This logistics aggregation startup wants to be the Ola for intracity truck bookings
One of the hottest sectors, logistics is attracting startups of all kinds. However, intracity logistics is yet to find easy and on-the-go solutions like an Ola or Uber to bring in efficiency and transparency for shippers and truckers.
Seeing a possible opportunity and keen to solve this problem, husband-wife duo Sangeeta Yadav (37) and Amarjeet Singh (38) quit their well-paying corporate jobs and started Portflip in 2017. Prior to starting Portflip, Sangeeta had worked for the likes of the software firm Wipro while Amarjeet had worked for the firm Mphasis.
A logistics aggregation platform, the Mumbai-based startup caters to intracity transportation in Mumbai and Pune. Portflip acts as a facilitator in providing truck booking services. Customers can book their trucks through an Android app, the company website, or by directly calling on the customer care number.
The business model
A driver partner is assigned after a booking is made. Then, the driver calls the customer to confirm the booking to confirm all the details. After that, the order is executed. A customer can track the location of the truck on the Portflip app. Once the order is completed, the customer can pay in cash to the driver partner directly or pay Portflip online. The Portflip app has over 20,000 downloads on the Google Play Store.
The startup does not own any trucks. Similar to Ola and Uber, driver partners with valid permits, proper authorisations, and those who are verified by transport authorities can sign up with Portflip. The founders claim that driver partners are on-boarded only after thorough vetting.
Just like the customer app, the driver partners also have their own version of the Portflip app. They can decide their work hours, log in to Portflip at their convenience, and accept trip requests from customers.
Taking on the competition
“Initially, we did research and development and studied the market for over six months. We faced issues and challenges in getting the right skill set to execute our vision, getting partners adapted to use technology, training them, and maintaining the supply as partners can log off from their devices, leading to a lot of rejections for customers,” Sangeeta says .
The logistics market in India is expected to touch $215 billion by the end of next year. Intracity logistics already has players like Tim Draper backed Blowhorn, HipShip, Porter, and Gogovan.
Thus, one of the challenges that Portflip faced in its initial days was planning strategies to compete with these funded entities.
“But when we focus on doing what we do right, it does not matter how deep the pockets of your competitors are. There is some or the other challenge, which is always going to be there. We just need to do what is most important at that particular point of time,” Sangeeta says .
When the duo started building the platform, they realised it was important to have a team that understood the business model properly and could contribute to it to overcome the challenges of this industry.
Revenue and the future
“Our first hires are all engineering graduates who are passionate and understood the vision and goals of Portflip. At present, we are a team of eight,” Sangeeta says.
The co-founder says the startup’s revenue is Rs 40 to Rs 50 lakh per annum, and claims to complete more than 350 orders in a month. Currently bootstrapped, Sangeeta says Portflip’s USP is its adaptability to market changes and requirements.
“We have regular meetings with our partners and clients to understand their requirements, and address any grievances, issues, etc. Ours is a commission-based revenue model. Our key clients are mostly rental furniture-based companies, FMCG, petroleum products players, industrial goods companies, etc. The charges are all system defined,” Sangeeta says.
The Portflip team is now looking to expand into different cities and looking for dynamic business partners with financial resources, industry connections, clients, specific credentials, and expertise to help them grow.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)