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Norwest, Kalaari invest more into logistics tech startup ElasticRun

Udit Agarwal

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Norwest, Kalaari invest more into logistics tech startup ElasticRun

Pune-based logistics tech startup ElasticRun has raised around ₹60 crores in a fresh funding round led by existing investors Norwest Venture Partners and Kalaari Capital, as reported by VCCircle.

Post investment, the startup’s valuation is pegged at around ₹440-480 crores ($60-65 million).

It has not yet been ascertained if the fundraising is part of a larger round. The development has not yet been confirmed by either of the involved parties.

ElasticRun, operated by Ntex Transportation Services, was founded by Sandeep Deshmukh, Saurabh Nigam, and Shitiz Bansal in 2015. Sandeep Deshmukh, is an alumnus of IIM-A, with previous stints at Amazon and Apple. Other co-founders Saurabh Nigam, a civil graduate from Delhi College of Engineering (DCE), has previously worked at EdgeVerve and Infosys, while Shitiz Bansal is an IIT-BHU graduate.

The logistics startup provides an asset light, variable capacity transportation network. It leverages technology to build aggregate transportation capacity precisely in tune with variations in demand.

ElasticRun eliminates high fixed set up costs by aggregating resources across channels while reducing transportation expenses for customers by eliminating wastage in transportation capacity.

The startup last raised $7 million in a series A funding round from Norwest Venture Partners and Kalaari Capital in April 2017. Other players in the logistics space competing with ElasticRun include Rivigo, BlackBuck, 4tigo, TruckEasy, and GoBOLT, among many others.

Earlier this week, New Delhi-based B2B logistics startup GoBOLT raised ₹40 crores in series A funding round from impact fund advisory firm Aavishkaar. It was also reported that e-commerce logistics startup Delhivery is in talks with Softbank to raise ₹1,800 crores. In August 2018, logistics tech startup WheelsEye raised ₹7 crores in a funding round led by Prime Venture Partners. Another logistics startup LEAP India raised ₹200 crores in debt funding.

According to the Economic Survey 2017-18, Indian logistics sector, which is currently worth $160 billion, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.5% to reach $215 billion by 2020, owing to the implementation of GST. With other sectors like agriculture and e-commerce, dependent on logistics for growth, will further propel logistics startups towards a growth trajectory.

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Sachin Bansal may back Ola with $100 million investment

Udit Agarwal

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Sachin Bansal may back Ola with $100 million investment

Flipkart Co-Founder and former CEO Sachin Bansal may invest up to ₹740 crores ($100 million), in the Indian cab-hailing giant Ola, as reported by Economic Times. If the investment comes through, it would be the largest personal investment in the Indian internet space.

The deal has not yet been confirmed either by Ola or Sachin Bansal.

Walmart‘s acquisition of the Indian e-commerce behemoth Flipkart, in a massive $16 billion deal, reportedly, helped Bansal accrue around $1 billion, after selling his entire stake of 5.5%. The investment will be worth 10% of his total earning earnings from the Walmart-Flipkart deal.

Sachin Bansal has been an active investor in the Indian startup ecosystem, backing a number of startups, a majority of his investments were early-stage, ranging from $1-2 million.

Must Read: SoftBank may invest $200 Mn in Nykaa at over $700 Mn valuation

If the reports are to be believed, the Bansal’s investment in Ola is expected to be largely through subscription of new shares of Ola, with a small component coming through a secondary sale by existing investors.

With the investment, Bansal is expected to enter as a small but significant shareholder in Ola. Sachin Bansal and Ola’s founder Bhavish Aggarwal have a good relationship since the two came together to raise concerns over how domestics startups did not have a level playing field with their deep-pocketed global rivals like Amazon and Uber.

Later, the two banded with other local startups and entrepreneurs to launch an industry group called Indian tech. With the entry of Bansal as an investor in Ola, will further strengthen Aggarwal’s position and control in the cab-hailing startup, with the foreign investors holding the majority take in Ola.

Earlier in August, Sachin Bansal had come in support of differential voting rights for Indian entrepreneurs, to help them gain more say and decision making freedom. It was also reported that Bansal was in talks to launch a $1 billion venture capital, fund to invest in Indian startups.

