City-based logistics start-up Smart Express on Tuesday said it has raised Rs 100 crore in seed funding ahead of its launch in the festive season. The seed funding round is led by IIFL Private Equity Fund and other investors -- Smiti Holding & Trading Company (Jalan Dani family office), founder-promoter Yogesh Dhingra, and other co-founders, Smart Express said in a release. The startup is looking to launch operations during the forthcoming festive season in 30 cities, it said adding the plan is to set up 300 centers pan-India in the next three years.
The funds will be deployed for team building and creating Pick-Up and Delivery (PUD) and transit hub infrastructure to service customers across India, it said. Other key areas where the funds will be utilized include the development of technology to support operations and building innovative solutions that will enable customers to experience best-in-class services at optimal cost, the startup said. 'We are committed to building a platform that provides high service quality and better products for our customers at competitive price points through a transparent process,' said Dhingra.
A veteran in the logistics space with more than 27 years of experience, Dhingra has led several initiatives to build a robust automated infrastructure at Blue Dart, where he has served as CFO, COO and CSO. He played a major role in the acquisition of Blue Dart by DHL, according to the release. Smart Express is looking to create a unique position for itself by addressing the industry pain points with its experienced and seasoned team, faster transit time, innovative and differentiated services, and scalable asset-light model, the startup said.
Technology will be leveraged for consistently superior service delivery, real-time 360 visibility, it added. Vikrant Sibal, Senior Executive Vice President, IIFL AMC said, 'India's logistics space is vibrant and dynamic. In the current pandemic scenario, the importance of the sector has grown manifold. We are happy to embark on this exciting journey with the vastly experienced Smart Express Team.' Smart Express said it will build business across segments including business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), direct-to-consumer (D2C), customer-to-customer (C2C) and hyper-local delivery over a period.
As part of its unique service offering in the air express category, the company will provide AM/PM deliveries based on customer requirement, it said. Moreover, to reach out to customers who are unable to afford air services, the company will also offer packages with 48/72/96 hours deliveries for cost-effective solutions, according to the platform.