If you cannot be the first in a market, the only option you have is to be the best, says Nishith Rastogi of Locus.sh
Bengaluru-based.sh has been disrupting the logistics space since 2015. Founded by former AWS employees Nishith Rastogi and Geet Garg, the startup uses technology and proprietary algorithms to provide smart logistics solutions to businesses such as route optimisation, real-time tracking, insights and analytics, vehicle allocation, and utilisation.
On Money Matters with Shradha Sharma, Co-founder and CEO Nishith says that Locus.sh entered an already established business space and could not be the first in the market so the only option was to be the best in the space.
“Route optimisation is not new and is a 100-year-old problem. Everybody had heard about traveling salesmen. Our aim was to make it work in the real world. We didn’t have any incentive to be the first in the market. We sell technology to other public market companies who were not really waiting for us to be born or show technology adoption. They will only adopt if their core KPIs are being saved. We do not have to ‘breadth first’, but we need to be ‘depth first’,” explains Nishith.
Being the best in the market
According to Nishith, apart from India, Locus.sh is present in Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh, San Francisco, and the East Coast. He adds that the startup was planning to set up EU operations. But it is now planning to launch in EU next year.
“Today, we have a reasonable presence in South-East Asia and the Indian subcontinent, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Middle East. One of our most important regions right now is North America as it has demonstrated resilience, especially in the logistics sector,” he adds.
The Co-founder and CEO charts the startup’s journey, saying that it took Locus.sh six months to hire its first three members and 12 months to build the prototype. He adds, “It took us two years to achieve core IP development and getting a real customer production deployment line.”
Nishith explains that the revenue model largely depends on new or unique locations being visited. He reveals that it took the startup two years to reach 1,000 orders. In the last two years, Locus achieved one million orders; it aims to reach 10 million orders in the next two years.
He claims that Locus.sh serves 70 customers for revenue and 25 customers for product development, and is now aiming to gain around 200 customers.
Speaking about the funding plans, Nishith says that the startup does not have any immediate plans to raise money. “As a company, we are always looking to do milestone-driven raises rather than runaway-driven raises,” he adds.
Before Locus.sh, Nishith had no experience in logistics. Both co-founders met during their tenure at AWS and had worked together for two years.
Nishith and Geet started discussing logistics after the horrific incident in 2014, when a Uber driver-partner raped a passenger in Delhi, talking about safety and security.
“We built an app called RideSafe, a real-time route deviation detection. Instead of just looking at the tracking link, RideSafe could automatically detect if a person is not on the tracking link. For example, in case of cabs, the app could detect if the driver is riding to the destination via logical routes or making any deviations,” recalls the Co-founder and CEO.
According to Nishith, the app got attention and businesses approached them for the service. The duo realised the potential of using automation in logistics.
“Locus.sh plugs into the supply chain of an enterprise and start automating all human decisions included in the process. We automate route planning, address correction, network planning, etc,” he explains.
The solution has helped reduce 22 percent of fuel usage on an average, which not only is cost optimisation but also a green initiative, significantly reducing carbon emissions per delivery.
“For many of our customers with average re-attempted delivery of 25 to 30 percent, we have taken it down to five percent by simply asking when the user wants their package and having a backend sophisticated enough to actually deliver the package on the preferred time in a cost-efficient manner,” adds Nishith.
Meaning of money
“Happiness doesn’t depend on the value of variables but on the number of variables,” says the entrepreneur.
He adds, “My happiness will increase if money is no more a variable in my life over whatever the value of money is.”
Nishith says that for him, money means ‘financial independence’. He believes, if his wealth is able to give him the things he needs, he will be ‘happy’ with it.
He adds that an individual can have three levels of wealth
— Survival: When one can afford basic necessities
— RHS: When you can afford to buy things without pondering over the impact of its cost (for example, looking at the ‘right hand side’ of a menu, i.e. the price)
— The FU money: When you have enough extra money to facilitate the RHS stage even better.
The idea, Nishith says, is to remove money as a variable in life, not optimise for it.