Uberization is happening globally with more than half a billion dollar poured in by investors in startups calling themselves ‘Uber for X’. And India isn’t behind in the race to serve consumers with on-demand services like Ola, Taxiforsure and Zomato.
Inspired by the ‘Uber for X’ concept, Pranav Goel and Uttam Digga from IIT Kharagpur and Vikas Choudhary from IIT Kanpur studied the business model of Uber and similar companies which were aggregating existing supply and matching it to demand in a much more efficient and effortless way by using technology. The trio did ground research on logistics in Mumbai and found a huge gap of market inefficiency in the last mile delivery. “We did preliminary research in Bangalore and Delhi and inter-city logistics (long haul) and the results were similar,” says Pranav.
This inefficiency triggered the launch of ThePorter, a marketplace for logistics, which connects customers with commercial vehicles for quick and effortless goods transportation. “We are a tech enabled service provider focusing on premium services– transparent pricing,tracking, auto notification alerts etc at very competitive prices,” explains Pranav.
At present, there is a huge mismatch in the market between consumers and truck drivers. While drivers are not being able to access the large demand around them, consumers find it difficult to get a reliable and efficient solution. “We at ThePorter are trying to disrupt and organize logistics in India, which is highly fragmented and inefficient suffering from low capacity utilization --namely no return customer and high idle/waiting time,” points out Uttam.
The Mumbai-based company offers features such as real time tracking and auto notification, digital trips logs (km travelled, login logoff time, route replays etc) and transparent pricing with all legal and other documents.
Logistics players like Delhivery and Ecom Expresstypically have two to three vendors who will be responsible for catering to their vehicle needs. These vendors would further sub-contract vehicle owners or vendors creating a problem of multiple middlemen. “We eliminate this multiple middlemen problem and connect the end user with the end service provider directly,” says Uttam, adding “traditional transporters capture trip logs (like km travelled, reporting and closing time etc) manually whereas all these are captured digitally on our platform, providing a more transparent and accountable service to our customers.”
The company started with two Tata Aces in August and has grown to more than 15 Tata Aces and two Tata 407 (higher variant). It is processing more than 15 orders on a daily basis. “We started with an institutional client in July; providing them with two dedicated vehicles and processed 82 transactions,” says Pranav. On-demand service was rolled out in August and currently does close to 400 orders on a daily basis.
All vehicles at ThePorter platform are equipped with a smartphone installed with ThePorter’s in-house developed mobile app. “The app helps us by providing real time tracking updates and assists us in scheduling the fleet in the best possible manner based on parameters like distance, SLA, etc,” adds Pranav.
Roadway logistics is a $150 Billion USD industry in India, of which $30 billion is the last mile delivery. If you look at its urban split, the market size is estimated to be around $10-12 billion. Within three months of its operation the startup crossed Rs 18 lakhs of revenue (Rs 6 lakh from on-demand and the rest from institutional clients). It plans to scale to 200 trucks in Mumbai and will start operations in Delhi and Bangalore within a year.