Borzo bets on being lean and green as it targets 5X growth in India

There are over 5 million delivery partners globally registered on the Borzo (WeFast) platform including 2 million in India.


The gig economy in India is expected to see 23.5 million people being part of it by 2029-30, from the current 7.7 million gig workers according to NITI Aayog, the government’s premiere think-tank body. Thanks to digitalisation and the emergence of goods and services on demand, there is an ever-growing need for first- and last-mile delivery.

WeFast started its journey in 2012, it entered the Indian market in 2016. In 2021, WeFast was rebranded as Borzo globally. It accounts India as one of its fastest-growing markets globally, which is expected to see 5X growth over the coming years, says Rami Saab, CEO, Borzo.

In an interaction with Financial Express Online, Saab states that “India is displaying basically the biggest traction, and is probably one of the top priorities for us for the next two years.”

Rami Saab: “You have the ride-hailing companies trying to get into delivery, but moving people from point A to B is different than delivering goods. They have their own limitations.”

At present, the company has expanded its presence from 14 cities in the country to 22 geographies.

“The focus, however, is not just to expand geographies, but build a solid presence in the geography we are present to cater to our customers. This is especially important when we entered the hyperlocal enterprise segment last year,” says Eugene Panfilov, General Manager, Borzo India.

While the company does not share individual numbers, it says there are over 5 million delivery partners globally registered on the platform including 2 million in India. The active number of delivery partners for India is above 2 lakh.

Competition with bigger players

One of the key challenges for most companies engaging with gig workers is the ability to retain workers. Unlike, a formal job, gig workers do not have fixed working hours, salaries or benefits.

In the last-mile delivery segment, it means, the company which charges less commission and offers better route/trip planning will find success. Borzo states it addresses both needs, which has helped it be amongst the top 3 players in most geographies.

“I think the truth of the market is everybody’s been gradually competing on the same level playing field. You have the ride-hailing companies trying to get into delivery, but moving people from point A to B is different than delivering goods. They have their own limitation,” says Saab.

He points out for hyperlocal (food and grocery marketplace), may have a strong presence in a local region, but delivering across the entire city is a different ballgame for them.

“There are also e-commerce companies globally that are effectively SME players. We were born and grew by serving a multitude of different clients that want a multitude of different services. I think this is one of the assets of Borzo, the company plays on to be very asset-light. We are one of the most equity-efficient companies compared to some of the bigger players in this business.”

Expansion and electrification

Unlike most start-ups Borzo aims not to be a cash-burning company. In fact, as per Saab, the company is already profitable as of 2022.

Coming to new investments in expansion, Borzo aims to provide financial as well as non-financial incentives to its rider partners to motivate them to expand the company’s reach.

Eugene Panfilov says the company is looking to introduce innovative incentive schems for its rider partners.

One of the interesting things that Panfilov aims to start is providing pit-stop breaks in terms of reimbursement for refreshments to its rider partners. The company also recently announced healthcare insurance for its partners.

As is the case for most mobility-related companies, the option of growing green and reducing emissions has been a constant. Earlier last month, the company partnered Zecat (Zero Carbon Transportation) to electrify 10 percent of its fleet in the Delhi-NCR region in the coming few months.

Borzo is leasing out the e-two-wheelers from Zecat, and then in turn leasing them to its delivery partners. Going forward, the company aims to have 20 percent of its fleet delivery partners to be electric by end-2023.

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First published on: 30-03-2023 at 13:56 IST
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