Consulting Fellowship with Three Wheels United

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chirtradurga team


I spent the summer of 2019 in India working for Three Wheels United, a startup social enterprise offering loans to auto-rickshaw drivers for electric vehicles. This consulting project is a part of the Global Social Benefit Fellowship at Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, a competitive action research program that offers mentorship and fieldwork experiences to motivated students.

Currently operating in the Bangalore area, Three Wheels United is positioning to expand into cities across India. To aid their scaling efforts, we conducted 102 interviews with drivers, financiers, dealerships, and potential partners in four cities across India. These interviews revealed obstacles to electric vehicle ownership, improvements for the customer experience, and critical factors to consider when expanding. 


Market Evaluation Guide. This guide evaluates the feasibility of expanding into a new market based on factors found to be important from field research. Examples of these factors include local regulations, existing infrastructure, and driver demographics.


Customer Journey and Recommendations. By detailing a driver’s decision-making process, the journey map reveals improvements for the customer experience. Implementing new initiatives can increase driver loyalty and brand recognition. 


Human Resources Recommendations. This guide presents high-level recommendations for improving company communications, building leadership capacity in current employees, and developing organized management structures as the enterprise scales based on academic research and our own observational data. 


New Delhi Market Entry Strategy. Three Wheels United is preparing to expand into New Delhi, the largest city in India. This document presents pertinent market research, a customized market entry strategy, and partnership recommendations with an electric rickshaw aggregator. 


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Three Wheels United Social Impact Video

Key Findings:

  • Identify specific factors to inform each local target market. Each city has unique demographics and regulations that influence the likelihood of successful expansion. Three Wheels United needs to adapt their scaling strategy to address these differences.
  • Customize loan products to the driver’s lifestyle to increase consistent repayment. A driver’s ability to repay a loan changes due to annual expenses and unexpected events.
  • Streamline intra-company communications to build employee trust. Three Wheels United management is frequently encountering opportunities as they expand. The enterprise should update staff on new developments to improve transparency and align the team around a common mission.
  • Provide charging, parking, and maintenance to electric rickshaw drivers. Most driver homes cannot accommodate parking or charging, and drivers lack the knowledge to repair electric vehicles. Three Wheels United should ensure these services are affordable and accessible.