Logistics start-up BlackBuck is close to sealing a new financing round of $150 million from new and existing investors to support a major push into financial services, truck servicing and other businesses.
This move will help its core freight marketplace business in the country, sources said.
B-Capital, the venture capital firm of Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, Goldman Sachs and Accel Partners US, are said to be leading the series D round.
“Commitment for about $150 million is in, but the round is still being finalised. It could go above this figure,” an investor, close to the talks, said.
BlackBuck did not respond to a request for comment.
Company filings dated March 15, sourced from Paper.vc, a corporate data platform, show that about Rs 300 crore, or $43 million, has already come in. Goldman Sachs, through its fund Global Private Opportunities Partners III, has put in Rs 214 crore, while B Capital has invested Rs 90 crore.
B Capital, a mid-stage
VC fund with usually invests $50 million in a round, is an investor in MSwipe, software start-up Icertis and packaging firm Bizongo.
BlackBuck last raised $30 million from Sequoia, Sands Capital and Accel India in mid-2018. The latest series D will be used to support working capital requirements, expansion and foray into new services. It comes amid a funding boom in new tech-enabled logistics start-ups.
Rivigo, which operates inter-city trucks on a relay-model, recently raised $30 million from Warburg Pincus and SAIF Partners, and e-commerce focussed courier firm Delhivery got SoftBank Vision Fund to lead a $413-million round. Delhivery is now valued at over $1 billion.
Started in 2015, BlackBuck is a marketplace for trucks used in long-haul shipments. It aggregates demand from large corporates like HUL and Coca-Cola. The company has created a network of fleet operators (trucks are often operated by a fleet owner who may have a dozen to over 50 trucks) in key demand regions, and claims that over 200,000 trucks are associated with the platform.
The Bengaluru-based company is now looking to offer ancillary services to truckers and fleet operators, building on the multitude of data the BlackBuck platform generates on truckers. Central to this piece is a financing platform that will offer working credit, short-term loans and vehicle finance to trucking partners.
BlackBack is preparing to apply for a non-banking financial services (NBFC) licence with the Reserve Bank of India, sources said. This will enable the firm to lend from its own pocket. Once that is secured, the company will be on-board with other lenders to jointly lend or offer insurance products to trucking partners using BlackBuck data. A part of the new capital will be earmarked for extending credit.
BlackBuck’s pre-paid cards for paying at tolls and petrol pumps is already bringing in valuable data to the the firm’s platform. The company is also tying up with partners for services like type replacement and general repairs.