Blowhorn's Journey to raising over $8.8 Mn funding in 6 years!

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Logistics has been a challenge for this country ever since, especially when it comes to the first mile, middle mile, and last-mile logistics. To bridge this gap with an innovation, Mithun Srivatsa and Nikhil Shivaprasad founded Blowhorn in 2014. In this article, know about Blowhorn's Journey & how it is growing its revenue 500% since Series A funding!

Blowhorn is a tech-enabled intra-city logistics company that offers mini-trucks to transport goods across multiple cities of India. Blowhorn is offering a broad suite of services from the first mile, middle mile, and last-mile logistics for businesses and individuals that brings together a robust network of mini-truck owners and consumers. Also, this platform is handling goods from 1g to 1T.

Blowhorn - Company Highlights

  • Startup Name-Blowhorn
  • Headquarter-Bengaluru, India
  • Sector-Logistics
  • Founders-Mithun Srivatsa, Nikhil Shivaprasad
  • Founded-August 2014
  • Revenue-Rs 37 crore (2017-18)
  • Total Funding-$8.8 Million
  • Legal Name-Catbus Infolabs Private Ltd.

Blowhorn - About and How it Works

Blowhorn is a venture that works on the following module. Blowhorn provides a full-stack logistics service from an asset-light model via its tech-based platform. This platform connects the logistics service seekers with mini-truck drivers through its website and mobile app. It is intriguing to know loading and unloading of goods is a part of the service that Blowhorn provides.

This platform’s algorithm works very similar to that of cab aggregators in the country like Uber and Ola. So ideally when a consumer requests a truck on this platform, the request is processed to match an existing mini-truck, and then consequently the vehicle driver is connected with the consumer. The time frame of this transaction can be as little as thirty minutes and could also go on to be scheduled for a later date and time.

Blowhorn - USP and Innovation

The unique selling proposition of Blowhorn is providing ‘full-stack logistics’ solutions to the vast user base in the country. Full-stack in this context refers to its excellent capabilities in all the three elements of the logistics value chain: warehouses, transportation, and tech-enabled systems.

Blowhorn with its tech-based portal claims to have built new layers along with the transportation stack that drives margin expansion. Also, Blowhorn offers a very important feature to its users namely real-time tracking of goods.

How was Blowhorn started?

Blowhorn started with an experience of one of the co-founder’s life. Mithun Srivatsa’s colleagues in Bengaluru were trying to move their bed and a few other home-related things to a different apartment in the same city and yet it became quite an exhausting process. His friends struggled the entire day going back and forth just to move a few goods from one place to another. Not just that, his friends had to take days off from work to do this which ideally should’ve taken just a few hours.

Amongst this chaos, the key challenges his colleagues faced was mainly finding a truck driver to transport the goods, being able to communicate with the truck driver because none of his colleagues knew Kannada, and cross-checking the truck driver’s credentials because trust becomes a major factor while transporting valuable things.

“I knew for a fact that the problem was certainly not the lack of supply of truck drivers,” says Srivatsa.

Hence he started thinking of creating a common platform to solve this problem by aggregating and organizing the otherwise fragmented market of mini trucks. And that is exactly what he did. And one of the biggest insights that ran through his mind during this was that if an aggregator model could work for transporting people through cabs and autos then it could work very well for transporting goods.

Blowhorn - Founders and Team

The founders of Blowhorn are Mithun Srivatsa and Nikhil Shivaprasad.

Founders Blowhorn

Mithun Srivatsa and Nikhil Shivaprasad - Blowhorn founders

Both these co-founders, Nikhil and Mithun studied together in college and have known each other for a long time, since 2001. When Mithun was pitching the idea of his newborn venture - Blowhorn to investors in the states, Mithun reconnected with Nikhil. Following that Nikhil took charge of building Blowhorn’s technology platform.

Mithun Srivatsa - Mithun has studied business management from Cambridge Judge Business School.

Nikhil Shivaprasad - Nikhil has a degree in MS in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University.

