Former CEO of Airtel Enterprise starts up to offer last-mile delivery solutions to Flipkart, Snapdeal and ShopcluesAparajita Choudhury
Founded in June 2015 by former CEO of Airtel Enterprise Rajiv Sharma, dPronto is a last-mile logistics startup of E-commerce companies. It trains logistics personnel in all aspects of handling the modern needs of tech startups, including courtesy training, handling logistics-oriented software, navigation training and more. The Delhi-based startup addresses the requirements from back-end technology, manpower handling, training and claims to have a wide reach across multiple cities in India.
dPronto provides services for e-commerce companies like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Shopclues, by leveraging trained manpower supply. With 200 delivery boys, the startup offers services in Delhi, NCR and Bengaluru, where it has its fulfillment centres. It does 3,000 deliveries per day.
An alumnus of FMS Delhi, Rajiv has 25 years of experience, working with companies like HCL, GMS Technologies, Kodak and Airtel. Other team members include Pritha Dutt, K B Rajendran and Sanjeev Sharma. Pritha has worked with Oberoi Hotels, ICI Paints, Airtel and Feedback Ventures. Rajendran has worked with Airtel, Essar, Reliance Communications and Dimension Data. Sanjeev has experience across sales, marketing and operations.
DPronto is part of Empower Pragati, which is into training the unprivileged section of society. It has skilled over one lakh underprivileged people across BFSI, IT/ITeS, retail, agriculture, gems & jewellery, apparel, automotive, beauty & wellness, healthcare, telecom, tourism and electronics sectors in India, and targets to train two million youths by 2020. Empower Pragati currently has 600 centres across 20 States in India.
Rajiv decided to kick start dPronto with a seed capital of Rs one crore, which was invested by all the founders.
We wanted a regular consumption point where these trainees could get employment, and thus dPronto was born. We aim to provide last-mile logistics services for e-commerce companies by leveraging trained fresh manpower supply, disruptive technology and efficient processes that minimise delivery turnaround time and optimise costs.”
“Our month-on-month revenue growth is almost 100 percent now, since we are a startup,” Rajiv says.
The startup gets a 15-percent margin from each delivery. In terms of revenue, dPronto is aiming to achieve a target of Rs 25 crore in this fiscal year. In the next two years, it plans to reach 120 towns to cover 1,800 pin codes in India.
Though last-mile delivery has been an important element of E-commerce businesses and adds value to their entire supply chain, it has its own challenges as well. Awful traffic in metro cities, invalid or inaccurate addresses, and bad roads and infrastructure in rural areas consume both time and costs, which directly hit the economic margin.
On the positive side, last-mile logistics generates huge employment in Tier II and III cities. According to a report by Novonous, India’s logistics industry is worth $300 billion and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 12.17 per cent by 2020. It is a critical element for the e-commerce industry as it constitutes 40 per cent of e-commerce logistics and is also expected to grow at CAGR of 48 percent to reach $2.1 billion by 2020.
Players like Delhivery, GoJavas, Ecom Express, Roadrunner, Shadowfax and Opinio are some of the startups that have attracted investors’ attention in 2015. Ecom Express received $133 million fund from Warburg Pincus. Delhivery raised $85 million in Series D from Tiger Global, Gojavas raised Rs 117 crore from Snapdeal, Roadrunner raised $11 million, Shadowfax raised $8.5 million and Opinio raised $7 million.
Going forward, dPronto will have delivery boys from 600 towns, trained by Empower Pragati, thereby creating employment opportunities. In this way, the startup will address the need of skilled workforce and the issue of unemployability. Being bootstrapped, the team has full control over business expansion and unit economics without being governed by the pressure of external investors. It would be interesting to see that to what extent it can sustain the steady growth without taking the route of fund raising.