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Logical Solutions To Logistics
‘Without an operating entrepreneurial mindset, bringing in real value becomes fundamentally difficult’
Photo Credit : Deepak G. Pawar
Abhishek Bansal is the co-founder and CEO of Shadowfax, a three-year old venture, already India’s market leader in the online-to-offline (O2O) logistics segment. Bansal aims to make Shadowfax the largest last-mile logistics provider in the country, in not too distant future.
In 2015, Bansal, an IIT Delhi alumnus, after staying in China and also working with Walmart, decided to enter the last-mile O2O opportunity. He then co-founded Shadowfax along with college mate Vaibhav Khandelwal; and the duo have since then scaled heights of success with their Uber-like last-mile delivery venture — the first-ever logistics gateway for businesses, which makes instant deliveries a reality for big and small sellers across categories like food, grocery, fashion, pharmacy, furniture, e-commerce and other traditional business sectors. Their clients include big market players such as Dominos, Big Basket, Amazon, Paytm, Flipkart, Myntra, McDonald’s, 1MG, and many more.
The Shadowfax team of about 300 employees connects a huge segment of clientele comprising smaller restaurants, merchants and retailers, with their customers with an instant/same-day delivery/pick-up service across 100-plus cities in the country.
The logistics industry is the fifth most thriving sector in India in terms of growth and volume, and IoT is making it possible for the sector to grow in double digits in the immediate future. Their in-house technology stack, Frodo, gives Shadowfax a winning edge by driving cost optimisations and enabling the company to achieve higher service levels. It has built a plug-and-play technology that bridges the last mile logistical gap between businesses and their customers within minutes. It works on the concept of flattening the demand curve across the day, which also ensures a much higher earning for their delivery partners. Shadowfax uses IoT to bridge the information gap and eradicate inefficiencies across the value chain.
Moreover the very fabric of this tech innovation has social overtones as it creates self-employment, which leads to economic independence. Shadowfax has built a vast network of delivery partners based on trust and total transparency. The company is proud of its low attrition rates and high referral rates for delivery partners in the logistics and delivery industry.
Bansal, who believes in generating opportunities rather than creating ‘jobs’, has already started giving back to the society by generating self-driven employment opportunities for thousands of freelancers working on the Shadowfax platform. He aims to create, through his venture, a million micro-entrepreneurs in India who are able to make a comfortable living by partnering with Shadowfax.
Hailing from an unassuming middle-class family, Bansal retains the values learnt from his humble roots, and looks to constantly evolve himself despite heading an enterprise which is showing an enviable 200 per cent year-on-year growth. For the industry to evolve, he feels there is a need to initiate education of the employees/youth in the industry on the industry workings and processes. Bansal further says that in young companies like his, solutions need end-to-end ownership and out-of-the-box thinking to bring disruptive innovation. “Without an operating entrepreneurial mind-set, bringing in real value becomes fundamentally difficult.”
Speaking on being included in the BW 40 under 40 list, Bansal says, “It is a recognition for our entire team and their collective efforts. Awards makes me realise it is the team which builds up an organisation, upholds its values and brings laurels with their commitment and passion. BW 40 under 40 is a recognition of Shadowfax’s collective qualities, abilities, struggles, efforts and achievements.”
In August, Shadowfax closed $22 million in Series C funding led by NGP Capital. Qualcomm Ventures, Mirae Asset and existing investor Eight Roads Ventures also participated in the round. Eight Roads Ventures, the investment arm of Fidelity International, had previously infused $10 million and $8.5 million in Shadowfax in 2016 and 2015.