There are certain predictable ways in which startups are founded, and one of them is when a group of friends get together. This is how D4Delivery Retail And Logistics Services, an intra-city logistics service provider for both consumers and business owners, was founded. Abhiram Suresh, Aishwarya Raghavan and Mrinal Mohandas were discussing starting something of their own, and Abhiram suggested a logistics startup.
The trio got into several heated discussions on the pros and cons of starting a delivery and logistics startup. After researching similar startups in the space, they decided to start with a trial run by taking on fulfilment of orders from three food outlets in Trivandrum.
They decided that this was the time to experiment as much as possible. This included checking the turnaround time, routing efficiency, and load balancing. It was during these trial runs that they realised that following a hub-and-spoke model in a localised manner worked best.
The team gradually expanded their services to include other categories like grocery, bakery, and stationery. They officially launched the consumer-front of their operations by June 2014.
D4Delivery manages a fleet of vehicles of different sizes and weights, which can be used by both vendors and consumers for fulfilling any of their requirements. "The consumers can use our services to get anything from the neighbourhood to their doorsteps, or business owners can use us to transport their goods from one location to another," says Abhiram.
They have a dedicated cloud-based call centre and website where customers can place orders. They also have an internal mobile app for drivers and riders that shows the orders, routes, and also enables them to update the status of orders. The business owners can also place orders through the phone or via WhatsApp.
Initially, the trio themselves worked as the delivery boys. After the three-month trial period, they felt the need to hire other people as the number of orders from clients were rising. "So we used Quickr and OLX to post jobs. It took us about 15 months to reach the point where we could scale up to the next city. We then started to expand aggressively. We are currently also operational at Kochi and Thrissur, and will be in Calicut and Bengaluru soon," says Abhiram.
Traction and future plans
The team claims to be growing at 15 to 17.5 per cent MoM. They say they began with a monthly revenue of Rs. 10,000, which has now touched Rs.5.5 lakhs. They are currently taking 180 to 220 orders each day.
"We are currently catering only to intra-city logistics, and are planning to start inter-city logistics in six months’ time. We will be launching our mobile app in all the cities within this quarter in a phased manner," says Abhiram.
The market space
Changing consumer behaviour in the last couple of years has sky-rocketed the demand for hyperlocal delivery in India. The potential growth in this space has seen a host of startups cracking the business model and drawing the attention of investors. As reported earlier by YourStory, hyperlocal startups have raised over $200 million in risk capital over the past 10 months.
The past month has been especially tough for hyperlocal, especially foodtech, startups Foodtech startups like with Dazo and Spoonjoy already shutting shop.
The startup world was then shaken up by the news that food delivery firm TinyOwl was drastically scaling back operations, leading to heated confrontations between employees and management. There also seems to be a drop in deals, with 18 startups announcing fund raises in the first week of November.