Mumbai-based Wow Express is a technology-led, upcoming e-commerce logistics startup that aims to provide a ‘WOW’ experience to all its stakeholders. The company aims to travel that extra mile to empower even the smaller e-commerce players with state of the art logistics solutions which helps them serve their customers faster.
This company thrives on innovation for sure. Recently, it launched “Wow Rush”, a sports bicycle based delivery service as a part of their Go-Green initiative. The delivery staff or ‘Rushers’ as they are called are equipped with a state of the art 18 geared Sports Bicycle , complete with Bicycle Helmet, and other cycling gear.
According to Sandeep Padoshi, the co-founder and director of WOW Express, “This is an industry first where e-commerce deliveries are being delivered on a sports bicycle and in this fashion. The post office has been doing this for years but we are not only making it fashionable but also easy and safe.
The geared cycle makes it easy to ride and the safety kit helps ensure safety of the Rushers. We plan to have about 2-4 Rushers in every branch of ours and they will exclusively make small and speedy deliveries. The Rushers are equipped with smart phones and m-pos machines which make this a perfect combination of Tech enabled Eco-friendliness.”
Incidentally, this startup has won the prestigious “Most Innovative E-commerce Service Provider Award” for this initiative.
“Sports bicycle-based delivery is gaining momentum and we believe that there is a need for a sustainable means of delivery, especially for the small parcel deliveries,” Padoshi further said.
The company, which is operated by JMS Logistics and Express Pvt. Ltd, recently raised Rs 15 crore(Pre Series A) funding led by US-based Investors to scale up its operations.
Its existing investor Tamarind Family Private Trust also participated in this round. In July last year, the firm had raised seed investment of $500,000 (Rs 3.17 crore) from Tamarind Family Private Trust. The startup was then valued at about $1.41 Mn (Rs 9 crore). With the latest funding received, they plan to ramp up their operations, using it for geographical expansion and technology enhancement.
The company had started with just two offices – one in Mumbai and another in Surat but have now expanded to 20 cities, processing about 350,000 shipments every month.
Wow Express has witnessed a quarter-on-quarter growth of over 100% with clients such as Paytm, Rediff, Fashionandyou, and Nyka. Recently, the company tied up with Amazon India for bicycle-based deliveries and are in talks with other e-commerce players too.
Its founders Jayesh Kamat, Mazhar Faruqi and Sandeep Padoshi bring with them a strong management experience along with excellent work ethics after having earlier worked with companies like Quantium, UPS, TNT, Reader’s Digest and Reliance in various capacities.
With more and more e-commerce websites shifting their operations from the part inventory part marketplace model to a fully marketplace one, the trio anticipated a creation of chaos in the logistics world, as delivery and courier companies would find it increasingly difficult to aggregate orders from vendors across the country, and deliver it to different locations. Wow Express has created a first-mile pick-up network which they claim is the largest such mechanism in the country.
The company has trained its delivery boys, who they believe are their main assets and champions, to be competent enough to represent their clients as well as their brand name and reputation. According to Sandeep, “While technology is an enabler – we are a HR focused company. Right from day one, we were sensitive to the needs of our delivery staff.
We decided to call them “Service Marshals” and not delivery boys or associates like most companies do. This in itself gives a sense of pride to them. We have many small initiatives in place such as our “Breakfast at branch” and our “Education Allowance” which keeps the team together. Everyone is treated as family and all of us feel as a part of a big family and this has helped us retain people.”
No wonder then that the company experiences one of the lowest attrition rates in the industry. Having said that, this startup has had its share of black swan moments and they deal it smartly.
Occasionally we do come across some missing items and some dishonest staff. While we are staff friendly, we have zero tolerance when it comes to theft of dishonesty and we take immediate and swift action and waste no time on ensuring that other people are not affected by this.
The company also offers some additional services like smartphone equipped fleet, digital signature, localized and product trained customer support, real-time status updates, GPS tracking, and proof of delivery photographs.
As Mazhar said, “We don’t wish to just acquire business and show growth – we want to focus on our bottom line, which is making the delivery experience as enjoyable as the online shopping experience for the consumer – through satisfied staff that feel strongly about their duties, and who are provided the comfort and ease of state-of-the-art equipment, and made to feel like the most important cog in our machine.”
According to Sandeep, the Indian 3PL (third-party logistics provider) market is all set for a robust growth in the next four to five years.
“I believe the industry will touch the figure of around Rs 48,000 crore by 2019. In this booming market, we are one of the best and promptest in the country for COD remittance, as we deliver payments within 48 hours to the clients. We also offer card on delivery service,” Sandeep says.
Their main competitors are Delhivery, EcomExpress & GoJavas. Even the e-commerce arm of traditional companies can be considered as competition. Snapdeal, Flipkart, Amazon and Paytm are looking at building their own supply chain units while Flipkart has also availed its logistic unit Ekart for third party logistics.
Ekart has also announced plans to start courier services soon. Wow Express deals with close to 15,000 parcels daily, with targets to reach Rs 120 crore shipments for fiscal 2017, revenues of Rs 1,000 crores by FY 20-21 and be amongst the top five logistics company in India within the next five years.
“I am excited about how capital light the existing business model is. And in order to continue our preferred logistic vendor status, we must constantly innovate our product offerings,” said Ayesha Mansukhani, who is on the board of WOW Express, said in a company statement.
Their 15 crore Pre-Series A Round Funding has come in a right time when leading E-Commerce players are looking to build up their supply unit. According to Assocham, Indian logistics market will be a $307 Bn market by 2020.
In this space, other players that have raised funds includes Delhi-based logistics solutions provider Ecom Express which received $133 Mn, Mumbai-based logistics analytics startup, LogiNext Solutions raised $500k from Indian Angel Network (IAN), and Delhivery, an e-commerce fulfilment company, raised $85 Mn led by Tiger Global Management and few existing investors.
In February, Pune-based e-commerce logistics firm Xpressbees had raised about $12.5 million (around Rs 86 crore) in funding from existing investors SAIF Partners, IDG Ventures India, NEA, Vertex Ventures and Valiant Capital.