Smartr Logistics, promoted by Yogesh Dhingra, ex-CFO, COO & CSO of Blue Dart along with co-founders Arun Nangpal, M D Basappa, Nikhil Kumar Saxena and Utkarsh Sharma aims to disrupt the fast-growing Indian Express Industry. Launch in October 2021, the startup has started operations in 40+ major cities across India. It startup raised Seed funding of around Rs 100 crore from marquee investors – IIFL Private Equity and Jalaj Dani family (Asian Paints) office.
Excerpts from a email interview with Yogesh Dhingra, Managing Director and CEO, Smart Express:
You raised funding a few months ago. What have you utilized the funds for?
The first tranche of our funding has been utilized for laying the foundation of the business. We have procured IT and automation hardware assets to support our operations, started 60+ Smartr Service Centers across India and onboarded a team of 500+ employees. We have also invested in brand building, website and licensing of necessary software. We have invested in procuring specialized handheld devices and portable printers for our field force.
What are your expansion plans?
With our launch in October 2021, we have started operations in 40+ major cities across India. We have aggressive expansion plans to reach 90+ cities by December ’22 and 300+ cities in next 3 years.
We have launched our first set of Air Express services called Aerex. We have a roadmap to expand our service offerings with launch of International Express/Freight, Ground Express, LTL/FTL, 3PL and warehousing and B2C e-commerce fulfillment services. We aim to become the preferred choice for any type of express logistical needs.
You have had a long career in logistics. What made you want to startup?
I have been fortunate to have worked in the logistics industry for 27 years. With the knowledge and insights I have gained, I wanted to contribute back to the society.
After much deliberation, I concluded that the best use of my knowledge for contribution to the society would be to build a new company. With Smartr, I am to contribute to:
• The customers – I strongly believe that customers still have multiple pain points dealing with current logistics companies. With my vast experience, I know these pain points and aim to alleviate these through Smartr solutions. We want to provide a one-stop solution for B2B, B2C, D2C and C2C logistics needs
• The industry – Compared to the western countries, the logistics industry in India has still a long way to go. We are still at a nascent stage in terms of using Air Express mode of logistics as well as adoption of technology for logistics
• The country – With Smartr, we aim to create employment opportunity for thousands of our citizens throughout India. We also want to play a role in reducing the overall logistics costs of the country which is currently in double digit as percentage of the GDP.
How much did you and your co-founders invest in the startup?
Apart from the significant financial investment, considering the investment of time and energy, the founders will maintain 20 percent of the equity
What pain points did you want to address when starting up; and how much of them have you addressed so far?
We want to make air express more affordable and reliable using our unique asset light model. We will provide multiple offering to customer to balance between urgency and economy of the delivery
Currently, next-day delivery options are only available for metro cities and some other major cities. With the immense growth of passenger air network in India, we want to provide 24-48 hrs. delivery to multiple cities across the country
With our unique AM delivery, we want to move away from day-definite service and provide a better time-definite delivery service with higher reliability
Our aim to provide fair and transparent pricing structure to our customers. No hidden charges or surcharges. Customers pay only what they use.
We are committed to building a platform that provides high service quality and better products for our customers at competitive price points through a transparent process.
Tell us about the challenges in the logistics sector especially during pandemic and now with the third variant having raised its head.
Pandemic has provided a lot of growth to logistics industry. Due to restriction of human movement and work-from-home culture, logistics sector witnessed close to 100 percent Y-o-Y growth. Specially with the exponential growth of B2C and D2C ecommerce, logistics requirements increased significantly.
Pandemic brought new challenges to logistics sector like contact-less deliveries. But these were solved with support of technology.
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