Ever wondered how daily supplies or consumer goods reach the villages and talukas of rural India from the industrial towns and manufacturing hubs? Sharath Chandangoudar and Amit Akkihal did. So they studied the market for last-mile delivery in rural India, identified the stakeholders and the bottlenecks, and founded Tusker Transport in 2019, an intra-regional B2B last-mile logistics and transportation aggregator platform for owner-operated trucks and micro-entrepreneurs based in tier-II, III and IV towns. With a transporter pool of over 12,000 vehicles, Tusker today services remote rural districts of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa, aiming to provide last-mile delivery solutions across 6,000 pincodes by the end of 2024.
“We are focusing on rural markets where 70% of the retail consumption happens. Our clients are from across sectors – agricultural inputs, FMCG, textiles, pharmaceutical products, consumer durables, construction hardware, etc. – basically anything and everything which wholesalers and distributors need to transport to retailers in rural India,” says Amit Akkihal, co-founder and CEO. Tusker today serves around 750 pincodes.
The transporters, all crowdsourced, form a hub-and-spoke model which has elastic capacity, catering to the variable demands of channel partners. The channel partners are micro-entrepreneurs, basically wholesalers and distributors who take up 300-350 sq feet of floor space as micro-depots and need to transport goods over 60-200 km. Since Tusker’s technology platform allows for aggregation of demand across a large set of daily customers, it is able to consolidate the loads of multiple shippers onto each truck and pass these cost-efficiencies on to customers. It offers track and trace facility to its clients besides waybill and tax compliance and access to trade finance.
“We plan to expand to new markets in Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, and also to two market clusters in Tamil Nadu, one cluster in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and one in Gujarat,” says Akkihal. “We are servicing 50,000 customers now, thus catering to a population of 20 mn, and will take it to 300,000 in the next one year,” he adds.
The Bengaluru-based startup had received non-equity funding from the Shell Foundation and grants via the Innovation Prize from MIT in 2018. It is looking to close Series A funding in August. It claims to have achieved an ARR (annual recurring revenue) of $1 million with Rs 2,000-crore GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) turnover.