India’s trucking system has a major inefficiency problem that continues to drag down the economy. BlackBuck, one of a handful of logistics startups trying to overhaul the system, has achieved unicorn status after securing new funding.
Tribe Capital, IFC Emerging Asia Fund and VEF led a $67 million Series E financing round in the six-year-old startup, valued at $1.02 billion (up from about $850 million in the 2019 Series D round), said Rajesh Yabaji, chief executive of BlackBuck. Was more. ClearTips in an interview earlier this week. Blackbuck is the 16th Indian startup to become a unicorn this year.
BlackBuck connects businesses with truck owners and freight operators. It has developed a simplified app for truck drivers in India, who are generally not very literate, to help them accept work and navigate easily to their destination using Google Maps. On the customer side, businesses can activate a similar app to place orders.
Today there are around 700,000 trucks and 1.2 million trucks in India connected to the platform, which sees over 1.5 million transactions every month. “India’s truckers didn’t go truly digital until 2019. Since then, supply activity has increased 20 times,” Yabaji said.
During this period, BlackBuck has also changed significantly. The platform has moved away from relying on call centers for booking orders to app-based systems. Today, Yabaji said the startup has reduced its reliance on brokers, who help connect them with truckers in smaller areas as more truckers and fleet owners now have smartphones and book direct.
“On the supply side, the platform was built in such a way that it was agnostic about who was ordering. Anyone who has access to the capacity at a particular location and at a particular time has access to the load. The principal But, we were fine with it from day one,” he explained. “As we speak today, 95% of load acceptance is by small fleet owners who have two to three trucks.”
One of BlackBuck’s biggest successes in recent years has been its increase in FASTag acceptance. (FASTag is an electronic toll collection system in India for making toll payments directly from a prepaid or savings account or directly to the toll owner.) Yabaji said that today 35% of India’s trucking toll spending is through Blackbuck. “We are a leader in this category and have created many unique solutions for Indian truck drivers,” he added.
“India’s supply chain and logistics industry is moving from paper and pencil to digital,” said Arjun Sethi, cofounder and partner, Tribe Capital, in a statement. “BlackBuck’s ability to scale production and productivity growth has streamlined logistical challenges for the industry in a short time frame. Its continued high velocity growth promises to bring even more changes to the Indian trucking ecosystem. (On a side note, Tribe Capital is in talks for at least two more Indian startups, according to people with knowledge of the matter.)
This is a developing story. More to follow…