[Startup Watchlist] Solving problems for urban India


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Hope you've had a bright entrance into this Year of Light! Yes, 2015 has been designated the International Year of Light (and the International Year of Soils) by the United Nations General Assembly. It's been an exciting last year where we sent out 18 Startup Watchlist Newsletters every Monday and now, we're back. This year, I wanted to do a bit more and bring out hands on discussions around critical subjects. Logistics is a piece of the puzzle for the modern urban India which will become critical if growth in the current direction has to be sustained. This week's newsletter is dedicated to last mile logistics and looks at startups working in this area. We're also exploring the possibility of a meetup for 'logistics enthusiasts' at the YourStory office in Bangalore (Indiranagar) on 23rd January (fill out this form if interested). To set the ball rolling, here are the startups in focus this Monday:

1. Blowhorn and Shippr

Blowhorn and Shippr are logistics companies that helps you move anything from anywhere (in Bangalore at the moment). Here's how they describe themselves:

Blowhorn: Blowhorn is a platform that connects mini-truck owners to customers. (read full story)

Shippr: Shippr is a one stop shop for all your logistics requirements. (read full story)

Blowhorn (which is funded by Unitus Seed Fund) charges INR 600 for the first hour and pro-rated every 10 min thereafter. While Shippr's base price starts from INR 500. It is pointless to argue as to who started first as both the startups are very early stage and are still finding the right model to operate with. But what makes them interesting is the next huge unorganized market they're tapping into- first the buses were organized by the likes of redBus, then we have taxis and autos by the likes of Ola, mGaadi and it is now probably time to penetrate into the unorganized market of trucks and other vehicles used to make deliveries.

2. Boxmyspace 

While researching and scanning across the startup stratosphere, we landed on an interesting Mumbai based startup which we haven't yet covered but has a sound proposition. Meet Boxmyspace- "BoxMySpace is a simple, secure storage solution. We help people unclutter and clear their home and office space. We get storage at your doorsteps by the box." Currently priced at INR 250 per box per month, the service has the following fine points- free box drop and pick up and drop, INR 150 is refunded on box return and minimum storage period is 3 months.

Founded by Pratyush Jalan who has previously worked with Microsoft and Qualcomm, BoxMySpace is heavy on mobile with an Android and iOS app. It'd be interesting to see how the service picks up.

3. Sendy

Sendy is something that put a smile on my face when YourStory's man from Africa, @EmmanuelAmberber told me about it. An African company, Sendy is a platform for on-demand Deliveries. With the tap of a button, they instantly connect the user with riders. And yes, it has all the 'Uber' features with an African context:

-> Users know the price before one requests a delivery and payment happen through a mobile phone using M-Pesa or Visa.

-> Strict vetting, training, and 24/7 tracking of all riders.

-> Users can track their rider and package throughout the delivery with real-time GPS data sent right to the app.

All these startups fall in the 'Uber for X' category and are in some way fixing a problem in the last mile logistics space. There are some interesting points to be discussed in why and how these startups came into being, what they're trying to do and what needs to be fixed so that they can enable more. The meetup can be a possibility to other things which this newsletter will keep you posted about. Signup here (no fees) if you're up for it!

Subscribe for the newsletter here. For any feedback, drop in a line to me at jubin@yourstory.com.