TELANGANA

Start-up eyes e-commerce pie in rural areas

Untapped potential:Delivery start-up Steadfast founders Kiran Kumar Reddy, Sashank Reddy, Naga Kartheek, and Dhruv Reddy.— Photo: K.V.S. Giri

Untapped potential:Delivery start-up Steadfast founders Kiran Kumar Reddy, Sashank Reddy, Naga Kartheek, and Dhruv Reddy.— Photo: K.V.S. Giri  

The e-commerce scene in the country has seen a dramatic change in the past few years, with business coming from tier-2 and tier-3 cities as well. However, last-mile delivery is still something of a concern, as not all delivery services promise that. Enter Sendfast, which promises to change that in Andhra Pradesh, as it is set to tie-up with a major public transport corporation to make e-commerce deliveries across the State.

“Two years ago, Guntur had the highest e-commerce deliveries among tier-2 cities in the country. We are expanding our services to Warangal, Rajahmundry, Nalgonda and other cities, and to other villages within a 30 kilometre radius from them, in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana,” said Kiran Kumar Reddy, founder of Sendfast, a delivery start-up which was founded by him and two others a year ago.

“We have already entered into talks with an Andhra Pradesh government-owned corporation , and will conduct a trial-run in October,” revealed co-founder Sashank Reddy.

A consultant working for the AP corporation confirmed the development, but did not wish to reveal more details.

Mr. Kiran added that the start-up, which received seed-funding of Rs.1 crore from an NRI, has a South India expansion plan in the coming months.

Tying-up with local businesses, the trio of Sashank, Kiran Kumar Reddy and Naga Kartheek, who were Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) batchmates, started Sendfast with a business-to-business model of operations last July.

“Back when we started, we had tied-up only with merchants to make deliveries for them at Rs. 35 per transaction. We were operating in areas like Gachibowli, Kondapur, Madhapur, etc,” Mr. Sashank recalled.

And now the trio has ventured into the e-commerce and hyper-local business sectors. From just 8,000 deliveries a month, Sendfast is making 1 lakh deliveries now, with its 100-odd personnel. “Right now, e-commerce is losing a lot of money in deliveries,” said Mr. Kiran.

“After tying up with online businesses like Big Basket, Nature Life, Salad Basket, etc, we also do pre-booked deliveries as well,” he added. One of the reasons behind their successful model is that they give their delivery personnel the option to make additional deliveries, after finishing their assigned work.

“Let’s say a delivery boy is done with his e-commerce work within the stipulated time. If he wants to, he can then do hyper-local deliveries, for which he will get Rs. 35 per transaction. They earn more than Rs. 20,000 a month that way,” explained Mr. Kiran.

The trio now also have a new partner, Dhruv Reddy, who brings with him expertise in the area of logistics and supply chain, subjects which he studied in his graduation at the Ohio State University in the U.S. “Sajid Hameed, who works abroad, is the one who has invested in our company. Apart from that, we have also entered into an MoU with Seal Infotech, a UAE-based company,” said Mr. Sashank.

Sendfast will be handling IT and provide its platform for the UAE-based company for a commission of five per cent per transaction, said Kiran.

While the start-up services were earlier restricted to areas like Gachibowli, Madhapur, and nearby areas, venturing into the e-commerce and hyper-local markets, it has spread its wings across Hyderabad.

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