Tech-enabled Mera Transport connects businesses with transport vendors and providers
B2B logistics startup aims to build a sustainable trucking freight exchange by streamlining the way in which transporters, customers and other supply chain stakeholders interact.
Whether it is home logistics or transport for organisations, logistics is a pain point for everyone. From finding the right vendors to getting the right price, everything about logistics seems difficult. It was something Roopa Venkat, 40, and Ajit Venkatesh Ramachandran, 42, had learnt the hard way.
The duo had started Globe Moving and Storage Co, a relocation and logistics company, in 2002. The company had landed a large contract for packing and moving services that required many trucks from non-metros. In the process, they realised how difficult it was to find vendors despite abundant supply.
The need of technology
Ajit explains, “We were debating this idea for some time and exploring the potential of the business. The scale, potential and efficiency that could be reached with apt technology was trigger enough. That was around the same time Sanjai (Sanjai Kumar) and Hari Sharma were also looking at entrepreneurship. They liked the idea and we decided to start Mera Transport.”
The team had realised that timely delivery, efficiency and transparency were key to the logistics space. Their Mera Transport is a tech-enabled platform that connects all stakeholders in the trucking ecosystem. The platform caters to both demand and supply sides.
The team works with clients through tech-integrated order management platforms, apps and data analytics to manage their logistics, track and analyse their shipments end to end.
Transporters, on the other hand, are empanelled on the platform to get real-time visibility to the demand side.
Team and numbers
However, tech penetration and adaptation took its time.
“The response once the user sees utility has been positive and encouraging. Seeing the acceptance and ease with which truckers, drivers and brokers were adapting technology once they saw value reinforced our belief that the otherwise disorganised market is ready for tech intervention,” Roopa adds.
The current team size of Mera Transport is 46. Roopa says Mera Transport follows an asset-light model and charge a 10 percent margin per truck. The team claims to have been working with companies like Jyoti Labs Ltd, Godrej and Hindustan Unilever Limited.
While the company refused to disclose revenue details, the team claims to get close to 50 percent of their revenues from large corporates.
The team raised a seed funding when they started in April last year. Mera Transport recently also raised funding of Rs 10 crore from undisclosed investors.
A growing market
Despite the growing number of logistics startups, newer ones continue to crop up. The more the world of e-commerce grows, the more logistics companies find growth.
According to Logistics Market in India 2015-2020, a study conducted by market researcher Novonous, the country’s logistics industry is worth $300 billion and expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.17 percent by 2020.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways plans to award close to 5,000 km to private companies during 2016-17, worth approximately US $7.69 billion.
Rivigo has raised $115 million and is expected to raise more this year while Blackbuck has already raised $100 million. Both companies are eyeing the trucking ecosystem. Then there are companies like Delhivery, which is managing intra-city delivery and handling warehousing as a service.
Apart from that newer companies' like GoBolt and Truckky are also making their presence felt. There also is Blume Ventures-backed Locus, a platform that leverages machine learning to help logistics providers deliver products at the right place at the right time.
However, Mera Transport aims to develop a sustainable, resilient and scalable tech platform that will focus on all stakeholders of the ecosystem. The team is also looking to adopt AI and build self-serviceable micro frontends, which make things simpler for logistics partners and corporates.
“We aim to support the logistics space with agile management and intelligent solutions to help quick decision-making for customers and vendors, and focus on single owners and vendors,” adds Roopa.