Online trucking platform BlackBuck has turned unicorn after securing $67 million in fresh funding led by Tribe Capital, IFC Emerging Asia Fund and VEF at a valuation of over $1 billion.
The investment, which is part of the company’s series E financial round, also saw participation from existing investors Wellington Management, Sands Capital and International Finance Corporation, the company said in a statement on Thursday.
The Bengaluru-based firm had last raised $150 million in funding from a clutch of investors in May 2019 at an estimated valuation of around $850 million. The company’s total fund tally now stands at over $300 million. BlackBuck counts Accel, Apoletto Asia, B Capital, Flipkart and Goldman Sachs among its early backers.
The company will deploy the fresh capital to broaden its reach and launch new services for customers. A portion of the funds will also be used to build on product and data sciences capabilities. “The new financing round gives us more firepower to invest in fundamentally hard trucking problems and continue deepening our reach and impact,” co-founder and CEO Rajesh Yabaji said.
Founded in 2015, BlackBuck digitises fleet operations for truckers and operates a marketplace to help match trucks with relevant loads. The platform has a network of more than 1.2 million trucks and over 700,000 truckers with monthly transactions totalling over 15 million. The company that directly competes with players like Rivigo claims to drive more than 90% market share of all online trucking activity. It counts large corporates like Hindustan Unilever, Reliance and Coca Cola among its over 10,000 clients.
“Blackbuck has scaled its online freight marketplace and fleet management services rapidly. Blackbuck’s contribution to increased transparency and efficiency in the large, fragmented and predominantly unorganised long-haul freight market in India offers the potential for significant developmental impact,” said Saadia Khairi, fund head, IFC Emerging Asia Fund.
Analysts are betting on the logistics tech space as companies develop advanced solutions to plug the sectoral gaps. While traditional businesses were severely impacted during the Covid-induced lockdowns, tech-driven logistics start-ups were better placed to run their operations. For instance, in the freight forwarding industry, traditional freight forwarders on an average had been operating at 30-40% capacity whereas digital players could operate at 60-70% capacity of volumes, they said.
The Indian start-up segment has now added 16 unicorns so far this year, against 11 unicorns it added in 2020.