Locus, a machine learning startup focussed on simplifying logistics solution has raised undisclosed amount of funds from growX ventures and Manish Singhal. The investment round also saw participation from industry veterans like Bhupen Shah, Sanjay Mehta and Ankit Pruthi.
Locus is banking big on the “Uber for X” business model and is helping the other logistics player build the same and enhance the end-customer experience. The company helps traditional logistics businesses with service like hyper-local delivery, intra and inter city logistics and helps them gain a technological edge over the others.
The company was into stealth mode uptil now and was launched just a month ago. Within this small span of time, it has already got over 10 paying customers, including one in London.
Locus was founded by BITS Pilani and IIT graduates Nishith Rastogi and Geet Garg. Before starting up with Locus they both were working with Amazon in machine learning technology. Machine learning technology is a subset of computer science and is involved with the study of pattern recognition and computational theory in artificial intelligence.
Logistics has always been achilles heels when it comes to Uber for X startups and the full stack solution from Locus seems to be the best way forward as it automates the entire delivary process and also takes care of the deviations.
Locus has also created a consumer safety app christened, RideSafe which is powered by their Realtime Route Deviation Detection (R2D2) engine. The algorithm aids the users safety by mapping the route automatically by taking into consideration set of acceptable routes, traffic and other factors.
We caught up with Nishith Rastogi, founder of Locus to know more about Locus, the sudden rise of startups in the logistics space and the way forward.
Inc42: What was your thought process during the inception of Locus?
Nishith Rastogi: Scheduling, Tracking & Managing a on-field fleet, was a common problem being faced by several startups in the on-demand and hyperlocal industry. The tooling & automation that existed here was primitive. With Locus, we deliver end to end automation from point of dispatch till the order reaches the end customer, with an unparalleled end-user experience, with intelligent events & live tracking.
Inc42: Machine learning has been around for a while and as an Engineer how would you peg the relevance of the same in the current business scenario?
Nishith Rastogi: Till recently ML was an esoteric science, today it is a pragmatic tool to enhance everyday user experiences & provide production quality automation. In 2015, the amount of storage, computing & RAM available per dollar, is affordable enough for large sets of data to be easily collected & quickly manipulated, making ML more relevant today than before.
Inc42: What are your learnings of the sudden boom in the intra city logistics space?
Nishith Rastogi: Your mobile phone is now a genie, where at a press of button you can have food delivered or your laundry picked up. It is beautiful, with increasing penetration of smartphones & electronic payments, I see this as very high growth space. This is a phenomenon not limited to Tier-1 city, we have a client in a Tier-3 city doing over a hundred orders a day. Now the on-demand & hyper-local companies need to equip themselves with the right tooling to scale beyond their initial growth & optimize for economies of scale.
Inc42: As a company, how would Locus plan on utilizing the funds?
Nishith Rastogi: Most of our sales efforts are in-bound, so we have very little spend on marketing & sales activities. A major portion of the funds will be utilized to expand the team, with the focus on developing a quality engineering & data science infrastructure.
Inc42: How customizable are your solutions or is it more of a one plan fits all?
Nishith Rastogi: The solutions are extremely open & customizable. You have the option to either directly use our end apps & dashboard, or include our SDKs in your delivery apps, and we provide simple RESTful APIs for all operations. So each client can customize the use case as per their requirement, and makes integration a breeze.
For Sheetal Bahl of growX ventures, the unique proposition that he found in Locus is the super smart, in the basic, raw intelligence kind of way, and yet surprisingly business savvy. “We took this bet on the team even before they had a business model – something we rarely do,” he added.