Read More: Top Helion Venture Partners Portfolio funding Companies

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MakeMyTrip Rolls Out In-Destination Activity Suggestions

Udit Agarwal

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MakeMyTrip Rolls Out In-Destination Activity Suggestions

India’s leading travel company MakeMyTrip has launched a range of standalone and curated experiential offering for travelers, marking its foray into experiences domain. The travel company has done a soft launch of Experiences on its Android app, which will be followed launch on its iOS app later.

During the initial phase, MakeMyTrip has launched rolled out the service in 10 Indian metro and cities including, Jaipur, Pune, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Goa, among others. These experiences include a range of activities from leisure to adventure offering amusement park visits, daycation at resorts, museum visits, luxury spas, adventure sports, among others.

While these services are offered as standalone and can be booked separately, the Gurugram-based OTA will also be including them in their travel packages.

With the new vertical MakeMyTrip is looking to target the customers who are looking to explore experiential offering rather than the travel, as it tries to enhance customer engagement and stickiness of its app.

Read More: Disney will bring MCU’s lesser-known characters to it’s streaming service!

Rajesh Magow, Co-Founder, MakeMyTrip, said, “We have leveraged insights from millions of consumers about what they like at various destinations and what they value as good experience. We expect these high-frequency use cases to drive even higher engagement.”

Earlier in August 2018, it was reported that MakeMyTrip had infused around ₹69 crores in its Indian subsidiary. MakeMyTrip has been expanding its outreach in the Indian travel domain, looking to create a one-stop solution for all travel needs of its customers.

In July 2018, MakeMyTrip had invested an undisclosed amount of funds in SaaS-based travel solutions provider Bitla Software. It is to be noted that the online travel agency is following the footsteps of community-driven global hospitality company Airbnb, that launched Experience service in March last year and another Indian OTA Cleartrip, that launched the service earlier this year in May.

Indian tourism industry has a huge growth potential, even though there is a fierce competition in the domain with the growing number of startups looking to leverage the opportunity.

 Read More: OYO signs MoU with Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board

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OYO partners with payments platform PhonePe

Udit Agarwal

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OYO partners with payments platform PhonePe

Global hotel chain OYO has partnered with the digital payments platform PhonePe, enabling OYO users to seamlessly book a room through the PhonePe app. The tie-up will enable OYO to access more than 100 million PhonePe users.

As a part of the tie-up, the users will be able to book more than 125,000 exclusive rooms, currently part of OYO’s chain of hotels across India through the PhonePe app.

PhonePe users will have access to a wide range of OYO offerings like OYO Rooms, OYO Townhouse, OYO Home, SilverKey, Capital O and Palette Resorts, OYO caters to the accommodation needs of a variety of travelers.

Read More: Top Helion Venture Partners Portfolio funding Companies

Commenting on the partnership, Rituraj Rautela, Head In-App Platform, PhonePe said, “OYO is one of the fastest growing unicorns in India that has transformed hotel and room bookings for Indian travelers. We are excited to have them as one of our early partners to build an open payments ecosystem, connecting our partners and PhonePe users. The tie-up would enable all our users to access OYO’s quality offerings across 160 cities in India while maintaining the convenience and security of their payments through PhonePe.’’

PhonePe users will be able to book any OYO hotel in India by paying a token amount of ₹99 upfront and paying the remaining amount later at the hotel. This will not only provide an enhanced customer experience to both the OYO and PhonePe users but also reach each other huge customer base, thereby customers.

The digital payments platform will also offer a more flexible and agile environment to OYO, to experiment with its offerings on the go, while ensuring a safe and secure payment channel for the users.

Read More: OYO signs MoU with Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board

PhonePe already has a number of partners on its platform including redBus, Goibibo, Ola, Delhi Metro, and Mumbai Metro. These partnerships have helped the payments platform to offer better services and a hassle-free payment experience to its users.

It is looking to further partner with players across categories like Travel, Commute, Food, Hyperlocal, Retail, Entertainment on its platform as a part of its micro-app strategy.

Must Read: Foodpanda eyes delivery network of 5 lakh partners by 2020

 

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