The shipping industry is the vessel upon which floats the world economy. With the surge in ecommerce, even smaller businesses are able to enjoy a global customer base, all facilitated by freight transport. But despite all the advances in technology, small businesses have a hard time tracking their packages, which range on an average between 10 and 1,000 or more a day.
Shivadeep Mahadi, Shashi Tripathi, and Ajaykumar R founded eShipz in April 2017 in Bengaluru to solve this problem for SMEs.
“Our platform provides supply chain visibility and reduces logistics cost for enterprises and provides this information based on a multi-carrier, multi-modal, and multi-platform basis on a single dashboard,” says Shivadeep.
Through eShipz, he adds, SMEs can reduce their order processing time by 80 percent and also reduce logistics cost by 20 percent using the startup’s courier recommendation engine and returns management system.
In the eight years of their working together, the co-founders understood the pain points of large enterprises, particularly when it came to express logistics. Prior to eShipz, they were at eCourierz, a tech startup for the B2C courier industry that works with more than 10,000 sellers across India.
“Medium and large enterprises have multiple sales channels (ecommerce websites) and courier contracts. The SMEs don’t have clear visibility of their orders and their tracking status on a single platform,” Shivadeep explains.
Shivadeep has 14 years of logistics experience. He has worked in DHL, Arshiya Cargo, and other logistics corporations. Shashi Tripathi has over eight years of logistics and sales experience. He has worked in Kerry Indev Logistics, and Arshiya Cargo. Ajaykumar R comes with 12 years of developing enterprise tech solutions, having worked at Dell EMC, OpenText, and Yahoo.
What eShipz does
Small businesses typically do order processing manually with two or three courier companies. This does not afford the business clear visibility of all order sourcing channels and shipped orders. As a result, they end up spending a lot of time tracking the status of these orders. This is especially so in the ecommerce sector.
Beyond visibility on a single platform, this method of operations also results in high returns of orders—as much as 20 percent at times—and prevents the company from accessing analytics of courier carriers to help them grow their business.
The startup’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) product works on a plug-and-play model for SMEs by integrating with their delivery channels. The dashboard gives a snapshot of fulfilled orders and those in transit, and the courier companies that the SME is working with for each.
eShipz operates on two models, one being the SaaS model where it charges businesses based on a per label/request created through its solution. The fee is based on subscription plans that range from quarterly to annual. For the second model, eShipz charges based on the total saving for an enterprise while using its courier services.
On the courier companies’ side, the startup works with SF Express, which is the largest carrier in China. It has developed shipping solutions for all parcel inflows into India.
The journey so far
“We spent over a month at a company’s warehouse to understand their pain points. We then designed the basic framework of a solution based on the feedback of this client and also our personal experiences. After the final implementation, the enterprise paid us a subscription plan for a year in 2018. They then recommended us to different companies in their domain,” says Co-founder Shashi.
The founders invested Rs 10 lakh together to launch the first version of the commercial product. They are currently seed funded by Axilor Ventures.
Early challenges included finding the right talent, as sales cycles are long. “Each of these big enterprises require special handling in terms of tech knowledge and expertise and this talent is difficult to find,” says Shivadeep. The startup now has a team of 20 people.
The startup is currently working with 80 enterprises and wants to take its solutions to 1,000 large enterprises in India over the next 18 months. “This way we will be able to process approximately two million shipments per month,” says Shivadeep. eShipz does about 100,000 shipments a month.
Clients range from small shippers of less than 200 packages per day to multi-national shippers that process multiples of thousands of packages per day. For now it is tracking shipments only to China.
With clever management of courier pickups and drops eShipz claims to reduce overall logistics cost, order processing time, and provide a clear idea of where their courier is across the world. The businesses use an app to track their packages.
According to IBEF the logistics industry is a $200 billion industry and three percent of that industry opportunity is the spend on technology.
eShipz competes with logitech companies such as Fortigo, Descartes and EPG. Currently, the startup clocks a revenue of $4,000 per month. It is expecting to achieve $500,000 turnover for 2020.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)