Portflip is a Mumbai start-up that finally backs Trucks with Technology. The best part about their technology is that it can be used easily by both consumers and by truck owner/drivers, making it simpler for small medium enterprises and consumers to move goods or household possessions etc around a city.
- A Brief Note on Portflip a Mumbai based start up and its growth story?
Idea came over prolonged discussions that used to happen during our office tea-breaks. There were so many trucks that used to stand idle. Ola and Uber were solving the quick ride problems, but the transport sector was yet to get a hang of it. We thought why not do something for the trucking industry as well. We all know that Logistics is the backbone of our economy, if and only if we could bring technology into it then maybe things will be better, easier for both the truckers and the shippers. After that we started doing research. The year 2016 went in researching the market, pros and cons, challenges and what it would require making it a hassle-free option for the customer. In 2017, we got registered as a Pvt Ltd Co, had a live website, and by the year end we had both our Apps live in play-store. So, at present we have the MVP ready and have traction data. We are now a 7-member team successfully carrying out operations in Mumbai & Pune areas in Bootstrapped mode.
- Talk about your journey from a Software engineer and then to a promising business women?
This is a husband-wife duo. Both of us were working in good corporates but always wanted to do something of our own, preferably while we are still in 30’s itself when we have the energy and risk-taking capacity. We thought that even in worst case scenario we will be able to stand back on our feet but at least when we grow old, we will not regret that we never tried something different while we could have. So, we took the risk, sold our flat in Gurgaon, left the comfort of a monthly 6 figure job, and got ourselves commit to “Portflip”. In my experience of a decade before Portflip I always felt that there is so much innovation we can do with the existing processes. I am happy that with Portflip I am able to take decisions that were not possible earlier. I have learnt a lot in my journey with Portflip. From working in one dedicated department in my earlier job profiles to suddenly looking after each and every aspect of running a business has been a great learning experience. In business we either know how to do things or we need to find out/ learn how to do things, there is no escape. From feeling scared at times to the joy we get every time we see a happy client and a happy partner has been wonderful. We have made mistakes, learnt from them. My dream is to make Portflip the leading logistics aggregator in trucking sector.
- Sangeeta, Tell us everything about your logistics company, what does it do? What were the challenges of setting up and scale? How did you overcome them?
Portflip is a Mumbai based start up focussing on logistics aggregation catering to intra-city transportation in Mumbai & Pune city. Initially we did research and development for almost 6 months studying the market, understanding the current transport scenario. The issues and challenges faced were getting the right skill set of a team to execute our vision, getting partners adapted to use technology, training them, maintaining the supply otherwise partners just log off from their devices leading to a lot of rejects for customers. Then we had challenges while planning strategies to compete with our funded competitors. But when we focused more on doing what we do right, then it does not matter how deep the pockets of your competitors are. There is some or the other challenge which is always going to be there. We just need to do what is most important to be done at that particular point of time.
- Give us a background of your core team along with the total strength of Portflip.
This is a husband-wife duo wherein Me (Sangeeta Yadav) Co-Founder & Director – PGDBA, have 10 years of experience in Customer Care, BPO Operations, Supply Chain Quality. Amarjeet Singh, Co-Founder &CTO – PMP, MCA, has around 14 years of experience in various technologies. The total team size is of 7 members.
- What is the business model of Portflip and how does it work?
Portflip acts as a facilitator in providing truck-booking services. Customers can book their trucks through the android app, website or by directly calling on customer care number. Once the booking is done, a driver partner is assigned to the customer. Driver calls in the customer to confirm the booking. After confirming all the details, the order is executed. Customer can track the location of the truck on Portflip App. Once the order is completed, the customer may choose to pay in cash to partner or pay to Portflip directly.
Portflip does not own any of the trucks. Only those drivers with valid permits duly authorized and verified by transport authorities can sign up with Portflip and they could be either self-employed. Just like how customers use PPortflip App, the drivers get access to a partner mobile app on their Smartphone once they register with Portflip. This is done only after a thorough check of authenticity and conducting due diligence of commercial papers and personal papers of driver. The drivers have flexibility to decide their own time to login to Portflip Application and accept requests for trip orders from customers. They may choose to remain logged out of the system as per their convenience.
