The online transportation aggregator GoBolt will soon be venturing out in the part-load segment and it is also eyeing at a fresh round of funding this year. In an exclusive conversation with Ritwik Sinha, the Co-Founder of GoBolt Sumit Sharma narrates the challenges and opportunities which technological applications pose in India’s cumbersome transportation business. Edited excerpts…
To begin with, please briefly take me through to your journey so far?
GoBOLT is a Tech logistics start up operating in B2B surface transportation space in Long hauls & shot haul operations. It was launched in September 2015 with an aim to offer industry-best logistics services and disrupt the India’s existing logistics industry by introducing/creating benchmark practices, thoroughly integrating technology in its operations while maintaining un-paralleled professionalism, accountability & transparency of Information. The company is working in Express & non-Express FTL (Full truck space) & plans to enter part load business shortly.
GoBOLT works on a Hybrid model on owned & market place Trucks. The key focus is on two pillars – Disintermediation on market place & Increased Asset Utilization both enabled through technology. They claim to have disintermediated market place trucks on many North-western lanes by providing two way loads or leveraging return trucks thereby increasing returns by 3~5%. Their trucks run around ~ 10000 km for non-ecommerce & between15000 – 20000 km for ecommerce businesses.
Within a short span of over one year, GoBOLT is servicing 60 Cities/towns with 4,000+ empanelled market place trucks. Presently, the company is having 20 clients with around 3 Mn $ annual revenue run rate and is catering to marquee clients like Flipkart, GSK, Panasonic, Pepsi, Pepperfry, Tupperware to name a few with their expertise services.
Can I get a sense of your operational scale – fleet size, the distance they cumulatively cover on an average basis on a pan India basis every day, etc? Plus, what is the ratio between your own trucks to those which belong to other operators in your fleet size?
We have a combined fleet size of 5000+ trucks with us, which are a combination of our owned trucks, dedicated trucks and market place trucks. Cumulative distance covered is around 20000-30000 kms per day on Pan India basis. Out of the trucks engaged with us at any time, 20% trucks are our owned or dedicated, and rest are marketplace trucks.
How are you dealing with empty return trucks issue? This has been a serious issue in India.
Empty truck return is an accumulation of following factors: (a.)Uneven distribution of logistics movements across lanes (some lanes are very heavy due to proximity to industrial centres, others are lean lanes) & (b.) Demand planning – 70% of the movement in India are done by SFO (small freight operators), who are dependent on brokers for generating demands. They mostly get one way trips and struggle to find load for the return journey. There are other issues like seasonality of movements and/or monthly variations – for eg, month ends are typically very heavy for movements, where there is always a paucity of trucks. Also, most of the businesses have their cycles, for e.g. FMCD sales in winters in North are very low.
To tackle with reverse load problem, we work on lane concentration strategy, where most of our movements are concentrated on specific lanes. Also, our technology provides real time optimizer algorithms, which minimizes the distance traveled by our trucks for picking up loads.
You started with full truck load segment and now also getting into part truck load business. What is going to be your strategy since the latter is considered to be cumbersome in a conventional sense?
Part truck load has two parts to it: (a.) Consolidation of load at the source location & efficient running of trucks once load is consolidated.
We have efficiently conquered the truck operations part. For building up effective consolidation capabilities, we are working on three fronts – 1) developing our demand network across lanes, to ensure timely availability of load for consolidation, 2) developing technology solutions (management systems, optimizers etc) to ensure lag-free operations in part truck load, 3) efficient designing of truck containers and locks to maximize load factor and minimize risk of pilferage and loss.
What precisely is launchpad and how has it grown ever since its introduction?
The team also just started a SAAS based market place Freight Management System “LaunchPad”. Apartn from e2e controls, track & trace, “LaunchPad” has a unique self-learning platform of sourcing & price analytics which helps in building technology enabled spot sourcing as one of their competitive advantage. Also, LaunchPad is being now tested for running predictive analysis on load/truck optimizations, route optimizations and ancillary services.
How much of PE funding you has received so far? And are you working on a fresh round?
To start, we invested our own money so the company was boot-strapped initially with our own funds. Post that, the company attracted money from MCube Capital (amount undisclosed). As the industry is technology based and ours is Tech Logistics Company, so the fund was obviously used for adoption of technology and its advancement and then we shifted usage of fund for team expansion. Also we are planning to raise the next round of funding in the coming 6-months to fuel expansion further. The raised funds will be predominantly used in technology (owned & market place), building team & expanding operations.