Mumbai-headquartered Indian logistics start-up Smart Express has raised a seed round worth INR 100 Cr led by IIFL India Private Equity Fund and Smiti Holding & Trading Company (Jalaj Dani family office). Promoter and founder of Smart Express Yogesh Dhingra along with other co-founders have also participated in this round. Investment is expected to happen in two tranches over the next 2 years.
Smart Express will utilise the fund for team building and creating pick-up and delivery and transit hub infrastructure. Funds will be further used in technology infrastructure to support operations. Smart Express is expected to start its operations during the festive season this year in 30 cities.
Founded in 2018, by former CFO, COO, and CSO of Blue Dart – Yogesh Dhingra, the startup helps its institutional clients with logistical support through its services like AirLite Express, AirSecure Express, AirPackage Express Premium, AirPackage Express Economy, Ground Package Express Saver, E-Tail Express Forward, and E-Tail Express Reverse.
Dhingra said that new-age technology will help them to provide 360 visibility, faster transit time and better customer experience. “To make a difference in the market, we are also creating a future ready team that has a combination of industry experience, passion and energy,” he added. Smart Express also plans to build over 300 centres across India, which will include its own pick-up and delivery service centres, transit hubs, and alliance partners.
Smart Express intends to build business across segments including B2B, B2C, D2C, C2C, and hyper-local delivery over a period. The startup leveraging the air support, will provide AM/PM deliveries based on customer requirement. Customers who are unable to afford air services will be provided with services with 48/72/96 hours deliveries.
Vikrant Sibal, senior executive vice president, IIFL AMC said, “India’s logistics space is vibrant and dynamic. In the current pandemic scenario, the importance of the sector has grown manifold. We are happy to embark on this exciting journey with the vastly experienced Smart Express Team.”
India’s logistics market after the first wave of COVID19 fused with months of stringent lockdowns saw a rise in demand. Rise in demand for home delivery services to avoid physical contact has only propelled the growth of logistics companies. The market for delivering essential products such as ration, medicine and other products expanded at a rate forcing several startups to pivot their operations to offer hyper local delivery services. As per a Technavio report, India’s third-party logistics is expected to grow by $10.74 Bn progressing at a CAGR of almost 8% during 2021-2025 A ReportLinker’s report states that manufacturing sector in India, which will contribute 25%-30% of the country’s GDP by 2025 will drive the warehousing segment of India. Booming of the ecommerce market is expected to spur the growth of logistics services.
Apart from major logistics players operating in the country such as DHL and Bluedart, India already has seen the emergence of two indigenious logistics startups — Delhivery and BlackBuck that have achieved the unicorn status. Delhivery is also expected to go for IPO in the months to come.