- Some of our milestones are:
Our Logistics Start Up have more than 25000 app downloads by now and a network of 4000+ partners in Mumbai & Pune areas.
Recognitions & Awards: Winners of Bits Pilani Entrepreneurship Business Conclave 2019 Contest
Guest Speaker at K J Somaiya College of Business Studies
Guest Speaker at Head start Network Foundation (Navi Mumbai)
- What is the one thing that sets you apart from your competitors and what’s your revenue model?
We are focused on giving the best experience in terms of technology and service to our customers and partners. Though we don’t have much physical branding but our clients and partners who have worked with us appreciate our work and come back to us for more business. We value their trust in us and thrive to maintain excellence in our service. Our revenue model is commission based. Portflip charges a basic commission fee of 10-15% on every transaction on its portal.
- What were the challenges you faced during your journey and how did you overcome them?
No entrepreneurial journey is complete without challenges or obstacles. We too have our share of challenges.
- Finding the right people for our team who believe in you
- Logistics in highly un organised. Training the drivers here particularly in Indian context where many of them are illiterate was a challenge. Making them use smart phone devices was a big operational problem. Getting uneducated partners to join the system, teaching them technology, keeping them motivated…Behavioural issues of the drivers, maintaining the quality of service is a challenge.
- A big challenge was and remains is maintaining the supply. Drivers will just log off from their devices leading to a lot of rejects for customers. The industry here is not just about keeping customers happy but keeping your supply happy as well. Earning the trust of drivers was key here.
- Planning strategies to scale up and compete with our competitors, who are mostly well settled in the filed than we are and are also deeply funded.
- Technical challenges: Getting the systems ready, Legal obligations etc.
- Long credit terms with clients also affects our business.
- How are you funded?
We are bootstrapped. We had sold our flat and invested our savings of almost a decade to start this venture.
- Who are your target audience / entities?
We cater to both SMEs and Consumers, but revenue flow is more from B2B.
- Talk about your technology that has made it easier for small medium enterprises and consumers to move goods around?
SME’s basically have a lot on their shoulders. We understand that logistics is a big pain point so we service our clients in such a way that they can focus solely on their core business instead of getting hassled with daily logistics. We have dedicated relationship managers for SME’s who are always in touch to understand the client specific logistics needs and accordingly arrange for the same. There is proper communication which leads to hassle free trips for the clients. We have flexible payment policies for the clients depending upon their relationship with us.
- What is your Future plan? And how do you see your Startup in the coming years?
We wish to grow in other cities in near future. So, we are looking for dynamic business partners who have financial resources, industry connections, client list, specific credentials and expertise, who can help us to increase the value of our business. People who can help us to grow using our existing tech infra to create something new.
- Give us an insight about your existing Partners / Corporates. How do you maintain good relationship in retaining and providing regular offers to your existing Partners / Corporates?
We have awards and recognition programs for our partners who have been with us . Based on their dedication, commitment and feedback from clients we conduct partner motivation programs like “Star partner of the month” and give away goodies and media recognition.
- Things you look in a candidate who aspires to join your company?
We believe in recruiting employees that can understand, positively contribute to the company’s vision as well as come up with creative solutions to overcome challenges. At entry level we recruit freshers and train them according to our company’s requirement. For senior positions we look for experienced skill set and right attitude to lead the company.
- Finally your suggestion / inputs for Budding Entrepreneurs?
Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard. So stay focused. Validate the idea as quick as possible and “just do it.” Do your planning and testing up front before spending much, if any, money. And very important – Stay self-funded as long as possible.
- Additional Information’s that you feel that are relevant to describe about your work / Company etc… (Between 300 – 600 Words).
I’ve been running Portflip a Mumbai Start up into logistics for 2.5 years now and it certainly hasn’t been easy. 7-day weeks, 12-hour days – it’s tough, but not impossible. I don’t believe being a woman has held me back or altered my chance of success. Being a successful women entrepreneur really comes down to personality. I’ve always been fiercely independent, confident and determined to succeed. My drive and perseverance to continue accomplishing have and will lead me to success. Entrepreneurship has been tough to say the least, but I’m convinced I will be successful.
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