Chhotu, which is less than a year old venture catering to the last mile logistics solutions for e-commerce Indian players, has already made strong headway in the fast growing e-commerce space in India. With big e-commerce players vouching for its services, we at YourStory.in had to catch up with the entrepreneurs behind Chhotu to know their startup story and what is it that they are doing right.
Here we present to you an exclusive conversation with the young entrepreneur Navneet Singh, co-founder of Chhotu.
Why the name Chhotu? Is there a story behind it?
Yes, there is an interesting story behind it. Aadhar (co-founder) started Chhotu in December 2010 in the B2C space to fulfill the daily needs of end consumers. He did a small poll to finalize a name and Chhotu won the poll. Chhotu is a name that is easy to stick, giving us good recall value and conveys the idea that you need not worry about your work, Chhotu can do it reliably!
When was the company launched? How big is the Chhotu team, currently?
Practically, Chhotu (e-commerce services) was launched in June 2011 when we got our first partner 99Labels.com. The team size is dynamic as we are in startup phase. Currently, we have 40 odd people, with around 80% on the field workers.
How did Aadhar come up with the idea? How did you and Aadhar meet?
Aadhar started off with offline retail and soon realized he enjoys logistics part of it more than anything else. He did some research and found a gap in e-commerce logistics. Aadhar was looking for a co-founder with strong skill set in technology, and we met through a common friend.
How do you ensure delivery within 24 hours? How big is the delivery team is Delhi?
We have around 30 people on field doing the deliveries. The key to “within 24 hours” delivery is being flexible. We co-ordinate with our customers and accommodate their needs.
How many deliveries do you carry out in Delhi per day?
On an average we do 150 deliveries per day. We see healthy growth every week.
What according to you are the biggest challenges of scale with the 24 hour delivery model, and how do you plan to overcome them?
I believe the biggest challenge lies in building the right workforce. We mostly hire through referrals.
Name of some of the e-commerce companies you work with.
We work with Myntra.com, Urbantouch.com, Zovi.com – with a total number of 14 partners. We call them partners not customers. Their customers are our customers.
Both of you do not have sales background, how did you acquire your first few customers? What worked for in your favor?
First movers advantage worked for us. We realized and grabbed the opportunity immediately.
How do you cut costs in supply chain & delivery?
Right now, I can only say that decentralization in operations allows for flexibility and scalability.
How do you track logistics?
We have built proprietary shipment tracking system. It help us, our partners and our customers track their shipments in real time. The software has been proved to be critical in our operations.
We see that you are hiring. For which roles?
We are hiring for logistics and technology mostly. We are always on look out for smart people.
What has been the impact of your solution been so far?
We have a success delivery rate of ~98% which is far better than industry average rate of 70%. Moreover, we are able to reduce e-commerce losses to less than 1% on all transactions. We accomplished this by acting as a true partner to e-commerce companies.
How does the revenue model work?
We have different pricing plans to cater to both startups as well as large portals. We charge on per transaction basis.
Are you looking at fundraising?
Yes, we are in talks with a few VC firms.
How does the supply chain work?
We collect deliveries from our e-commerce partners daily. They get distributed to our field executives using our distribution network. And finally, the field executives do the heavy lifting.
How many more cities on Chhotu’s radar?
Our plan is to be present in 50 cities by the end of 2012.
Chhotu is raring to go, with its nimble yet firm footing in the growing ecommerce supply chain domain. We at YourStory.in believe that Chhotu will make it big in the times to come.