(From left) BlackBuck co-founders Chanakya Hridaya, Ramasubramaniam B., and Rajesh Yabaji. Logistics startup BlackBuck has approached a bunch of investors, including Naspers and SoftBank, for funding. Photo: Mint
(From left) BlackBuck co-founders Chanakya Hridaya, Ramasubramaniam B., and Rajesh Yabaji. Logistics startup BlackBuck has approached a bunch of investors, including Naspers and SoftBank, for funding. Photo: Mint

BlackBuck eyes unicorn tag, Rivigo with fresh funding

Logistics startup BlackBuck has appointed JPMorgan as its investment banker for the proposed new funding round, which it aims to raise at $1 billion valuation

Bengaluru: Logistics startup BlackBuck is in funding talks to raise $150-250 million, as it seeks to capture the massive trucking market and take on bigger rival Rivigo, according to two people familiar with the development. The Bengaluru-based company is seeking a $1 billion valuation in this funding round, though it is unclear if investors would meet this price, said one of the people cited above.

BlackBuck (Zinka Logistics Solutions Pvt. Ltd) has appointed JPMorgan as its investment banker for the proposed new round, the two people cited above said.

The trucking startup has approached a bunch of investors, including Naspers and SoftBank, the people said. It has also initiated discussions with strategic investors for the fundraise, they said. None of the discussions has reached an advanced stage.

BlackBuck’s funding discussions come almost two months after it secured 202 crore in a round led by new investor Sequoia Capital. The company has so far raised over $100 million from investors including Accel Partners, Sands Capital and Tiger Global.

Emailed queries sent to BlackBuck and Naspers did not elicit a response.

A SoftBank spokesperson said, “We don’t comment on speculation."

Founded in 2015 by former ITC Ltd executives Rajesh Yabaji and Chanakya Hridaya, along with Ramasubramaniam B., a transport industry veteran, BlackBuck provides a marketplace that connects businesses with truck owners and freight operators for intercity transport of goods.

The firm recently launched an insurance offering for commercial vehicles in partnership with insurance company Acko.

BlackBuck competes with the likes of Rivigo and Fortigo.

Rivigo, the most valued logistics start-up in India at around $950 million, is in talks to raise up to $400 million, Mint reported in September.

While BlackBuck operates a marketplace of trucks, Rivigo runs an asset-heavy model, where the company owns a fleet of trucks, ensuring control over the delivery process and consistent and faster deliveries. It claims to reduce delivery time by 50-70% for customers.

BlackBuck has seen growth over the years, as it clocked 566 crore in revenue during the fiscal ended 2016-17, a jump from 81 crore in 2015-16, according to its regulatory filings with the ministry of corporate affairs. That said, it also experienced mounting losses: from 16.5 crore in FY16 to 86 crore in FY17.

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