Porter: An Intracity Cargo Startup

According to ASSOCHAM India spends 14.4 percent of its GDP on logistics and transportation while developed countries spend less than 8 percent. The difference is mostly due to the inefficient freight market in India. The logistics sector, however, has been emerging as a goldmine of business opportunities due to the proliferation of ecommerce sites in the country. The founders of Porter were among the first ones to discover the market that was yet to be trodden by digital technology.      

Genesis of Porter

Pranav and Uttam have been friends since their days in IIT Kharagpur. Later they also worked together in JP Morgan. They often discussed their fascination with the Uber Business Model and how it altered the taxi business. It was one night while returning from office Uttam pointed out that the market was full of LCVs and he wasn’t sure that they were getting much business. They thought of it as a business opportunity but were advised against it by most of the entrepreneurs they met.

Nevertheless, they did a thorough research and survey with 500 partners across Mumbai. They collaborated with the ‘Naka Walas’ and SMEs to figure out the ground realities of Indian logistics. They started their logistics business, Porter, in August 2014 with a small furniture less office, basic CRM and two trucks. The founders sat on the floor and worked towards their vision of transforming logistics and fleet management in India through innovative technology.  

The Tech-enabled Logistics App

Porter gives a simple and hassle-free booking experience to registered individuals and SMEs to book vehicles on-demand or on fixed arrangement basis. The app can be downloaded from both the Play Store or the App Store. Based on the requirement, you can get access to the nearest wagon available through the app. Some user-friendly features of porter are real-time tracking of vehicles, precise ETA, structured pricing, digitized travel logs, and geo-fencing alerts – flagging and monitoring of trucks that deviate or are unusually delayed.

The Wagons in Porter’s Fleet

Super Ace (1.2 tonnes), Mahindra Bolero (1.5 tonnes),Tata Ace (0.8 tonnes),  and Tata 407 (2.2-2.5 tonne) are the wagons in Porter’s inventory. 

Growth Statistics 

Porter app has had more than 1 million downloads. It has about 30,000 driver-partners in 6 Indian cities and has made more than 3.5 million trips so far. In the Seed round, Porter raised $ 481K from Kaecapital in April 2015; in series A, it raised $5.5 million from Sequoia and Kaecapital and 5 Angel investors in June 2015; in series C, it raised $7.7 million from Mahindra.     

Chasing The Dream

The company began as an idea that was looked down upon by the business experts. But the founders pursued their vision and soon established a full-fledged business that has an estimated revenue of $2 million. India continues to witness the successful growth of startups that are not just solving problems but bringing economic welfare as employers and business associates to thousands.

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