Tech
Tech

Ex-Flipkart and Samsung engineers start ‘TheKarrier’, an intra-city aggregator for mini trucks


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Technology has made life easier for consumers as well as service providers. Many disorganised sectors are now more organised and scalable. Earlier it was difficult for consumers to discover service providers and figure out what a competitive price was. For service providers finding clientele was difficult and this led to periods of inactivity and financial losses.

Technology has revolutionised the travel, e-commerce, real estate industry and now consumers and service providers have more clarity, assurance of service and fair prices. TheKarrier aims to make the last mile intracity logistics space for trucks more organised.

Identifying the gap and starting up

Aravind Sanka (ex Flipkart) and Pavan Guntupalli (ex-Samsung) were long time buddies since high school and always had the urge to start something on their own. They crossed paths with Rishikesh Ramanath during the summer of 2014 and the trio got instantly connected and co-founded TheKarrier. Aravind had previously worked at Flipkart in their last mile logistics division and realized that there was a market gap for intracity trucks.  From market research they found that idle times in last mile logistics for trucks were as much as 70%.

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Pavan noted:

Every year India loses around $45 billion due to inefficiencies in logistics, of which last mile logistics contributes a significant portion. The last mile logistics industry is pegged at around $5-10 billion by industry sources. One of the important reasons behind the high inefficiencies is the low utilization of technology in the segment.

Based out of Bangalore, TheKarrier aims to provide on demand logistics for intracity delivery for businesses and individuals. They currently operate about 300 Light Commercial vehicles (LCVs) through partners all around Bangalore.

They have served over 1000 customers so far. To make the process more seamless, they recently launched an app for the drivers and are now in the process of launching a consumer facing app as well. Right now consumers can book a truck by either calling or sending their requirements through Whatsapp to +91 8050327147.

Business model

TheKarrier has a marketplace model and earns a percentage on each transaction. They run background checks on drivers to ensure authenticity and reliability and also provide incentives to driver based on their performance. Pavan said:

We can proudly say that we have never cancelled an order due to unavailability of vehicles. With a fleet strength of close to 300 vehicles, we are currently having a lead time of 45 minutes.

Their current charges include a minimum fare of Rs 350 for the first 3km and Rs 30 per km after that. Customers also have to pay a waiting charge of Rs 30 for every 15min but get one hour of waiting time for free for loading and unloading the vehicle.

Challenges faced

They found that unlike the taxi segment, the stakeholders were relatively non-tech savvy, both on the demand and the supply side. So understanding their behaviour and designing the product accordingly was crucial for faster adoption of technology.

Getting on the ground and understanding the mindset of the stakeholders helped us a lot in improving the product.

Their initial marketing was done through social media and offline marketing methods. Now they claim that more than 40% of their customers are through referrals and they employ the drivers to be a part of their marketing strategy to reach out to more customers.

They also have branding on the vehicles that have partnered with them so that it is easier for customers to identify them and also for brand recall.

Others in the sector

There are many players, both local and international, in this segment trying to tackle this pain point. Of them, some notable players in this sector are Gogovan from HongKong, Blowhorn, Shippr and ReturnTrucks.There is a lot of interest in this sector from the investor side as well. Blowhorn had raised a seed fund from Unitus Feed fund in November last year.

Future plans

TheKarrier intends to bring the order confirmation time to under 30 seconds and lead time to less than 30minutes.They are currently bootstrapped and will be looking to raise funds soon to expand the team as well as enter two more major cities within the next six months.

They currently offer semi-closed mini trucks of dimensions 7ft x 4ft x 6ft, which can accommodate up to 800kgs. Going forward, they aim to provide consumers access to more variety of vehicles based on their customised needs.

Website: TheKarrier

Logistics is one of the buzzing sectors with quite a few efforts, YourStory had recently conducted a meetup to check the pulse of what people are doing:

https://youtu.be/xXkDXheVLw8

About the author

Harshith Mallya has been tracking the Indian startup ecosystem for about three years. You may find him at startup events, sticking his nose in other people's business, looking for his 'next big scoop'. An alumnus of Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal, he is a keyboard warrior and couch potato. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook

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