redBus, also known as redBus.in, is an online travel agency offering bus tickets in India.
All the founders of redBus used to work in Bangalore at the time (sometime in 2005) – all with top IT MNCs – IBM, Texas Instruments and Honeywell. They were friends from BITS Pilani. It all started when the co-founder & the CEO of redBus, Phanindra Sama could not meet his family on a festival. Before starting redBus, Phanindra Sama was working for Texas Instruments, Bangalore. he was a Sr. Design Engineer there. As a child he was always fascinated with electronics – the way electrons flow in a wire and make a fan rotate etc., were very interesting to him. After studying electronics Engineering from BITS-Pilani, he was happily settled with electronics job at Texas Instruments.
During Diwali of 2005, he wanted to spend the festival in his home town, Hyderabad. Since he didn’t know his schedule till the end, taking a bus was the only option. He ran around town hunting for a ticket, but they were all sold out before he reached the travel agents. He realized some key issues with the then-existing model:
# Travel agents don’t have all the information regarding all the possible bus operators. This lead to a gap and customers had to take decisions based on limited information.
# Most of the agents were not able to sell return bus tickets.
That’s when they thought of the possibility of solving these issues by putting together information on a platform where customers could access it easily and take better decisions. The internet was the best medium to deliver all this information and make possible e-commerce to purchase return bus tickets.
That’s when he thought of the possibility of providing consumers the convenience of booking a bus ticket over the internet. The objective was two-fold – to ensure that they don’t have to leave the confines of their comfort to book a ticket, and to help them get a ticket when they need it the most. So, with these thoughts running through his mind, he bounced initial thoughts off his friends from college. They were excited about the concept too.
Sudhakar, Charan and Phanindra studied together at BITS-Pilani. In Bangalore, they were sharing an apartment. Before starting redBus, Charan was working for Honeywell and Sudhakar was working for IBM. Sudhakar had some technology patents on his name too. In the year 2006, finding a new job was not that difficult. Especially for people with experience. That was one of the strong confidence boosters for them. They thought if they didn’t do then, maybe they would have to wait for many years to try their hands on entrepreneurship.
They met with various people – bus operators, consumers and venture capitalists – to gauge how well the concept could do. They got a favorable response. They started writing the code for the software that would be required to run the operations. Once this was ready, they put together a business plan and presented it to TiE, Bangalore Chapter. redBus.in was selected by TiE one month before they launched their service. This was the beginning of redBus.
Today, redBus.in is a leading Indian online bus tickets booking sevice. Its major competitors are paytm and travelyaari in online bus ticket-booking service field. In June 2013, Ibibo Group acquired redBus.in. Ibibo Group’s holding company MIH Ltd is owned by South Africa’s media house Naspers and China’s Tencent.