BlackBuck - B2B Trucking Platform
A pioneer in bringing the offline operations of trucking online globally.
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Founded in 2015, Karnataka-headquartered Blackbuck is India’s leading online trucking platform that digitizes freight and logistics. It connects businesses and shippers with truck owners and freight operators to facilitate inter-city goods transportation like agricultural goods (rice and wheat), coal, oil, metals, chemicals, and FMCG products.
In 2021, BlackBuck became the first logistic firm to enter the unicorn club after raising $67M of equity financing in a Series E funding round led by Tribe Capital, IFC Emerging Asia Fund, and VEF.
The company serves leading brands like Amul, Asian Paints, Cocacola, Colgate Palmolive, Hindustan Zinc, ITC Limited, Reliance, Tata Steel, United Breweries Limited, and Unilever. It is backed by notable investors like Accel Partners, Apoletto Asia, B Capital, Flipkart, Goldman Sachs, IFC, Light Street, Sands Capital, Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global, Tribe Capital, VEF, and Wellington.
Business Overview & Products
BlackBuck offers products and services for Shippers and Fleet operators. It currently operates out of 300+ locations.
For shippers it provides:
Pan India Service
End-to-end Freight Management
For Freight Operators it provides:
Daily Loads across India
Fast Payment Settlements
Ease of Operations
Quick Issue Resolution
Facilities for Drivers
How It Works
Blackbuck is a digital marketplace for trucking logistics that helps shippers connect with the right freight operators depending on their location, sources, materials to be shipped, and other details.
It has digitized the logistic industry in two ways. First, it operates as a marketplace that connects organizations that need to move goods across India with truckers looking for deliveries or maximizing their loads with additional capacity. Second, it is asset-light, which means it does not own any trucks on the platform, which is why it offers technology to help track trucks during the transportation process.
The platform provides shippers with a holistic shipping management solution by offering price transparency, granular shipment tracking, and guarantees that mitigate risk. Shippers also get to choose between two shipping services, contract-based or on-demand, that incentivize them to use the platform.
Fleet operators get to book loads for their fleets with ease and transparent pricing. They also register their trucks with the platform which ensures higher truck utilization resulting in higher earnings. Services such as FASTag, an electronic toll collection system, GPS devices, truck mapping, insurance, and efficient route planning are also provided to ensure smooth transport.
The platform also has a feature called ‘dashcam’, which continuously monitors the truck driver by capturing their image. This is further relayed to the command center that deciphers the implications of those images. The algorithm detects if the driver’s behavior does not meet standards, for example, if they are drowsy, looking at their phone, accelerating too fast, driving rashly, or taking sharp turns. In which case, the driver is immediately alerted to be attentive. If there is no change in behavior despite the warning, the fleet owner is notified to take charge of the situation.
Financial transactions on the platform are seamless and easy as clients and fleet operators can send and receive money through the app. Features like early payments, financial aids, and fuel cards incentivize truck drivers to choose Blackbuck over other platforms.
Business Model & Pricing
BlackBuck has a B2B2C business model that digitizes the freight and logistics industry in India and caters to both shippers and fleet operators. For fleet operators, the platform offers a simple, easy-to-use app to help them accept work and navigate their destination using Google Maps. On the other hand, shippers use the app to place orders and manage their shipments by tracking them online.
The company earns revenue by charging both shippers and freight operators a commission of 15% to 20% depending on the freight value.
When Blackbuck was founded in 2015, only 40% of truck owners and 7% of truck drivers had smartphones, however by 2019, 100% of truck owners and 70% of truck drivers got access to smartphones which is what majorly contributed to the growth of Blackbuck. The company has benefited greatly from the digital revolution in India, with digital tolls and GPS becoming mandatory, making Blackbuck’s offerings more relevant and important than ever.
In 2020, BlackBuck reported a 27% increase in revenue from $240M in 2019 to $304M In 2021, Blackbuck entered the unicorn club after raising $65M of equity financing in a Series E funding round led by Tribe Capital, IFC Emerging Asia Fund and VEF. The company has served over 15,000 clients to date and has a network of 700,000 truckers operating 1.2 million trucks in 2000+ locations. It records more than 15 million transactions every month.
Rajesh Yabaji: Co-Founder and CEO at BlackBuck. Rajesh, an IITian, always had a keen interest in operations why is why before starting his career, he did multiple internships in that field. Post his internship at Schindler India Pvt Ltd, Rajesh started working at ITC as the Business Manager to further hone his skills in the operations area, and finally, after 4 years, started his own company, BlackBuck along with his co-founders.
