Hemanth Chandra, CEO of Pickkup tells us about an on-demand delivery platform that helps streamlines B2B and B2C deliveries from any store to any door.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Hemanth Chandra: It has been a tough year for people across the world. For my family and me, we have exercised immense caution, curtailed travel and socializing, and restricted our movement to keep ourselves safe from the pandemic. We are looking forward to the mass vaccination drive, hoping for normalcy to resume in the near future.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Pickkup.
Hemanth Chandra: Having acquired an engineering degree in India, I traveled to the US to pursue a Masters’ in Computer Science in 2010. After completing my Master’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, I spent seven years in that country working across different corporate organizations and acquiring multi-faceted experience. The logistics segment was a key passion for me, and I decided to return to India in 2016 with the intent of doing something in the logistics space.
Back in India, a number of conversations with friends and acquaintances who were running their own businesses made me realize that the availability of effective logistics service partners was a major pain area for time-constrained businesses. Increasingly enterprises were looking for efficient logistics partners to improve their efficiency and productivity. This is the area I decided to venture into with Pickkup, the last mile enterprise-focused delivery service provider that I started up in 2018. The idea was to offer on-demand instant last-mile delivery to enterprises and create an innovative, efficient model, and fill a market gap.
How does Pickkup innovate?
Hemanth Chandra: Firstly, we have established an innovative logistics business model that is sector agnostic and enterprise-focused. Currently, most last-mile delivery service providers in India are single vertical organizations. In departing from this model, we have established a business that is more cost-effective and productive. Pickkup serves sector agnostic businesses ranging from grocery platforms, restaurants, eCommerce companies, florists, diagnostics, and many more. Our value proposition comes from our horizontal play across multiple categories providing radius-free intracity deliveries to businesses.
Secondly, the effective use of technology and AI-backed tools provide us with a highly efficient platform that optimizes the available delivery fleet to its best. Focused on innovation, capital efficiency, and best-in-class customer experience, Pickkup uses technology and innovation to achieve positive unit economics.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Hemanth Chandra: Fortunately for us, we have been in a segment that has benefited from the transformation unleashed by the pandemic. Given the fact that COVID 19 gave a major boost to e-commerce and online delivery, the demand for last-mile delivery services has skyrocketed in the past year. Doorstep delivery has become a norm rather than an exception. This shift has pushed us towards a major growth path. Our monthly revenue increased 10 times in the last 11 months. We clocked 2500 deliveries on Feb 14, the highest ever orders on a single day, and we are expected to achieve 1 lakh orders per month by June 2021. In fact, we are expected to break even by the June quarter and achieve gross profitability by 2021 within just two years of starting up. This is a rare feat considered difficult in the logistics space.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Hemanth Chandra: As mentioned above, post the pandemic, we have been witnessing higher demand for our services. In fact, we are planning to hire 500 delivery agents over the next six months to cater to increasing demand in Hyderabad as well as to fulfill our expansion plans in other cities.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Hemanth Chandra: We are an organization that puts customer satisfaction on priority. So, we never compromise on customer engagement and satisfaction. Our technology-based platform has been designed to achieve a high degree of transparency across the delivery process. This allows customers to constantly track the status of their shipments in real-time. It also allows them to change their requirements in real-time. We also use Artificial Intelligence backed tools and data analytics tools to undertake predictive analysis and ensure peak volumes are handled efficiently.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Hemanth Chandra: No
Your final thoughts?
Hemanth Chandra: With demand for efficient last-mile delivery services rising dramatically across India, we expect to see the emergence of a number of innovative startups that address diverse pain points in the market and improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the logistics sector at large.
Having established a strong presence in Hyderabad, Pickkup is now aiming to expand its innovative instant delivery model to other major southern cities, including Bengaluru, Chennai, Vijayawada Vishakhapatnam immediately. Over the next two financial years, we expect to have a presence in 8 cities and achieve a revenue of up to INR 50 crore.