Co-founder and Head of Sales of online trucking platform, Blackbuck, Chanakya Hridaya told BusinessLine that the company currently holds 33 per cent of the market share and expects to increase it to 50 per cent in 12-18 months.
We have a million transacting truckers on our platform and 8,000 physical touchpoints covering 1 lakh villages in India. The broader growth plan is to reach about 3 lakh villages in the country, in terms of coverage. To do that, I think we will require anywhere between 15,000-20,000 touch points across the country,” he added.
Valued at $1.02 billion in the last fundraise, Blackbuck connects shippers with truck owners digitally for inter-city logistics. In addition, the company also helps truckers with payment solutions such as FASTag, and enables fleet owners to track their trucks, among other things.
In FY21, Blackbuck reported an operating revenue of ₹867 crore compared with ₹2,236 crore in FY20, which is an almost 60 per cent drop. Hridaya attributed this drop to the Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020 which disrupted inter-city logistics.
However, the company is said to have recovered quickly from that initial impact. Hridaya said, “Covid was a wake-up call for a lot of truckers. It showed that not everything can be managed on calls or offline. Thus, intensifying the need for a digital solution like Blackbuck. This also coincided with FASTag regulation. The confluence of these two external factors helped in Blackbuck’s growth over the last one-and-a-half years.”
Over the last two years, Flipkart and Sequoia Capital-backed Blackbuck are said to have recovered completely from the Covid impact. The company added that 80 per cent of its growth has happened in the last few years, after the initial shock of Covid-19.
Blackbuck competes with multiple players for its various services such as Paytm, which also allows recharge FASTag, and companies like Netradyne, which offers telematics as one of their services to fleet owners, among others.
Commenting on the competition, Hridaya said, “Our competition does not look at commercial vehicle and truck owners as their sole customers and that is what differentiates Blackbuck from all the others. For us, the focus is on truck owners and we want to be a one-stop shop for their needs from fuel payment, to telematics, to FASTag etc.”
Further, Blackbuck also has a network of staff on ground educating truckers on using digital applications, building trust and driving that entire end-to-end experience for them on the platform. This is what differentiates us from all of the competitors, Hridaya added.
The company is currently focused on increasing its scale and acquiring more truckers. “The thrust is on acquiring as much of the market share as possible. As we keep acquiring more and more market share, all the revenue sources that we have will help us in getting to profitability in a timeframe of 12-18 months,” he said.