Blackbuck raises $70 million from Sands Capital, others

Existing investors Accel Partners, Flipkart Ltd and angel investor Sanjiv Rangrass also participated in Blackbucl’s latest round of funding


Blackbuck acts as a marketplace connecting potential customers, who are essentially large and small businesses, with truck owners and freight operators for inter-city transport of goods.
Blackbuck acts as a marketplace connecting potential customers, who are essentially large and small businesses, with truck owners and freight operators for inter-city transport of goods.

Bengaluru: Online freight aggregator Blackbuck (Zinka Logistics Solutions Pvt. Ltd) has raised $70 million from a clutch of investors in a Series C funding round, the logistics company said on Tuesday.

US-based venture capital firm Sands Capital and World Bank arm International Finance Corp. (IFC) invested in Blackbuck for the first time, while existing investors Accel Partners, Flipkart Ltd and angel investor Sanjiv Rangrass also participated in the latest round. Sands Capital led the round.

Mint reported on 27 February that the company received commitments of $30 million from Sands Capital, IFC, Accel Partners and Flipkart and was in talks with investors to raise at least $30 million more after rival Rivigo raised $75 million from Warburg Pincus in November last year.

Two other existing investors, Tiger Global Management and Apoletto, the personal investment firm of Russian billionaire and founder of DST Global, Yuri Milner, did not participate in the latest round.

Blackbuck had earlier raised $30 million in quick succession in 2015—$5 million from Accel Partners and Flipkart in June and $25 million from Tiger Global, Accel Partners, Apoletto and Flipkart in September.

Blackbuck was founded in April 2015 by former ITC Ltd executives Rajesh Yabaji and Chanakya Hridaya along with Ramasubramaniam B., a transport industry veteran.

The firm acts as a marketplace connecting potential customers, who are essentially large and small businesses, with truck owners and freight operators for inter-city transport of goods. It is also piloting a platform where truck owners and operators can access additional services to run a business—be it sale of trucks or purchase of insurance.

“Most of the funds will be deployed to build products and technology. To be frank, proceeds of the last round have still not been deployed completely. We have two business verticals, one on the corporate side, which accounts for 75% of the business, and another on the small and medium businesses side, which accounts for the rest,” said Yabaji, who is also CEO.

“The new platform is something that will provide the business the next wave of growth after the marketplace matures. Anything and everything which truckers require to run the business will be available on Blackbuck. Basic essentials like buying tyres, insurance or selling the trucks will all be part of this platform,” he added. The firm currently covers 300 locations across India and has about 100,000 truck owners and freight operators listed on its platform.

Its customers include ITC Ltd, Asian Paints Ltd and Britannia Industries Ltd.

According to documents available with the Registrar of Companies, Blackbuck recorded a revenue of Rs77.82 crore in the year ended March 2016, while losses stood at Rs16.48 crore.

A May 2015 report by research firm Novonous said the freight transport market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate, or CAGR, of 13.35% by 2020, while road freight movement is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15%.

The report said road freight comprises about 63% of all freight movement in the country.

The fund-raising by Blackbuck comes at a time when investors have turned cautious. Investment in Indian start-ups plummeted by almost a third last year from the heydays of 2014 and 2015, when venture capital firms queued up to invest at high valuations.

Online transport start-ups have borne the brunt of the slowdown. The number of inter-city transport start-ups founded last year dropped by almost a third to 47 as against 133 in 2015.

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