India’s Blackbuck acquires unicorn status through USD 67 million funding


For a while now, the trucking system in India has been quite inefficient, which has motivated several startups to focus on digitizing the freight and logistics process. One such company, Blackbuck has managed to attain unicorn status after securing USD 67 million during a Series E funding round.

The latest fundraising was led by Tribe Capital, VEF, and IFC Emerging Asia Fund, valuing the Bengaluru-based startup at USD 1.02 billion. This also makes it the 16th Indian startup to join the unicorn club.

The company will use the fresh investments to strengthen its presence in India while launching new features on its marketplace. For those unaware, BlackBuck specializes in connecting businesses with freight operators and truck owners.

The startup has created a simplified platform for Indian truck drivers, who are typically not very literate. This platform helps these drivers to accept work as well as navigate to their last stop using Google Maps, whereas businesses can place orders using a similar app.

Approximately 700,000 truckers and 1.2 million heavy-duty vehicles are currently connected to the BlackBuck platform. The company’s rapid growth can be attributed to the Indian government’s digitalization efforts and rising smartphone as well as internet penetration.

In this context, BlackBuck Chief Executive Rajesh Yabaji was quoted saying that when the company was founded in 2015, only 40% of truck owners had smartphones. By 2019, around 100% and 70% of truck owners and drivers respectively had smartphones, primarily due to the advent of low-cost Android devices, he added.

During this time, BlackBuck shifted to an app-based system instead of relying on call centers for booking orders. It appears that this has managed to reduce the dependency on brokers, who essentially help connect them to truckers, especially in smaller regions.

BlackBuck also has a presence in Europe; however, its international play is still in its early stages as its focus mostly remains on India. The startup consists of around 10,000 customers including Jindal, L&T, Vedanta, Tata, Asian Paints, Coca Cola, Reliance, and Hindustan Unilever.

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