WIZ Freight, the two-year-old Chennai-based digital cross-border supply chain start-up, has acquired the India operations of the Switzerland-based M+R for an undisclosed sum. About 450 employees of M+R in India are being integrated with Wiz Freight, said Ramkumar Ramachandran, Co-Founder & Chairman, WIZ Freight. The integration should happen in the next 30 days, he said.
“We plan to acquire three or more companies to expand our presence,” he added.
Ramkumar Govindarajan, Co-Founder & CEO, WIZ Freight, said the company has earmarked around ₹300 crore investment in the next couple of years for R&D and a similar amount for inorganic investments.
Started with a handful of people, the start-up now has a revenue run rate of ₹1,500 crore with around 6,000 customers, including Mahindra Group, Adani, Marico, Chettinad and Ramco and 850 employees in 22 offices in India, and 70 outside the country, he said.
Expanding logistics space
In March 2022, WIZ Freight raised ₹275 crore in a mix of equity and debt led by Tiger Global, and participation by Axilor Ventures, Foundamental, Arali Ventures, Stride Ventures and Alteria Capital. This was the largest series A in the logistics space in India.
As part of its expansion, the company has set up the biggest of its kind tech and R&D centre in the city. It is claimed to be the largest R&D centre in Asia dedicated to cross-border shipping technology. Set up with an initial capital expenditure of ₹30 crore, the centre will facilitate tech-enabled innovation in the shipping industry to reduce costs, offer accurate end-to-end visibility, enable better upstream and downstream supply chain planning and execution and minimise carbon footprint.
The R&D centre will employ a team of 300 members in the field of data science, analytics, software and logistics, said Govindarajan.
Tech driven innovation
“We will use AI/ML based technology applications to predict the Expected Time of Arrival (ETA), intelligent shipment routing, dynamic pricing, demand/supply forecasting and OCR solutions for document extraction. The blockchain-based applications will help in digitising shipping documentation, and provide end-to-end visibility, carbon footprint calculation, and trade finance execution. We are committed to disrupting the current industry norms through tech-driven innovation and bringing greater efficiency that will benefit our clients in their business operations. The Tech and R&D centre will go a long way in supporting our ambition to be the most innovative, tech-focused, cross-border, supply chain management company,” he said.
Govindarajan said that the company is valued at around ₹5,000 crore. There is a proposal to raise around $150 million in the coming months, he said.
The company does around 6,000 shipments a month, with sea transport contributing to around 70 per cent, and air, the balance 30 per cent. For customers, it can manage things like digital full container load shipping, less than container load shipping, and customs clearance. “Using the digital form, we save 20-30 per cent of the cost, which we pass on to our customers,” he said when asked what advantage does a customer get by using the traditional way and the company’s digital platform to ship a cargo.