time riding bikes and wasting our time getting them cleaned. A roadside bike wash centre would take almost an hour and the unprofessional user experience started becoming a pain point for us. Parking these issues in our heads, we started conceptualizing a solution that we wanted to be leagues ahead. And so was born the concept of Express Bike Works. And yes we are different in lot many ways.
- We take only 2-5 minutes to wash and service the bike – do not keep our customers waiting whereas local garages take more than half a day to do the same job.
- Strong IT backend – With intelligent systems like cloud based billing and remote access of the machine & system, the stores are self-reliant.
- We use 10 litres of water per bike wash and recycle it whereas, conventional bike wash requires 50-60 litres of water which gets wasted.
- The quality of service delivered remains consistent throughout the day compared to a manual wash which degrade as the day advances.
- We offer a health conducive and easy work environment to our employees at the station whereas men working at the local garages go through a lot of physical labour to do the same job
- We use cloud based technology for central management which sets us apart from the rest in the business
SV: What kind of role, as per you, direct consumers play in making sure that a business plan becomes successful?
NT: In today’s world, time is the only currency which is crucial for all of us. And consumers who understand this are the ones who give significant importance to the time taken for the delivery of a product or service along with value for money that it has to offer.
So, typically if we are offering a service in 2-5 minutes time, which would generally take half a day to deliver through conventional methods, then such satisfied consumers will definitely make our business plan successful.
SV: What has been the best memory so far from the entrepreneurial journey?
NT: The most vivid of our memories is from one of the most turbulent times during our initial days. The concept being new, market testing was giving us a nightmare. Through the long waiting hours outside an OEM’s service center to pitch our idea, our perseverance was brutally tested. Through months of free trials and product iterations, we worked with conviction and are able to see this day. Our conviction and perseverance for Express Bike Works come from those times.
SV: What would you refer to as your source of inspiration that keeps you moving ahead in life?
NT: I believe that If Akio Morita, along with a handful of engineers working in a war devastated building can create Sony, then nothing should stop us from creating and contributing towards technology & service.
Success stories of such people who have been pioneers in technology and because of whom brands have a legacy along with worldwide acceptance and recognition inspire us to keep moving ahead in life.
SV: What are the tips you would give to budding entrepreneurs to be able to succeed in Indian startup ecosystem?
NT: Stay focused and be patient. The startup ecosystem is India is still in the growth stage and hence, in the initial stages a budding entrepreneur might have to face a lot of challenges. Sometimes getting the required permissions, approvals, licenses and patents itself can also be a testing activity. Having said that, it is very crucial, that one does not lose hope and give up on the vision easily.
SV: What were (are) the challenges faced by you during your entrepreneurial journey?
NT: As the machine is completely designed and developed in-house, the initial challenge was to provide perfection to our core product followed by streamlining SOPs of the services on offer. This took much of our time and effort. Challenges we are currently working on is to induce a behavioural change in our customers as far as service cycle is concerned. Indian motorcyclists, at large, tend to postpone critical care for their ride which ultimately puts to risk life and property.
SV: What do you think is the next big step for your brand?
NT: We are on an expansion mode and are spreading within India and have launched 16 outlets since inception for Express Bike Works. We are also expanding in international markets. With our association with IOCL, BPCL & HPCL, we have been able to reach out to the bikers who come to their petrol pumps for fuel and servicing. Our target is to have close to 100 stores by end of 2017.