The already-crowded logistics space has one more entrant with Smart Express, founded by Blue Dart’s former top official Yogesh Dhingra, commercially launching its services this week, playing on the discount card that will be average 20 per cent of the prevailing market price.
Before launching Smart Express, which was soft-launched early October, Dhingra was the chief financial officer and chief operating officer at Blue Dart, which is among the major air-express logistics companies.
The domestic logistics industry is fragmented with over 1,000 players, which include large domestic and international players like Allcargo, Blue Dart and India Post; and DHL, UPS and FedExpress, apart from many start-ups focused on e-commerce deliveries.
According to industry reports, the domestic market is USD 215 billion and is annually growing at 10.5 per cent. But, of this, only around 15 per cent of the overall market is with organised players and the online vertical is around USD 20 billion which is set to become a USD 30-billion market by 2025.
Dhingra, an industry veteran having spent nearly three decades in the logistics space, told PTI that Smart Express will primarily focus on institutional clients and will offer an average 20 per cent discount on the market rate, and will commence operations before Diwali.
The soft launch was across all the top-8 metros, and with the commercial launch, it will serve 30 cities and will have 60 service centres within a month, he said adding that by December next, it will serve the top-100 cities.
The company has already hired 550 persons and a majority of them have been given ESOPS (employee stock ownership plans) and the headcount will touch 750 by December, said Dhingra, adding that he will hire 150 persons every quarter.
On the client side, he said the focus will be institutional players and will mostly cover those in the BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance), e-commerce, electronics and pharma/medical spaces.
“We will begin with only air service now and will start road from April. On both the format, we will offer at least 20 per cent average savings,” he said.
The company has secured a seed capital of Rs 100 crore from IIFL India Private Equity Fund and Smiti Holding & Trading Company, which is the family office of Jalaj Dani, said Dhingra adding that of the total funding, Rs 85 crore is from these investors and Rs 10 crore from him.
While IIFL has put in Rs 50 crore, Rs 35 crore has come from the Danis and Rs 10 crore from him and the other top management team. He said 25 per cent equity is held by him/group and employees and the rest 75 per cent is with the investors.