Startup Spotlight: Dubai-Based Fleetroot Is Easing Last-Mile Delivery Hassles For Businesses Across The MENA In addition, the logistics platform also helps improve the safety and efficiency of connected operations by offering fleet management tools.
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This article is part of an ongoing series covering startups that have been a part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) accelerator program.
When the move towards digitization began to first alter the MENA region's business landscape a few years ago, Moidu Chandanam, the founder and CEO of Dubai-based logistics platform Fleetroot, observed that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) -or "the little guys," as he calls them- were the last to reap the benefits of technological advancements. "Luckily, I was not alone with this concern," recalls Chandanam. "It was around 2015 when I met Motilal Keshavdas- Fleetroot's co-founder and CTO todaywho shared my vision to bring the future of on-demand logistics and mobility solutions to local markets. We believe that every business, whether it is an enterprise or a corner shop, has to be able to deliver goods and services to its customers."
Fleetroot was launched in 2018 as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that helps businesses in optimizing the last-mile delivery of goods and services. In addition, the logistics platform also helps improve the safety and efficiency of connected operations by offering fleet management tools such as sensor monitoring, fuel management, as well as real-time location services. "With Fleetroot, we are helping businesses simplify their on-demand and scheduled delivery operations on a SaaS platform," adds Chandanam. "Our core team comes with nearly 50 years of combined expertise in the last mile, internet of things (IoT), and mobility software industries. And while it's been a rocky road, just like with anything great, I am grateful to have become a part of technology transformation with over 100 clients across the region today."
The clients that Chandanam alludes to are currently spread over the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the MENA, and they also include those gained through the startup's recent foray into the Latin American market. The founder pegs his startup as the "region's first IoT startup with proprietary technology."
The Fleetroot team. Source: Fleetroot
But when asked what sets his firm apart in a market that is seeing increasing number of e-commerce and on-demand delivery services, Chandanam replies, "Our solution enables businesses to deliver goods and services with lightning-fast speed, and, at the same time, keep the cost in control, whereas our competition currently addresses stand-alone problems in last-mile and fleet management separately. We synergized both concepts together in a unified solution to address the software gap for quick and milk run deliveries."
While recognizing the existing market opportunity came through some initial hiccups in Fleetroot's journey, Chandanam believes it helped in identifying the right business route for his startup. "Our first potential client was never converted, but it played a huge role to help us identify the direction, the obvious problems, and not so obvious market gaps," says Chandanam. "Knowing the market gap and the problem, we landed our first clients with businesses like NESTLE waters, Dubai South, and DAMAC as our early adopters."
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In the years that followed, Fleetroot continued to operate as a bootstrapped venture up until late 2021, which is when the startup received its first institutional investment from Egypt-based Flat6Labs. "As of today, we have deployed a total external capital of US$520,000 from Flat6Labs and angel investors, making the total invested amount to the venture $820,000," Chandanam says. "We are also raising money to double our engineering, sales and support teams, and are planning an increase in marketing spend for quicker customer acquisition and minor touchups in our products."
Chandanam attributes Fleetroot's progress so far to having received the right ecosystem to flourish within Dubai. "We have had our challenges in the initial phase with setting up our path in general, but I could see the UAE's constant growth towards a 'technology business haven' environment, and how it is helping founders to think bigger and bigger each day," he says. "The most significant benefits of starting from Dubai are the ease of doing business and an ecosystem enabling founders to dream bigger."
And part of the aid Fleetroot received through the UAE's resources came through its acceptance into the MBRIF program. "We heard about MBRIF from startup founders from the earlier cohort, and the enablement its team has made for them and their companies got us excited to apply to the program," explains Chandanam. "We also feel the MBRIF ecosystem will allow us to showcase to a larger pool of investors and customers within the region and outside."
However, that isn't all there is to the startup's future goals, emphasizes Chandanam. "We are already raising seed capital of $1.5 million for growth, with which we will be focusing on penetrating adjacent markets like KSA and Egypt to reach our target accounting rate of return (ARR) of $2.5 million within the next 18 months," he declares. "Fleetroot's 60-month-plan is to reach north of $70 million ARR by becoming a global business brand that optimizes on-demand and scheduled delivery operations for businesses of all sizes and types."
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