Ramasubramanian B: Co-founder of BlackBuck. Ramasubramanian, an MBA graduate from IILM Business has experience of over 20 years in the supply chain across geographies and industry sectors. Prior to co-founding BlackBuck, he was working as the Managing Director at Miebach Consulting, a consulting platform that offers logistics and supply chain consulting to large and medium-sized companies.
Chanakya Hridaya: Co-founder of BlackBuck. Chanakya, an IIT graduate initially interned at ITC Limited and then 2 years later, started working there as Assistant Manager. Before co-founding BlackBuck, he also served as a Visting Researcher at the University of Strathclyde.
History & Evolution
In 2015, Yabaji came up with the idea of BlackBuck after joining a supply chain project, which made him realize how appropriate use of technology had the power to evolve the supply chain system. He started working on various solutions that could revolutionize the logistic industry. During this time, he met Subramaniam who had more than 17 years of expertise, and Chanakya Hridaya who was an intern at IIT Kharagpur.
Together they launched BlackBuck, formerly known as Zinka Logistics Solutions Private Limited. The Supply app allowed companies to request trucks according to their requirements and timings. Moreover, the machine learning algorithm enabled them to make accurate matches between shippers and truckers. Initially, the company started with 10,000 trucks available for booking.
In 2016, BlackBuck launched the Demand app which helped small and medium enterprises in finding trucks. It also signed an MOU with Indian Oil Corporation to generate value for fleet operators and transporters by tying up fuel businesses of vehicles on the platform through Indian Oil’s Xtrapower Fleet Card Program.
In 2017, BlackBuck launched ‘Fleet Management Services’ to enable efficient fleet management for truck owners. It also rewarded employees with an ESOP repurchase plan and the buyback provided 11x returns within the one-year time window, for people who exercised this option. That year the company also witnessed 7x growth in revenues and reached operational break-even.
In 2018, BlackBuck launched the Driver app for truck drivers and received the ‘Start-up of the year’ award by CNBC TV18 and the ‘Company of the Year’ award by ZEE Business. It was also featured as a case study at Harvard.
In 2019, BlackBuck partnered with Maersk, the world leader in integrated container logistics to provide an online marketplace for containerized trucking in EXIM logistics in India. It also partnered with IDFC Bank and YES Bank to offer free FASTags to truckers.
That year the company went global, taking its vision to digitize the trucking ecosystem to new frontiers. Moreover, it also became India’s second most valued logistics startup with BlackBuck’s app having over 2 million downloads, continuing its dominant position as the largest trucking platform.
In 2020, when the logistics industry had come to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, BlackBuck came up with an initiative called ‘Move India’ which aimed to kickstart the movement of trucks and goods across the country to revive the broken supply chain. Under this initiative, the commission charged to truckers was completely waived off to encourage them to resume operations. Keeping the risks of the pandemic in mind, several safety nets were also provided to them such as direct money transfers (DMTs) and trip insurance.
As a result, more than 500,000 fleet owners, with over 10 million trucks, were allowed to discover demand, get access to services including FASTag, GPS, and Fuel Cards, and earn more.
The coronavirus pandemic affected the logistics sector greatly as a restriction on transport and movement resulted in the majority of the industry being on a standstill. To deal with this issue, Blackbuck is planning to foray into financial services with an aim to help its trucking partners with insurance and working capital needs. This will help the company not only double its expansion but also increase its presence in the trucking community.
The company is planning to take over the global market, last year in 2020 it entered Europe by opening an office in Poland. Now it’s running pilots for its trucking management solutions to disrupt the European logistics market.
In 2021, according to research reports, the estimated size of the Indian logistics market was $215 billion. Meanwhile, the industry was growing at a CAGR of 10.5%.
According to the “Intercity Logistics Market Study” released by RedCore, the road market logistics in India is estimated to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 8% in the next 5 years and is expected to reach $330 billion by 2025.
The truck population in India is growing rapidly at a rate of 15% every year, bringing the current number to over 2,000 trucks per million population.
Loaded, And Reloaded: How BlackBuck Turned Into A Trucking Unicorn (Rajiv Singh, Forbes, July 29, 2021)
The upside and downside of the Maersk-BlackBuck truck aggregation deal (P Manjo, The Hindu Business Online, August 19, 2019)
Blackbuck- The Rich Trucker (Suraj Iyyengar, IIT Tech Ambit, November 1, 2018)
Blackbuck brings Uber-like efficiency to India's truck owners (Meghna Rao, Tech in Asia, March 4, 2016)