Locus.sh, an Indian startup which provides a platform for enterprises to manage intra-city logistics for scheduled and on-demand deliveries with data analytics capabilities, is expanding operations into Southeast Asia.
The Bangalore-headquartered company has live initial engagements with major e-commerce, third-party logistics, and retail players across countries in the region, Locus Co-founder and CEO Nishith Rastogi told e27.
“Some of the clients are at a live pilot stage, and are excited at the value we can accrue for them in terms of reduction in logistics cost. Thus, the initial traction has been encouraging, and motivates us to make further inroads into all the major countries in Southeast Asia,” Rastogi said.
Established in 2015, Locus helps organisations automate and optimise their logistics, while they focus on customers. This, the firm claims, results in reduced logistics cost, on-time deliveries and a better end user experience. The platform also helps companies dispatch, track and manage their on-field workforce efficiently.
By 2020, the company aims to automate all the human decisions involved in sending a package from point A to point B, using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
“Over the last two years and half, we have worked across industries and accrued value for enterprises of all sizes and scale in India. Having mastered the specific problem statements that the geography presents, and the associated change management, we are confident of our international expansion plans as our platform is now ready to be deployed across countries with specific problems of their own. We see huge similarities between the Indian and the Southeast Asian markets on how e-commerce as a industry is shaping up, and we want to utilise our learnings in this space to add value to clients right from day one,” stated Rastogi.
In his view, for countries like Indonesia, where the logistics cost as a percentage of GDP is greater than 20 per cent, a number which is double that of Singapore and Malaysia, there’s a huge potential for cost reduction and savings, and this is where Locus fits in.
In Southeast Asia, Locus’s key strategy is to analyse the growth potential and challenges faced by the e-commerce and third-party logistics industry. “We settled on targeting the Southeast Asia region following an internal research that shows the constraints faced by the market are very similar to that of India, including similar consumption patterns, poor road infrastructure, inconsistent address structuring, and a burgeoning tech-friendly user base validated by smart phone/ mobile-internet penetration.”
On being asked about the plans to integrate blockchain into the platform, Rastogi said: “With consumers being more and more aware, they want to know if the companies they support share the same values as them, and for that transparency is a must. Plus, when dealing with companies that work across countries with multi nodal points, the parent company will want to know where the product is and where it is being processed.”
“It’s imperative across industries, to have solid records to trace each product to its source. With a focus on introducing efficiency, consistency and transparency in supply chains across industries, adding blockchain capabilities fits right into our plans. This capability will further strengthen the Locus solution, and our product team is forming a strategy around incorporating this in our pipeline,” he noted.
In May 2016, Locus raised US$2.75 million Series A led by Exfinity Venture Partners, with participation from Blume Ventures, Beenext and Fung Capital managing director Rajesh Ranavat. Prior to that, the venture raised an undisclosed seed round from growX, Bhupen Shah, Manish Singhal, Amit Ranjan and others in 2015.