Prosus Ventures backs Indian logistics startup ElasticRun

The B2B logistics startup wants to partner with a million kirana stores across India.

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Pune-based logistics startup ElasticRun said Wednesday it has raised USD 40 million led by Prosus Ventures (formerly Naspers Ventures), with participation from existing investors including Avataar Ventures, and Kalaari Capital.

Founded in 2016 by Sandeep Deshmukh, Saurabh Nigam, and Shitiz Bansal, the company said it will use the fresh capital to ramp up its technology platform by beefing up on its analytics and machine learning prowess, introduce new products, and expand its network coverage across India, as mentioned in a company statement.

“We have received USD 55.5 million of investment till date,” Deshmukh told technology website TechCrunch.

“ElasticRun is one of those rare businesses that identified a massive need in the market, matched it with a local solution paired with technology, for the benefit of all parties involved. Consumers get faster deliveries and greater choice of goods, store owners realize increased revenues and touch points with their customers, and consumer goods companies get better access and insight into their target audiences,” Ashutosh Sharma, head of Investments for India, at Prosus Ventures, said in a statement.

ElasticRun’s services currently cover more than 200 Indian cities located in India’s metropolises, semi-urban, and rural areas. Primarily, it operates by partnering with small convenience shops, or mom-and-pop stores (kirana shops), that handle its last-mile deliveries during the quiet period of their day like post lunch hours. These stores make money in such ancillary activities by catering to local last mile deliveries.

“By working with the network of small stores across the country, we solve that problem while helping the store owners grow their businesses at the same time. In addition, offering a flexible logistics extension to consumer goods companies to directly reach these small retail shops is a huge advantage over traditional distribution networks,” Deshmukh told TechCrunch.

The kirana stores are also synced to the existing distribution network of ElasticRun’s consumer goods clients so that they have access to remote geographies where they cannot reach. “Nearly every top FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) brand in the country today is a partner of ElasticRun,” he claimed.

The rapidly growing logistics startup that doesn’t own any warehouse or inventory wants its network to cover about a million stores as soon as possible. It is also seeking to expand to the Southeast Asian markets in due course.

ElasticRun competes with the likes of Delhivery, Blackbuck, and Rivigo, while it counts Amazon India and Procter & Gamble as its marquee clients.