Rider is on a mission to provide online shoppers in Pakistan with “Amazon-like” next-day deliveries. The Karachi-based company announced it has raised $3.1 million in new funding from Y Combinatior, along with new investors i2i, Flexport, Soma Capital and Rebel Fund. Returning investors included GFC, Fatima Gobi and TPL E-ventures, along with Dropbox co-founder Arash Ferdowsi. This brings RIder’s total amount raised to $5.4 million as of September 2021.
Founded in 2019 by former UPS Pakistan CEO Salman Allana, Rider is building a network of sorting hubs, delivery centers and a digitized fleet. The platform enables sellers to offer next day delivery with route optimization, live tracking and scheduling for buyers. The company claims that since their September 2021 pre-seed investment round, monthly revenues have grown 110% and have doubled their customer base to 650 online merchants. So far, Rider has delivered 3 million parcels to 60 cities in Pakistan. It currently operates a network of 16 hubs covering 60 cities across Pakistan, which Allana says accounts for about 60% of the country’s e-commerce demand.
Allana told TechCrunch that growing up in Karachi and spending his early career in sub-Saharan Africa, he was used to poor supply chains and logistics services. “If you ordered something online, you accepted the huge risk that it might never show up,” he said. When he moved to London to study for his MBA, he became “obsessed” with Amazon delivery. “How can an order I placed at midnight be at my door the next morning? I believed there was a clear and strong opportunity to bring this quality of service to online sellers in Pakistan and eradicate ‘plot fear’ for all online buyers in Pakistan – myself included.”
After completing his MBA, Allana started working for UPS Pakistan as the head of strategy and business development. He saw for himself the challenges logistics incumbents face, including lost orders, buyers reluctant to re-order online and, for online sellers, headaches such as manual COD delivery, reconciliation and slow payback, which led to working capital challenges. , especially for One million SMEs in Pakistan that depend on Instagram and Facebook to reach buyers.
“I learned that traditional delivery drivers aren’t set up or equipped to serve the online retail trend, and change from within would be slow and costly,” Allana said. “The COVID pandemic saw a massive and irreversible shift to online shopping across Pakistan. Only a purpose-built, dynamic, growth-oriented startup could seize this opportunity in time.”
Logistics is a notoriously money-consuming industry. Allana said the network of delivery centers that Rider is building is not what you would normally imagine. Instead, they include mobile warehouses (or pre-sorted vans), empty shopping mall parking lots and gas stations. In the future, Rider would also like to have delivery centers in kiranas or convenience stores. This means that delivery centers are flexible enough to move as high-volume e-commerce zones change.
“We build fundamentally for ‘urban logistics’, so we don’t have any requirements for large sorting centers and areas,” he said. “Our network is made up of numerous small delivery centers that have been purposely placed to cover high-volume e-commerce zones, which can ultimately be flexibly relocated as these zones change.”
Rider’s new funding will be used for its in-house technology, which includes e-commerce enabling tools such as plugins and built-in wallets to help SMEs, which Allana said are primarily female-owned, to run their businesses. to grow.
“Our ambition from day one: we want to be the largest provider of end-to-end e-commerce logistics solutions in the country,” said Allana. “But we see logistics as a set of building blocks, which we all need to get right, both operationally and financially, before we can build the next one. Today Rider provides last-mile delivery to the customer’s doorstep. We have proven that our last mile solutions work, we have proven that they work at scale and we now need to prove that they work sustainably before entering other verticals.” He added that Rider already has his eye on the next phase and got a taste of his B2B movement, or overland trucking, in January.
In a prepared statement, i2i general partner Kalsoom Lakhani said: “As the e-commerce industry in Pakistan grows, so will the need for a next generation of 3PL players who understand Pakistan’s market reality and know how to build aggressively but also efficiently, We believe this player is Rider and have such conviction in Salman and his vision.