Launched in October 2015 in Mumbai, SmartShift is the first digital mobility startup incubated by the $17.8 bn Mahindra Group. It is essentially a technology enabled marketplace for intra-city logistics that enables cargo owners to find the right transporters based on the shipment size, weight, and other requirements. The service can be accessed through the Android mobile app, website and a dedicated call centre.
During his tenure as DGM of strategy for automotive business (Mahindra), Kausalya Nandakumar, currently the CEO of SmartShift along with a small band of fellow entrepreneurs came
together to work on understanding the ecosystem of small commercial vehicles and SMEs who use these vehicles for their cargo transport. After 2000+hours of insighting, mapping several industry’s supply chain end-to-end, it was obvious to the team that the answer lay beyond the supply of vehicles. A suitable solution was required for the entire delivery process so that the customer is assured and could solely focus on growing his business. That was the time when SmartShift was born and helped businesses to grow.
The sheer size of logistics industry is quite astronomical, says Nandakumar. “It is pegged at $130 bn and we estimate that around 35-40% ($50 bn) will largely be in the intra-city space. On a daily basis, more than 50m SMEs spends approximately 30% of their time to find the right cargo transporter. And with 18 lakh small commercial vehicles completing millions of transactions daily, the opportunity for a marketplace like SmartShift is enormous.” The company received its initial seed funding from the Mahindra Group.
SmartShift follows a prepaid commission model wherein, the transporters need to deposit a minimum balance in a wallet for them to get clients using the platform. “We have seen that the majority of our transporters have willingly
deposited high amounts on the wallet for that enables them to get high-ticket transactions. We charge commission from drivers for each successful transaction,” informs Nandakumar.
Nandkumar further adds that the company has received a positive response in both Mumbai and Hyderabad on the product and its features. “Within 9 months of operation, we have seen over 1,500 customers using our platform and registration of more than 1,000 transporters. Our daily app downloads are on the rise, and we have been successfully able to save for each of our customers, on an average, 25% of his daily spend on logistics. ”
SmartShift promises to provide a continuous value proposition for its stakeholders across the country by improving their efficiency and productivity. This year, its has tied up with various partners. Some of the names include the like of Lendingkart, who provides collateral free loans to business owners; MIBL—to provide discounts on vehicle insurance and IOCL to provide fuel incentives to transporters, and many others.
“Over the next two years, we plan to expand our presence to over 1000+ pin codes across India’s metros and other Tier-1 cities. By 2018, we shall touch the lives of more than half a million stakeholders, that is, both transport partners and load owners,” asserts Nandakumar.