Rajesh Yabaji Co-Founder & CEO, Blackbuck
Rajesh Yabaji Co-Founder & CEO, Blackbuck

BlackBuck raises fresh funds in series D round

  • Goldman Sachs arm, Accel Partners led the $150 million funding round
  • Deal said to value online freight service provider at close to $950 mn

MUMBAI : Zinka Logistics Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which operates online freight service provider BlackBuck, said it has raised $150 million ( 1,050 crore) in a Series D equity funding round led by Goldman Sachs Investment Partners and Accel Partners.

While the Bengaluru-based did not disclose further details, a person familiar with the transaction pegged the pre-money valuation of the startup at close to $950 million, within striking distance of becoming a unicorn.

The Series D round also saw participation from several new investors, including Wellington Partners Technology, Sequoia Capital, B Capital and LightStreet, as well as from its existing investors—Accel Partners, US-based Sands Capital and International Finance Corp.

With the latest funding round, the total investment in the company to date has touched $230 million ( 1,600 crore). Significantly, the investment has come at a time when venture capital investments in business-to-business (B2B) startups have been on a rise.

On 9 January, Mint reported that the year 2018 saw 28% higher investments in B2B startups at $3.09 billion compared to $2.41 billion recorded in 2017.

“Currently, the market is fragmented and inefficient due to highly manual and opaque processes, leading to poor experiences for stakeholders across the value chain. We believe that with its technology-enabled approach to logistics and associated services, Blackbuck is well positioned to better serve the needs of shippers, fleet owners, and truck drivers," said Sami Ahmad, head of Asia for Goldman Sachs investment partners venture capital & growth equity team.

BlackBuck was founded in April 2015 by former ITC Ltd executives Rajesh Yabaji and Chanakya Hridaya along with transport industry veteran Ramasubramaniam B. It acts as a marketplace connecting potential customers with truck owners and freight operators for inter-city transport of goods. The company counts Tata Steel Ltd, JSW Steel Ltd, ITC Ltd, Asian Paints Ltd and Britannia Industries Ltd among its existing clients and operates over 3,00,000 partner trucks on its platform across India.

“With fresh funding in place, BlackBuck will deepen its presence across the national market by investing heavily into technology for improving its product and data science capabilities," said Yabaji, chief executive officer and co-founder at BlackBuck. “Long haul road transportation is a $150 billion industry for India. Despite being the market leaders in this space, we believe we are still scratching the surface," Yabaji said.

In its next phase of expansion, the company plans to offer additional services such as insurance and vehicle resale.

Zinka had earlier raised $70 million in Series C funding in March 2017 from Sands Capital, IFC, Accel Partners and Flipkart. The latest round did not see investments from three of its existing investors— Flipkart, Tiger Global Management and Apoletto, which participated in its first $25 million funding round in 2015.

“Presently, Accel is the largest investor in the company with a holding of 20%, followed by Flipkart and Sands Capital," the person said.

As part of the fundraise, BlackBuck’s employees will have an option to liquidate 25% of their current stock options, taking the total value of the company’s employee stock option to over $43 million ( 300 crore).

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