How Two Ex-Amazon Employees Are Helping Startups Like Urban Ladder, Freshmenu With Logistics
Logistics management and services is one of the most challenging domains, yet one of the most important sectors in India. It’s a necessity for almost every industry today which is a tedious task to operate.
Founded by ex-Amazon employees, Locus Management Platform (Locus) helps local companies and enterprises in courier, e-commerce, food delivery, FMCG and other verticals to optimize their logistics. The startup offers two capabilities to clients - to build - using a cluster of APIs, to enable developers embed it into their apps, and track delivery using Locus’ platform, and to customize, that large clients can brand for themselves.
Making the first algorithm for his own sister
Nishith Rastogi spoke to Entrepreneur Media as to what really motivated his co-founder Geet Garg and him to venture into this space.
“I have been excited about the whole location business for quite some time. There was a ruling back in 2011 which said all phones need to have their GPS chips to support 911 services. That meant that the hardware will get commoditized and this ecosystem will come up," he said.
The infamous Uber incident in Delhi-NCR region got Nishith thinking about the importance of tracking the location of near and dear ones. They built and algorithm that could track the routes taken by a driver and traffic, and could thereby use this information to monitor the intention of the driver. The duo first made this device for Nishith’s sister in early 2015.
Locus was founded mid last year, by Nishith, a BITS Pilani alumnus and Geet, IIT Kharagpur alumnus, who worked together at Amazon and has emerged from RideSafe, an app they built over a route deviation engine for travel safety for women.
Gaining investors’ interest
Both Nishith and Geet worked at the AWS Machine learning team at Amazon prior to starting their own venture. The startup received $2.75mn in Series A funding led by Exfinity Venture Partners along with Blume Ventures, BeeNext and Rajesh Ranavat (MD, Fung Capital). Existing investors also participated in this round. The start-up received seed funding from growX, Bhupen Shah, Manish Singhal, Amit Ranjan and others mid last year.
The company enables enterprises with technology to manage their deliveries, with features including, automated smart dispatches, tracking, and fleet visualization, proprietary geocoder and proprietary route deviation engine. The funding will be used to strengthen its technology offerings and expand the team.
What helped them build a commendable team?
The company has managed to attract a very talented set of 14 employees on to his board, which ranges from ex-Amazon and Google employees, to PhD holders and even an existing investor. The company believes in running smart and small teams. The company decided to provide an exhaustive list of facilities like laundry, maids, accommodation and internet apart from the financial component.
“You are solving hard problems. Sometimes you are at work for 36-40 hours at a stretch. You don’t want to break that zone. Many people just work for the first half of the week because it takes a lot of time to load context and they don’t want to break that context. Then they will crash for two days and at that time they should not be worried about from where the food is coming, are my clothes washed, etc,” Nishith said.
What’s the secret behind drawing talent?
Nishith said that most of his team members have the credibility and resume wherein they can be hired at any point by a larger firm for fancy perks! So what keeps them hooked to a startup?
“We have very honestly replicated why we joined the startup brigade. Both Geet and I used to work at one of the best teams in Amazon. Everybody wants to work with that team! We realized that we won’t have fun running a business which makes money running T-shirts. We genuinely need to solve hard problems and we are making an honest attempt at solving them,” he said.