Bengaluru: Trucking logistics start-up Fortigo Network Logistics Pvt Ltd has raised about $10 million in Series A funding from existing investors Accel Partners and Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, according to regulatory filings sourced from data platform Tofler.
Fortigo co-founder Vivek Malhotra, who started the early-stage venture in late 2015 with former Genpact executive Anjani Mandal, confirmed that the start-up had closed a Series A round. Bengaluru-based Fortigo had raised about $2 million in seed funding from both Nilekani and Accel at the time of its launch.
Malhotra said Fortigo would use the funds to expand its current network of trucks, invest in building its core technology product further and help small and medium-sized fleet owners in getting on the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), among other things. Fortigo will also look to build out a payments platform for the logistics industry with the funds, Malhotra said.
He said Fortigo currently has about 6,500 trucks on its platform and will scale up rapidly to accommodate “close to 50,000 trucks by sometime next year."
“With the proposed GST coming up and growing importance of electronic payments in business transactions, we expect the Fortigo Network to play a significant role in transforming the unorganized and fragmented transport industry. As India’s only freight exchange enabled with transactions, Fortigo also provides unique value-adds including electronic payments at primary as well as secondary levels," said Subrata Mitra, partner at Accel Partners India.
Fortigo is currently building a fleet management service for truck owners that will help them manage and track their inventory more efficiently and help save logistics costs. The technology platform also helps truck drivers plan journeys more effectively and reduce the possibility of delays in transportation. Malhotra and Mandal are former executives of technology services firm Headstrong, which was acquired by Genpact for $550 million in 2011.
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The trucking logistics sector has witnessed a significant boom over the past five years and a number of early-stage ventures, including Blackbuck (Zinka Logistics Solutions Pvt. Ltd) and Rivigo, have attempted to tap the sector. Mint reported in February that Blackbuck, which counts Accel and Flipkart among existing investors, has received a commitment of $30 million from a clutch of new and existing investors for a Series C funding round.
In April, Nilekani and Accel had also backed a business-to-business agri-marketing platform called Ninjacart. In December, Nilekani had invested an additional $5 million in Bengaluru-based e-commerce start-up 10i Commerce Services, after first backing the venture in late 2015.
Over the past two years, Nilekani has been a prolific investor in India’s fast-growing early-stage start-up ecosystem.
Nilekani, who has invested in at least half a dozen start-ups alongside Accel, has so far backed ventures such as Sedemac Mechatronics, aerospace start-up Team Indus, digital publishing venture Juggernaut, robotics start-up Systemantics India Pvt. Ltd and e-commerce start-up 10i Commerce, among others.
In an earlier interview, Nilekani had said that he believes in backing ventures and entrepreneurs who are building technology-based products that can solve India-specific problems at a large scale and rapid pace.
“My involvement with startups is beyond personal investments. What I’m interested in is a transformational impact which will accelerate India from an informal to a formal economy. One of the big trends that we’re seeing now is a big push towards creating companies that leverage Indian things and capitalize on the Indian opportunity. I am an evangelist for that," the 61-year-old billionaire said in an interview in November.