According to Novonous market research, road freight is the largest transportation segment in India, constituting around 63% of the total freight movement. The sector is currently valued at $140 Bn. Inter-city logistics accounts for a massive 95% of road freight movement and by 2020, freight transport market in India is expected to be worth $307.70 Bn.
Bengaluru-based BlackBuck is a company which is continuously striving hard to grab a large chunk of this opportunity. An online marketplace for logistics transactions, BlackBuck’s founding team includes Rajesh Yabaji, Chanakya Hridaya and Rama Subramaniam. The platform helps customers move truckloads between cities. It falls in the category of companies operating in full truckload (FTL) freight transportation.
The startup brings truckers and customers on a single platform to execute transactions using intelligent auction engines equipped with smart mobile interfaces. Its technology helps in managing logistics in the most effective manner.
Blackbuck’s clients include both corporates and small businesses. Companies like Unilever, Coke, ITC, Pepsi, Britannia, Godrej, Marico and Jyothy Laboratories, besides firms like Asian Paints and EID Parry are some of its clients. It currently claims to have over 1,00,000 trucks on its platform, present across 300 locations in the country
Owing to its excellent growth, the company has been the apple of investor’s eye, since launching in April 2015.
After raising around $30 Mn in 2015, BlackBuck has recently raised $70 Mn (INR 476 Cr) in Series C round of funding led by Sands Capital. Existing investors such as Accel Partners, Tiger Global, Apoletto and Flipkart also participated in this round.
As per Anand Daniel, Partner, Accel, “There is a tremendous opportunity in the intercity FTL segment for a technology player given that the industry is very fragmented and technologically less penetrated. BlackBuck is uniquely positioned to leverage this opportunity because of its primary focus on technology and data analytics. BlackBuck is able to deliver strong value proposition for both customers and truckers by deploying the marketplace model and a differentiated technology platform.”
Also, Binny Bansal, Flipkart believes that BlackBuck has made solid headway in making India’s highly unorganised trucking industry more efficient through technology. “Its tech innovations have helped several industries, from manufacturing to FMCG to e-commerce, realise seamless road transportation of goods,” he added.
The raised funds will be utilised to bolster product development and scale operations.
Earlier in January 2017, the company announced its plans to raise an equity investment of $10 Mn from International finance Corporation (IFC). Also, in February 2017, LiveMint reported that BlackBuck has received a commitment of $30 Mn for Series C round of funding from both new and existing investors.
As Rajesh said, “At BlackBuck we are building products which will run logistics for the country in the near future. It is magical to see the infusion of technology in such an unorganised and fragmented field like logistics. Over the past couple of years, our understanding of freight dynamics has helped us create defensible frontiers in this industry. The journey going ahead is to fuel this revolution and enable the entire transportation ecosystem to converge towards it. This round of fund raise will help us invest much more aggressively in products & technology.”
Other prominent players in freight logistics space are Rivigo, Locus, Locanix, Elastic Run, etc.
In March 2017, Gurugram-based logistics platform, Rivigo raised about $15 Mn (INR 100 Cr) debt finance from undisclosed lending private sector banks. Rivigo reportedly has a fleet of 2,000 trucks and a pan-India network across 150 cities. Its customer base includes players across industries such as apparel and lifestyle, auto components, pharmaceuticals, ecommerce, electronics, consumer goods, engineering machinery, books and publications etc. In November 2016, Rivigo raised $75 Mn from an affiliate of Warburg Pincus, one of the biggest funding rounds raised by an Indian logistics startup.
Kalaari Capital and Norwest Venture Partners invested $2 Mn (INR 13.7 Cr) in ElasticRun in November 2016. It claims to be working with a Fortune 500 ecommerce company for its last mile services. It is reportedly also working with a Fortune 500 Pharma company for national distribution.