Vahak is Changing the Logistics Industry One Lorry at a Time As an online transport directory app, the startup enables users to do everything from online load and truck booking to growing one's own transport business network

By Soumya Duggal

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Vahak co-founder & CEO Karan Shaha

There's an old joke in the business world: If you're a supplier and you think nobody cares whether or not you're alive, just try missing a couple of delivery deadlines! Among the many challenges involved in running a successful business—such as product development, marketing, talent acquisition, etc.—perhaps one that is often ignored by the discursive spot light is logistics.

"There's a lot of untapped potential in the Indian logistics industry," says Karan Shaha, co-founder and CEO of Vahak, an online B2B transport marketplace. "But for this growth to happen, going digital is paramount. Through the digitization of logistics, development operations will become a lot faster and more efficient," he adds.

As an online transport directory app that is present in over 15,000 locations across India, Vahak claims to enable users to do everything from online load and truck booking to growing one's own transport business network. Users on the app are required to be either Aadhaar- or GST-verified or both so as to maintain a secure and transparent e-marketplace. Additionally, Vahak partnered with MediBuddy earlier this year to offer truck drivers free doctor consultations and ensure their safety on and off the road.

Typically, businesses need to contact several transporters to find the right vehicle and price to ship their loads. Many a time, the lack of timely access to quality logistics leads to cost escalation and other such challenges. It was after a relative's business faced the same challenges that Shaha recognised the need for a solution. "This is when I joined hands with Vikas Chandrawat, my college-mate from IIT, and launched a transport business. The lessons we learnt in the two years of running this business prepared us to build an all-encompassing digital platform. And in 2019, this need gave birth to Vahak," recalls Shaha.

It must be noted, however, that introducing a digital product in a market that's still old-fashioned and primitive was quite a challenge. Most transport SMEs, consignors and truck drivers in India are tech-averse and prefer conducting business within their personal network. "But with well-targeted marketing strategies, we have been able to win over several transporters and empower them with technology. Vahak is already among the biggest players in the domain, and our aim is to grow by more than 10 times in the next one year," states Shaha.

Elaborating further on his growth plans, he continues, "Going forward, we will be introducing many value-added features, such as fuel cards, insurance, GPS spare parts, truck tyres and more. We have also introduced Vahak Payments as a secure mode of online transactions for our registered users. Our next goal is to scale our technology and operations to capture 10 per cent of the Indian logistics market and go from the existing 1.5 million users to 10 million users in the next one year."

Having received funding from well-known names, such as Nexus Venture Partners and Titan Capital, among several others, what advice would Shaha offer other entrepreneurs working in digital logistics? "In India, there is plenty of support from investors and we have seen large-scale investments in promising startups. As long as you are focused on solving a problem through technology integration, the growth will be consistent and appealing enough for any new entrant." He also notes that the market size is humongous so there wouldn't be any lack of space for more players, at least not in the near future.

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