The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ 32nd Annual State of Logistics Report has found that the United States’ business logistics costs were equivalent to 7.4% of the country’s $20.94 trillion GDP in 2020.
While these costs fell 4% from 2019 to 2020, the over-$1 trillion market has attracted a number of large investments in the space to deal with issues plaguing the market, including port congestion, lack of visibility and capacity optimization. In Q1 alone, Pitchbook found supply chain startups brought in $7.7 billion in venture funding, 355.1% year-over-year growth.
Impressive as those figures are, venture capital has found an international star that shines twice as bright as the United States with a business logistics cost equivalent to 14% of that country’s GDP.
That shining star is India.
Growing e-commerce market
An intriguing area of investment has been the growing e-commerce market in India, estimated to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 27% from 2019 to 2024, according to a report released Tuesday by the India Brand Equity Foundation.
Due to a number of factors, including the country’s increased infrastructure and literacy investments in its Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities leading to the regions’ 90% year-over-year increase in e-commerce orders, e-commerce technology solutions have been able to enter the Indian market successfully.
Announced on Tuesday, GoBOLT, a digital logistics company, closed a $20 million Series B round led by Paragon Partners Growth Fund II and Aavishkaar Capital, including a small secondary component and debt lines from private banks.
Funding Details: GoBOLT
Paragon Partners Growth Fund II
Business goals for the round
Expand into new geographies, expand sales team and technology solutions
Revenue run rate
~ $3 million/month
Revenue run targets
~ $6 million/month over the next 12-18 months
Investors at Paragon Partners cited India’s modernization of its infrastructure and shifts in its tax system as key reasons for the firm’s investment in GoBOLT, which specializes in linehaul express solutions for e-commerce and other supply chain niches.
“GoBOLT is Paragon’s first investment in the logistics sector across the two funds and is in line with our investment strategy of partnering with high-calibre entrepreneurs with compelling business models and assisting them in scaling up operations. With the introduction of GST (Goods and Services Tax) and increasing modernisation of the highway network, the industry is experiencing a structural shift with strong tailwinds,” said Sumeet Nindrajob, co-founder and senior partner at Paragon Partners and new board member GoBOLT, in the release.
The company also expressed in a statement to the Economic Times its plans to raise an additional $10 million in an extension of its Series B round and is in talks with those investors currently.
Also gaining significant attention is delivery management platform FarEye. Listed as a “Challenger” in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Real-Time Transportation Visibility for its strong footprint in this region of Asia, FarEye closed on a $100 million Series E last month.
Related Article: FarEye raises $100M for global expansion
In an interview with FreightWaves, FarEye’s co-founder and CEO Kushal Nahata explained that with noticeable growth in India’s e-commerce market, raising funds could not be avoided.
“We actually were not looking for funds right now,” he said. “We just raised funds last year but the market is extremely hot right now, from both the SaaS and e-commerce perspective. The other thing is, the adoption of these technologies is crazy right now. Every single brand is looking to add these tools.”
Other notable e-commerce investments in the country include Delhivery, which recently raised $277 million in a Series H round with expectations to go public in India later this year.
Fleet optimization investment
Other investors are focusing on advances that help fleet managers optimize capacity.
Also announced on Tuesday, LocoNav, a fleet software company, raised $37 million in a Series B round led by Quiet Capital, Anthemis Group, Sequoia Capital India, Fundamental, RIT Capital Partners, Uncorrelated Ventures and Village Global, with participation from a number of individuals, including Anjali Joshi, former vice president of product at Google, and Manik Gupta, former chief product officer at Uber.
Funding Details: LocoNav
Quiet Capital, Anthemis Group, Sequoia Capital India, Fundamental, RIT Capital Partners, Uncorrelated Ventures, Village Global and others
Anjali Joshi (former VP-product at Google), Anand Chandrasekaran (former CPO at SnapDeal, former director Facebook), Manik Gupta (former CPO at Uber), Jai Shekhawat, Mark Licht, Akhil Paul, Vas Bhandarkar, Ajay Agarwal (partner at Bain Capital Ventures), Abhi Ingle (COO at Qualtrics), Aadil Mamujee and others
Business goals for the round
Continue to build out new technology solutions and add data scientists to San Francisco, Gurgaon and Bangalore teams
The company has a number of technology solutions, including LocoDrive, its driver control center; LocoADAS, an advanced telematics and safety solution; LocoPay, its payment solution; and LocoRTO, its compliance manager.
While LocoNav products are available in 25 countries, its application is downloaded more often each day than any other fleet software app in India and is regularly seen on the Top 55 B2B Indian Apps in Google’s PlayStore.
“Each commercial vehicle is a business in itself with its own P&L. Every mile it travels brings revenue, but with an associated cost. LocoNav will be utilizing these funds to further build out its world class technology and data science team across San Francisco, Gurgaon and Bangalore. The next two years will be focused on building solutions that reduce fleet running costs by up to 50% and drive a positive impact on climate sustainability,” said the founders of LocoNav in the company statement. “This raise will support LocoNav’s ambition to replicate its success in India across global emerging markets, and help to build additional partnerships and channels, make strategic acquisitions as well as establish a local presence in key geographies.”
As India continues to grow its Tier 2 and Tier 3 city infrastructure, empowering its citizens with greater technological capabilities, the need for these solutions will only expand.
In a statement to FreightWaves, Nishith Rastogi, the founder and CEO of India-based Locus, a supply chain technology platform, explained that its $50 million Series C raise was going to continue to support the team needed to create patents to help optimize these emerging markets with unique needs.
Related Articles: Locus raises $50M to build the operating system of logistics
A route optimization patent it was recently granted enables Locus to minimize the time needed to tweak its routing engine for new use cases.
The optimization engine will now act as the equalizer to cater to the distinct demands of our clients,” he said. “The patent makes it easier for us to diversify into new geographies and meet unique client requirements.”