The Logistics Optimizer Amitava Saha, CEO, XpressBees on future of logistics

By Punita Sabharwal

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XpressBees, a logistics company that incepted towards the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 captured the markets with its super-fast delivery. They initially started delivering for FirstCry but after a year, in 2014, XpressBees founder Amitava Saha was approached by some hot-shot established entrepreneurs who impressed by the speed of delivery, asked Amitava to do the same for their businesses. The only interest that Amitava had at that point in time was to expand his pin code reach to a couple of more cities and serve more prescribed customers. Amitava had some heated discussions with some luxurious companies that went on to become bigger later on. By the end of 2014, those companies told Amitava that they would support him if he would expand because they were happy with the levels of service that Amitava's company was providing them with and were looking forward to expanding their business further. At the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015, a conversation took place regarding the formation of a separate company and by August-September, XpressBees was formed. When XpressBees started off, they were doing about 25,000-30,000 shipments a day but now they are doing approximately 800,000-900,000 shipments a day.

Amitava Saha on being asked about the insights and how did XpressBees grow, said" The insights about what to build and what not to build was very clear in my mind. The second was about putting a good team together. It takes a certain amount of lead time. You need a passionate set of people to be working for you while the building is happening because once the build has happened there are obviously a lot more people joining. During the initial time, you need to have a passionate set of people and they need to be a part of the journey for a very, very long time. Another thing that differentiates us from other logistics companies is the differentiated technology they've built compared to the competition. We were very clear on why the technology rather than how. As I said, we've spent the least amount of money scaling up so our tech budget compared to the other companies would have been much smaller but we got it right the first time, and knowing what to build is supercritical in technology, it will save you a lot of time and effort. It will help you scale faster. You could say that we probably took a little bit of shorter time and a lot less money because probably of the business in spite that we had after leaving an E-commerce company."

Amitava Saha when asked about Alibaba investing in XpressBees, said, "Alibaba understands logistics very well and before investing in us, they had a look at all the leading logistics companies in India and they had a very detailed evaluation on which companies they had to invest in, very detailed understanding of their profits, etc, we were a 30 people team and then there are some Chinese who are coming and sitting in our offices, in our warehouses, trying to get an extensive understanding of how we work and our profits, looking at the technology we have developed, understanding why we have developed the technology, how we are going about building the company, how do we plan to shield the company, what is our 5-10 year vision, how do we plan to execute it and it was not a financial evaluation but it was also an operator evaluating another operator. The logistics ecosystem in China is huge and has built such a large ecosystem, they understood things very well. Alibaba was a big validation of our business model, of our technology, etc."

2020 was a difficult year for all ventures and enterprises as the whole nation went into a state of lockdown. XpressBees found it difficult to operate with the restrictions. Some warehouses had to be shut down as the people were getting infected; some had to be shut down due to them being in containment zones. Also, the trucks delivering packages were stopped at every border and the truck drivers had to wait at the borders for 24 hours before their test results came in. Despite these challenges, Xpress Bees became profitable as the current turnover of the enterprise is close to 1100 Crores and has approximately 40,000 people working with the enterprise.

Tech Stack

  • Founded in the year 2015
  • Serving 18000+ pin codes
  • Warehouse capacity of 12.5 lac+ sq. ft.
  • 35,000 service executives
  • Deliver over 1.5 mn shipments
Wavy Line
Punita Sabharwal

Entrepreneur Staff

Deputy Editor, Entrepreneur India Magazine

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