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Delhivery leading e-commerce logistics market is not a winner-takes-all game, says expert

Sandeep Soni

E-commerce logistics startup Delhivery this month catapulted to the hallowed unicorn club with the valuation hitting around $1.5-billion mark after it raised around $400 million from SoftBank, Carlyle Group and Chinese conglomerate Fosun. While the rise of Delhivery has been quite spectacular since its beginning in 2011 to become India’s first unicorn in logistics technology space, but it would leave room big enough, unlike e-commerce, food markets etc., for other startups including Ecom Express, Xpressbees, Shadowfax etc. in the e-commerce logistics space to have a piece of the pie. India’s e-commerce retail logistics market size last year (as per a KPMG report) was worth $1.35 billion.

Against $652 million raised by Delhivery so far, its competitors sit on a much lesser pile of equity funds. For instance, Xpressbees has raised $157 million, Wow Express has got $7.2 million, Shadowfax has $40 million raised, and Ecom Express has raised around $180 million, so far as per deals tracker Crunchbase.

“I don’t think it’s a winner-takes-all market. In the venture space there are a few companies that get a lion s share of mind with investors and, therefore, a lion s share of the money. When a lot of money chases a limited number of deals, it is inevitable that a few companies raise a lot of capital, as has happened in the e-commerce and other spaces as well,” Devangshu Dutta, CEO at retail consulting firm Third Eyesight told Financial Express Online.

Delhivery, which grew to more than 21,000 team members last year, delivers to 1,700 cities in India and has 3,500 clients, as per data available on its website. The company claims of shipping 4 lakh products daily.

“They (Delhivery) invested in technology, raised successive rounds of funding, and created a certain amount of traction. With multiple funding rounds, your investors also start telling your story to the market and the story gets amplified,” said Dutta.

Beyond, e-commerce logistics, it is the market for long-haul logistics to maximise efficiency for underutilized trucks and optimising time and cost for shippers, that has Blackbuck and Rivigo among top players.

Blackbuck, which raised $43 million from Goldman Sachs and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin s B Capital earlier this month has also become India s second most-valuable logistics startup after Delhivery. The data sourced from business signals platform showed that the startup s valuation has hit $862 million (Rs 6,039 crore) mark, ahead of its competitor Rivigo s $526 million valuation.

Delhivery’s revenues for FY18 reportedly stood at Rs 1,070 crore — 42 per cent up from the preceding year while losses went marginally up from to Rs 684 crore from Rs 630 crore.