Logistics startup BlackBuck touches nearly $1 bn valuation in latest funding round

Logistics startup BlackBuck touches nearly $1 bn valuation in latest funding round
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Zinka Logistics Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which owns business-to-business (B2B) technology-enabled logistics startup BlackBuck, has raised another $24.6 million (Rs 172.3 crore at current exchange rate) as part of an ongoing funding round.

According to the company’s filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Cayman Islands-based Ithan Creek Master Investors (Cayman) LP led the funding with a $14.7 million infusion (Rs 103.3 crore at current exchange rate). Previous investor International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is the private-sector investment arm of the World Bank, accounted for the rest.

Ithan is managed by US-based Wellington Management Company LLP. Founded by Philadelphia-based accountant Walter Morgan in 1928, Wellington is a private, independent firm with assets under management of over $1 trillion.

By TechCircle estimates, BlackBuck’s current valuation stands at approximately $924 million (Rs 6,461.4 crore at current exchange rate).

E-mail queries to BlackBuck co-founder and chief executive Rajesh Yabaji did not get a response till the time of publishing this report.

Last month, BlackBuck had raised $36 million (Rs 249.8 crore then) from existing investors Accel and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital.

BlackBuck has been raising funding in multiple tranches at regular intervals since October last year and, as a result, its valuation has soared.

Cumulatively, BlackBuck has raised around $145 million in the last seven months.

In March 2019, BlackBuck raised $43.53 million (Rs 303.51 crore then) from Goldman Sachs and B Capital.

In December 2018, the firm raised Rs 87.02 crore ($12.43 million then) from previous investors Sands Capital and IFC. It was valued at $202-207 million (Rs 1,413.47-1,448.46 crore) in that round, by TechCircle estimates.

Two months before that, it secured Rs 202.96 crore ($27.4 million then) in a funding round led by new investor Sequoia Capital India and joined by previous investors Accel and Sands Capital.

BlackBuck

The venture was founded in 2015 by Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur graduates Yabaji, Chanakya Hridaya and Ramasubramaniam B. The company provides logistics solutions for long-haul trucking. It brings together shippers and truckers through its online marketplace to facilitate inter-city freight transport.

BlackBuck, which is currently present in over 1,000 locations across the country, has more than 200,000 trucks and over 8,500 shippers on its network.

The firm counts among its clients Asian Paints, Unilever, Coke, Britannia, Godrej, Marico, Jyothy Laboratories and EID Parry.

The venture is among the well-funded startups in the logistics-technology segment. A few months ago, the company announced that it will set up an independent fintech firm to deliver financial services to the trucking industry.

For the financial year 2017-18, BlackBuck’s operating revenues rose nearly 58% even as losses widened on account of higher expenses. Operating revenue grew to Rs 888.8 crore for 2017-18, from Rs 563 crore the previous year.

Net losses widened to Rs 116.7 crore from Rs 86.5 crore during the period.

Deals in the segment

March 2019: Gurugram-based logistics company Delhivery Pvt. Ltd  raised $413 million (Rs 2,890 crore) in a funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund to become the country’s first logistics-tech unicorn.

February 2019: Xpressbees, an Alibaba Group-backed e-commerce logistics company, raised Rs 35 crore ($5 million then) in venture debt from InnoVen Capital.

February 2019: Logistics-technology firm Rivigo raised $35.6 million in a fresh round of funding from previous investors Warburg Pincus and SAIF Partners to inch closer towards unicorn status.

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