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Online trucking platform BlackBuck on Thursday said it has raised $67 million as a part of its Series E funding round at a valuation of $1.02 billion, making it the newest entrant to India’s growing list of unicorn startups.

The fundraise was led by US-based Tribe Capital, IFC Emerging Asia Fund and VEF. Existing investors including Wellington Management, Sands Capital and International Finance Corporation also participated.

BlackBuck is the sixteenth startup and the first logistics firm to turn a unicorn this year. The startup is also backed by B Capital, Flipkart, Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global.

With the latest fundraise, the company plans to deepen its market penetration and launch new service offerings. The company will also invest heavily in product and data sciences capabilities to make its operations more efficient.

The six-year-old startup is a digital logistics provider connecting businesses and shippers with truck owners for inter-city logistics in minerals, metals, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) among other sectors.

Rajesh Yabaji, co-founder and chief executive of BlackBuck, said in an interview that the company is looking to foray into financial services and help its trucking partners with insurance and other working capital needs.

“The pandemic has been a challenging period and it has had a widespread impact on the trucker community. We want to now foray into financial services and provide all kinds of financing and working capital products to meet the needs of our trucking partners. We will also be providing insurance to these partners. Through this tranche of funding, we will be doubling down on expansion and increasing our penetration with the trucking community," said Yabaji.

BlackBuck has a network of more than 700,000 truckers operating 1.2 million trucks across India. It now plans to double its penetration to 1.4 million truckers in two years, said Yabaji. With the pandemic fuelling demand for digitized supply chains, more than 90% of BlackBuck’s trucking loads are now utilized by small and medium enterprises compared to large enterprises earlier, he said.

BlackBuck clocks more than 15 million transactions every month on its platform.

Through direct partnership with truckers, the logistics firm has also expanded its geographical coverage to 600 districts in the past two years, while providing pan-India coverage through 5000 channel partners.

“India’s supply chain and logistics industry is moving from paper and pencil to digital. BlackBuck’s ability to measure output and productivity growth has streamlined logistical challenges for the industry over a short time frame," said Arjun Sethi, co-founder and partner at Tribe Capital.

BlackBuck also entered Europe last year and is running pilots for its trucking management solution. It has opened an office in Poland as it looks to disrupt the European logistics market.

“At the IFC Emerging Asia Fund, we are excited to partner with Blackbuck in its next phase of growth. We have been impressed with how Blackbuck has continued to leverage technology and its deep understanding of the long-haul freight market to offer solutions that address typical pain points for both the truckers and shippers," said Saadia Khairi, fund head, IFC Emerging Asia Fund.

The startup is also scouting for acquisitions in the logistics market in a bid to deepen its engagement with the trucking community and offer newer digital solutions to customers and shippers.

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