Nishith Rastogi and Geet Garg, both former employees of Amazon Web Services, had designed a geo-tracking app, RideSafe, for women’s safety in February 2015. However, they were pleasantly surprised when food tech companies started adopting RideSafe to monitor the movement of their delivery staff.
“Food tech was becoming big in India and start-ups were using RideSafe to track their delivery boys. They then asked if we had a centralised version of the same thing,” says Rastogi.
That got the duo thinking. Realising that that there was a huge opportunity in this sphere with technological innovation and geo-tracking in Indian logistics companies largely absent, the two launched Locus, a logistics automation start-up. The Locus platform is not directly involved in fulfilling the transporting needs of companies but facilitates the same through use of technology and its tracking mechanism. The start-up integrates the technology with the order management system of the company and matches the orders that have to be fulfilled with the size of the delivery fleet at each of the hubs.
It wasn’t an easy road for Locus to become a part of the traditional logistics sector in India. “One of the major challenges that we faced was resistance from delivery boys as they did not want to go ahead with this,” says Rastogi. “We communicated with the management to ensure that they rope in the delivery boys as stakeholders and beneficiaries of the system. They should be incentivised to use the technology to make the delivery process more efficient.”
Today Locus has brands such as Urban Ladder, Lenskart, Zomato, Licious and Quikr among its clients. It is also working directly with third-party logistics players such as Delhivery to integrate their technology into the latter’s back-end distribution system. Altogether, Locus has about 25 clients across India and Asia Pacific. Locus gets a commission of 5-25% on every order delivered by the client company using tech assistance from the start-up. It also charges a fixed rate as portion of the money that the company saves due to the automation facilitated by Locus.
“Our marketing and promotional expenses are negligible as we started selling our product only in the last three months. About 80% of our costs are on employment and their support,” Rastogi adds. Locus is eyeing 25-45% hike in revenues month-on-month and plans to on-board three to four large enterprise clients and about 10 non-enterprise clients by December 2016.
By December, Locus will be launching its do-it-yourself version for its smaller clients. It will also launch a combination of on-demand and scheduled delivery system for clients with high return rate such as fashion, which will help them optimise spare capacity of the delivery network. “When a delivery boy is out for delivery and there is spare capacity in his bag, we can take the incoming return request and combine it with a scheduled delivery,” Rastogi explains.