This Startup Plugs Into Supply Chain Of Enterprises And Helps Streamline Operations
Immediately after the lockdown, Locus could help clients seamlessly manage the new scale of orders, as it was already enterprise-ready
For Nishith Rastogi and Geet Garg, co-founders of Locus, the journey of entrepreneurship started with another startup called RideSafe, launched in 2014, to offer a real-time route deviation detection engine.
Rastogi and Garg, who met each other while working at Amazon Web Services, left Amazon to build RideSafe. "If you tell the engine you are going home from the airport, the algorithm would automatically detect all potential variations in route and send alerts if the driver was taking a deviation. We got a great response, but we soon noticed that numerous new-age hyperlocal companies were using the app to keep a track of their delivery personnel," said Rastogi.
This unexpected observation led the founders to launch Locus, a future-ready platform that automates supply chain decisions, in 2015.
By 2018, the startup achieved 1 million orders per day. And, when the lockdown started last year, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Locus.
The Pandemic Impact
A Black Swan event like the pandemic demonstrated the importance of agility in the supply chain. And so, when the lockdown was introduced last year, some of Locus' top clients, many of whom were involved in facilitating the sale of essential items and medical supplies, had to immediately change their operating models overnight to cater to the changing on-ground scenarios. "Our platform, which was enterprise-ready, immediately enabled clients to manage the new scale of orders and assist in implementing a whole new operating model," said Rastogi.
For example, it assigned deliveries only to riders who had the required permits and was also able to cordon off red-alert zones and ensured that deliveries were done using alternate routes.
With slotted deliveries being tough to practically manage due to the on-ground scenario, several clients switched to the slotless delivery model. This meant that the clients could plan deliveries even a week in advance while considering various factors. In 2020, the company achieved more than 100 active customers across the globe in four continents.
"We also ensured that our clients were easily able to switch to contactless deliveries with E-PoD (electronic proof of delivery) offering," the co-founder added.
Locus plugs into the supply chain of an enterprise and helps streamline all logistics and supply chain-related operations. It automates route planning, address correction, network planning, and so on.
"Locus' smart product suite is optimizing supply chain efficiencies by using machine learning to deliver real-time tracking and insights for the last-mile fulfillment. We're excited to invest in Locus to enable logistics as a service and support their journey to become a global last-mile automation leader," Varsha Tagare, senior director, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and managing director at Qualcomm Ventures, told Entrepreneur India.
The six-year-old startup offers a range of products including Locus DispatchIQ™, Locus TrackIQ™, Locus NodeIQ, among others, that leverage AI and ML for cutting edge logistics and supply chain applications. The startup claims that Dispatch IQ and TrackIQ being its flagship products generate maximum revenue. Other products are younger and are integrated into a unified supply chain management platform.
"Our continuous emphasis and efforts when it comes to Research and Development have led us to be able to successfully provide cutting-edge tech at an enterprise scale," said Rastogi, when asked about his company's USP.
Like most entrepreneurs, Locus' founders also made many mistakes along the way which led to many learnings. One such mistake was that they focused heavily on the technology and product functions during the early stages of the company and overlooked hiring a head or VP for Human Resources and Finance, which was just as important.
Today, the startup has a 250-plus team across the globe and continues to expand its presence. "We have always played like a sports team. Everyone works towards a common goal of adding value to our customers. No matter what our individual responsibilities are, we are all owners," Rastogi added.
Expansion And New Products
In June this year, the SaaS startup raised $50 million in a Series C round, led by Singapore's wealth fund GIC. It also saw participation from Qualcomm Ventures and existing investors Tiger Global Management and Falcon Edge. "We have partnered with investors who come with patient capital. They share our long-term mission and believe in the power of R&D. With this funding, we will have a large runway for innovation. We will continue to build products that solve pain points across the supply chain," said Rastogi.
Currently, Locus works with clients across North America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Indian subcontinent. It has offices in the USA, the UK, India, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Germany and is looking to expand into Latin America.
Rastogi also said that since the products are created with grounds-up research and first principle thinking, they will be heavily investing in R&D and hiring more PhDs in the team. The startup plans to double its patents by 2022.
Additionally, the company is also adding updates to Locus FieldIQ for doing Intelligent Territory Planning and will continue to customize products to suit clients' needs and improve the efficiency and features of its existing product suite.
- Year launched: 2015
- Headquarters: Bengaluru
- Founders: Nishith Rastogi, Geet Garg
- Total users: 3,344,000 LOTR (Locus On The Road) Users
- Total funding received: $82.8 million
- Key investors: GIC, Qualcomm Ventures, Tiger Global, Falcon Edge