"I am a logistician, while Nikhil is a generalist technologist and we were good bringing together our capabilities in a market, which we think has a lot of potentials," said Mithun.

Blowhorn - Startup Launch

After the basic idea for Blowhorn was germinated, Mithun went around for analysis regarding the size of the intra-city goods transport market in the country. That’s when Mithun found out that the market was huge and also relatively untapped. And then to make the most of it, Mithun along with his batchmate, Nikhil Shivaprasad, launched their startup under the name of Blowhorn in August 2014.

And since then, Blowhorn operates on a logistics marketplace focused on the intra-city movement of goods. Initially, the company started with a focus on retail customers and since then has expanded to cater to corporate clients as well.

“The volume of business and margins in the ‘individual’ segment weren’t sufficient to sustain our business. So, we shifted our focus to enterprise customers—both traditional and modern businesses, to provide them with efficient and reliable logistics services,” says the co-founder and CEO of Blowhorn - Srivatsa.

Blowhorn - Startup Challenges

The biggest milestone for this Bengaluru headquartered startup Blowhorn was getting through the bureaucratic paperwork and bringing truck drivers on board.

“The biggest challenge we initially faced was the red tape in getting our company registered and opening a current bank account. Also, truckers were reluctant to trust a startup whose founders were working out of coffee shops,” says Srivatsa.

While the co-founder's duo couldn’t do anything much about the red tape, acquiring a Regus membership helped them get trucker drivers on their robust platform. This Regus membership cost them about INR 2,000 a month provided them with access to the common area of Regus properties. And that’s how vehicle owners and drivers assumed that the co-founders had a great office at Regus and then became open to the idea of doing business with them.

Blowhorn - Competitors

Blowhorn's top competitors are BlackBuck, Shiprocket, RailYatri, LalaMove, LetsTransport and Porter. It also faces competition from the bigger players in the market namely DTH, FedEx, Gati to name a few.

Blowhorn - Funding and Investors

To date, Blowhorn has raised a total of $8.8M in funding over 5 rounds.

Its recent funding came on May 2020 as Debt Financing led by Trifecta Capital Advisors for an Undisclosed amount.

Blowhorn is funded by investors Trifecta Capital Advisors, Chiratae Ventures, Dell Foundation, Venture Catalysts, James Lee Sorenson and Japanese VC firm, Dream Incubator, InnoVen Capital, Unitus Ventures, and Draper Associates.

Blowhorn - Growth and Revenue

Operates in five cities—Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Delhi-NCR

  • Has a team of 160 employees
  • Grown its revenue 500% since Series A funding
  • It generated Rs 17 crore in revenue in 2016-17, raising it to around Rs 37 crore in 2017-18
  • Presence in 30 cities
  • Has over 25,000 driver-partners

Caters to clients like Flipkart, Amazon, and Urban Ladder

Blowhorn - Future Plans

Srivatsa recently said, “Now, with a strong core team in place, we are expanding rapidly and are seeing significant growth in our recently launched verticals. Our goal is to be active across more than 100 cities across India by 2021, and we are on track to achieving that. We are also in the final stages of executing our first international foray, and we are very excited about it. Our margin profile remains healthy and has grown 30% over the last quarter.”

Blowhorn - FAQs

Who are the Founders of Blowhorn?

The founders of Blowhorn are Mithun Srivatsa and Nikhil Shivaprasad

How much Funding has Blowhorn raised?

Blowhorn has raised a total of $8.8M in funding over 5 rounds. Its recent funding came on May 2020 as Debt Financing led by Trifecta Capital Advisors for an Undisclosed amount.

What is the USP of Blowhorn?

Full-stack logistics solutions to the vast user base in the country.  (warehouses, transportation, and tech-enabled systems)

Real-time tracking of goods

Who are the Competitors of Blowhorn?

Blowhorn's top competitors are BlackBuck, Shiprocket, RailYatri, LalaMove, LetsTransport and Porter. It also faces competition from the bigger players in the market namely DTH, FedEx, Gati to name a few.

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