By Iona Eckstein, Accountability Lab Fellow
After living in Nepal for several weeks, it has become increasingly apparent that the best way to get around the congested city is through a ridesharing app called ‘Tootle’ – think Uber for motorbikes! The app allows you to choose your pick up and drop off location, before calculating your ride fare. A Tootle partner then selects your journey, and within minutes you are weaving through traffic jams on the back of a motorbike towards your destination.
Sixit Bhatta – the man behind the rideshare company – found a gap in the market for a transport service that was reliable, quick and accountable. Thus, he created the Tootle app, allowing the user to order a ride with a set non-negotiable price, avoiding any misunderstanding or haggling at the end of your journey.
During a training workshop at our Nepal office, accountapreneurs and staff were lucky enough to hear Bhatta tell the story of how his business grew from an idea to an indispensable form of travel.
Transportation options in the capital city of Nepal are limited to taxis, tempo rickshaws or overcrowded minibusses with passengers hanging out the door. These options can be expensive, inconvenient and crowded. Mobility is thus an issue for many people in Kathmandu, whether they are commuting to work, studying at the university or just need to get from A to B quickly. Tootle aims not only to be a profitable app, but to improve the mobility of the population. When the founder, Sixit Bhatta, came to Accountability Lab Nepal he explained why…
Simply put: “Tootle means freedom” – Freedom for women to travel safely to their destination with the ability to see the rating of their driver, select a female driver or send a tracking code or SMS to someone at their destination. Freedom for students to travel to university at an affordable price. And freedom for Tootle partners – both male and female – to earn an extra income flexibly around their other work.
Speaking about the future, Bhatta emphasized that the next step is sustainability. As Tootle enters new markets, the priority will be on reducing its environmental impact by introducing electronic vehicles.
He emphasized to the accountapreneurs, who are all at various stages of their creative journey, that they should consider not only what their business idea can do for them as individuals, but what opportunities it can bring to society as a whole.
As young civil society leaders that have been selected to take part in the Incubator training programme, Accountability Lab’s accountapreneurs are building their own sustainable businesses that value accountability, participation, and social impact. The opportunity to meet Sixit and hear about his entrepreneurial journey was a perfect example of how a business idea can become a socially impactful venture that changes the way people live.