WATCH: BlackBuck’s Deepak Warrier says data helps you understand how to increase revenues and address gaps
Nine-months-ago, Rajesh Yabaji, Co-founder and CEO of BlackBuck, met Deepak Warrier, former data scientist from American Airlines and Myntra, to create meaning out of the data he had gathered from fleet operators and truckers in India.
Rajesh co-founded BlackBuck in 2015 along with Ramasubramaniam B and Chanakya Hridaya. It is a marketplace for shippers, truckers, and fleet owners to discover cargo to be transported and match the pricing on given routes. It uses technology to match a shipper with a trucker and facilitates price discovery and other infrastructure around trucking.
And in just four years, BlackBuck has gathered data of 300,000 truckers and 60,000 fleet owners. The startup has also raised a total of $285 million from Accel Partners, Goldman Sachs, Sequoia Capital and a clutch of other investors.
In this video, Deepak talks to YourStory about how and why he took the data of 1,000 trucks in the northwest corridor of India, where he could track truck movements from ports in Gujarat to northern regions of the state.
The data provided him with details about a particular route, the fastest path a truck can take, how many times the driver stopped the truck, and other details of each stop-over.
In the business of matching the supply and demand, it is necessary to understand timely delivery, pricing, route optimisation, utilisation, personalisation, and making recommendations.
So, for BlackBuck, making sense of the ETA or the established time of arrival for a trucker also meant setting its course in becoming a valuable product company.
“Any product company’s evolution is to use the data that it carries. Once it sharply defines the problem, algorithms can be used to go after business problems,” says Deepak, who is the Chief Data Scientist at BlackBuck. He adds that a lot of data was being created in India by several product startups, and at BlackBuck, his mission was to build a data machine.
“The objective is to increase truck utilisation from the current average of three times a month to five times,” says Deepak.
By utilising the GPS data, today BlackBuck is able to detect the speed of the truck with load and detect its speed without the load. It is also using this information to understand the driver wait time between loading and unloading, and also the availability of cargo for transportation between the shipper and the fleet owner.
He says, the average long-haul truck starts from 16 tonnes to 49 tonnes. The moment the utilisation of the truck improved, the drivers were not only able to clear their EMIs, but also get additional income.
According to the transport industry, on an average, a driver utilises his truck only 60 percent of the available 28 days of work.
India’s truck market is still yet take off when compared to countries like the US. According to SIAM, the total commercial vehicle sales in the country stood at 1,007,319 in FY19. The commercial vehicles segment also registered an overall growth of 17.55 percent in April 2018 - March 2019 as compared to the same period last year.
Medium and Heavy Commercial Vehicles (M&HCVs) increased by 14.66 percent, and Light Commercial Vehicles grew by 19.46 percent in April-March 2019, compared to the same period last year.
“Any startup wanting to go through a data route must structure its data before getting into data science. With data, you constantly learn and try new things. Data helps you understand how you can increase revenue and address gaps,” says Deepak.
Deepak advises startups about personalising data and the type of algorithms that one must build. He also talks about how statistics and software have been merged to create a new class of expertise called “Data Scientist”.
Now, BlackBuck is planning to double its headcount in the data science team from 20 members in the current financial year.
(Edited by Megha Reddy)