Shadowfax made relatively late entry in the last mile delivery space, but this hardly proved to be a deterrent in its path to success. Founded in 2015 by two IIT Delhi alumni – Abhishek Bansal & Vaibhav Khandelwal – Shadowfax has posted stellar growth in short span of time to emerge as one of the most dominant players in India’s online logistic space.
Today Shadowfax fulfills 90,000 unique orders per day and offers delivery services in more than 75 cities. Some of its high profile clients include Flipkart, Paytm, Zomato, KFC and Domino’s. The Bengaluru headquartered company recently raised $22 Mn in series C round, which once again vindicated that the company’s future prospects are pretty bright. The company is projecting 150% year-on-year growth for the next five years.
Techpluto caught up with both Abhishek Bansal & Vaibhav Khandelwal in a special interview. Both co-founders shed light on growth opportunities and challenges that the company faced over the years. The co-founder also shared their views on technological aspect and India’s online logistic industry.
Techpluto: Looking in hindsight, how do you think Shadowfax has evolved over the last two years? Are you completely satisfied as far as company’s profitability & revenue are concerned?
Abhishek Bansal: The last two years have been extremely fun and challenging at the same time. We’ve had to consistently push our limits daily and solve ‘never tackled before’ problems in the logistics & supply chain industry; but seeing the solutions yield results has been greatly gratifying.
We are happy with the way our revenue & profitability graph continues to read since inception and look forward to its northward run in the future.
Techpluto: Today Shadowfax is getting lot of business from food, grocery and e-commerce segments. Do you feel is there any other promising segment that the company needs to tap into to increase its profitability?
Abhishek Bansal: Yes definitely, pharmaceuticals, courier services, heavy shipments are some of our newer focus areas.
Techpluto: Since today technology is playing such a crucial role in logistic sector, can you shed some light on how Shadowfax is working to stay ahead in the technology curve?
Abhishek Bansal: Shadowfax uses state-of-the-art Routing algorithms clubbed with Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, which helps us build efficiencies for our operations.
Apart from this, our in-built systems determine real-time rider allocations for a delivery. This helps us in optimizing the number of deliveries per trip which a rider partner can complete on our platform.
Techpluto: There is lot of hype around artificial intelligence and machine learning, but most analysts claim that these breakthrough technologies are still in nascent stage?
Vaibhav Khandelwal: I don’t quite agree to this view. Although it is true that both these technologies are still evolving, they have already reached maturity stage and have already made meaningful contributions to several industries & sectors.
Techpluto: Shadowfax recently raised $22 Mn in series C round. Are there any plans to pursue another fundraising round in the short-run?
Vaibhav Khandelwal: Currently, we are not planning for another round in the short run.
Techpluto: How has the unprecedented emergence of e-commerce industry changed India’s logistic sector?
Abhishek Bansal: It has opened up a plethora of opportunities for our fellow countrymen. With the introduction of GST and improvement in the infrastructure, things have really changed for the better with customer experience taking the driver’s seat and the quality of services being provided to consumers seeing an overall improvement. Hence, it is right to say that the whole ecosystem has positively benefited through this.
Techpluto: How far behind are India’s logistic companies compared to counterparts in developed countries? Are you personally satisfied with the progress that Indian companies have made over the years or there is still lot of catching up to do?
Abhishek Bansal: India is still lagging in terms of the technology & efficiency when compared to other developed nations. But we are on an acceleration mode; I am confident that we’ll catch up & will soon be leading the way in setting best practice benchmarks.
Vaibhav Khandelwal: I agree with Abhishek’s view. To give an example, express delivery, which is still catching up in India, is quite common in developed countries. This is largely owing to their superior technology and deeper internet penetration.
Techpluto: It is all too well known that 90% of startups fail. What, according to you, are some of the key factors that spell doom for most startups and how does Shadowfax intends to avoid these pitfalls?
Abhishek Bansal: We think the first most important factor for a startup’s success is the team – and at Shadowfax, we invest huge time & resources in building a world class team.