Logistics can be a complex business in a nation like India, where technology and network go hand in hand in urban areas, but remote rural areas lack access and connectivity.
With digitisation being the buzzword in the last one year, and every industry adapting to the latest technology to efficiently run businesses, the idea for a unique digital logistics platform was not far away.
Zipaworld, a logistics e-mall service provider, was conceptualised during the pandemic to make logistics-related critical business solutions more accessible for manufacturers in the remotest areas of the country.
The platform aggregates the complete logistics process including cargo query management, price comparisons, e-booking, freight forwarding, transportation, customs clearance, automated documentation and online payment gateways.
It ensures live tracking through its single gateway, promoting prompt and paperless transactions. Major pain points like cost-effectiveness, time-efficiency and service efficiency are taken into consideration.
Zipaworld was founded by Ambrish Kumar in early 2020. “Primarily, the increasing logistics and supply chain cost, which is almost 14.5 percent of the GDP in India, compels for integration and digitalisation of the processes offering single window solutions,” he says.
Explaining the reason behind founding the company in a difficult year, Ambrish says,
“The pandemic compelled many organisations and sectors to embrace technology for business continuity and remote working. The expansive logistics industry was yet to fully adapt to technological advancement – which was the sheer need of the hour.”
Over just the last one year, the ecommerce segment has seen major overhaul in conventional logistics – by focusing on customer experience, enabling effortless booking of consignments, smooth transaction gateways, transparent tracking and accurate delivery predictions.
Ambrish has previous experience working in logistics companies like Eastern Cargo Carriers and APM Terminals before starting up.
Zipaworld began by automating air freight logistics for manufacturers, exporters, importers, and freight forwarders, who could check competitive pricing options, book shipments, get automated freight documents, pay the freight online, track their shipments, get deals and discounts around the clock.
By creating an online logistics e-mall, the platform managed to get 20 small, medium and large businesses in retail, FMCG and pharma as customers. It has almost 30 vendors in its first year of operations, serving various services like first and last mile connectivity, customs brokerage, warehousing and so on.
“Zipaworld facilitates not just international air freight booking, but also domestic air cargo booking within all Indian cities. A customer can also book their cargo through road and other inland freight transportation options. The convenience of booking cargo door-to-destination, involving multi-modal transportation within India and across the borders is what we offer,” says Ambrish.
The founder claims the startup has managed to generate a turnover of Rs 10 crore by December 2020. (Maybe you could add a line or two here about how the timing of the launch (pandemic) helped in the quick traction)
The company is based in Chennai and has a 50-member team.
Zipaworld is also developing an ocean freight model, which they plan to roll out by mid-2021.
“This will enable logistics service seekers to book freight through all modes of cargo transportation with the same ease as one books their travel and vacation online,” says Ambrish.
According to a Make in India report, the logistics and supply chain market in India is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 10.5 percent until 2025.
“We can see a lot of traditional players embracing technology and a lot of startups entering the arena to make supply chain seamless. However, another fact that is observed is that all these developments are also taking place at entity level and not in an integrated way. The end customer and most stakeholders still lack transparency and visibility in both B2B and B2C. The main reason is loopholes in the supply chain,” says Ambrish.
Business and revenue model
Zipaworld’s first customer happened to be a pharmaceutical manufacturer and trader. The Zipaworld portal helped them improve their supply, procurement, exports, and distribution turnaround time to less than a month, when previously it took a couple of months. The business was able to focus on their core business more, and maximise production and distribution activities during the pandemic.
Ambrish has self-funded the company, and he does not want to disclose the numbers as yet. Zipaworld makes money on a marketplace model.
When customers make a booking on the platform, the Airway Bill, Bill of Lading, or other transport documents get automatically created after which payment is done online. “As we have tie-ups and contract vendors and carriers, the pricing that is shown on the portal is always realistic and competitive. The revenue comes from incentives and performance-linked bonuses, and volume-based contracts with our various vendors, and air and ocean carriers,” says Ambrish.
Over the next 18 months, the startup will be tapping into Machine learning, AI, and IoT to ensure visibility and transparency in the movement of goods.
Zipaworld competes with Shadowfax, EzyHaul, ANS Commerce, Fortigo, and LoBB. However, in air freight and ocean freight, Zipaworld’s competitors include AtaFreight and Freightwalla. Currently, India has two unicorns in the logistics sector – Delhivery and Rivigo.