Note on LoadShare partnership with British International Investments (BII)

 

LoadShare (www.loadshare.net) is a new age logistics platform, based in Bangalore, India with a focus on providing regional logistics services especially in the underserved regions of India. LoadShare was founded in 2017, and has been supported by multiple marquee venture capital firms since inception. The association with BII started in 2018, as BII invested in LoadShare through the “Catalyst” program in 2020 as a part of Series B. Subsequently, BII supported LoadShare in Series C in Feb 22, and has also in the interim provided support to some critical developmental impact projects through the BII Plus / grant programs.

 

The purpose of the note is to detail out the support provided by BII to LoadShare and answer from the company’s side:
 

  1. What specifically are the interventions / support provided by BII to LoadShare thus far?
  2. What is the unique value that BII adds, while there are multiple other venture firms supporting LoadShare?
  3. What are the ongoing and forward looking engagements that LoadShare and BII are working together and how does it have the ability to make a meaningful difference to development impact on logistics in India?

 

Firstly, to provide some background about LoadShare, and its unique focus on inclusive development of logistics in India:

a)    Last mile deliveries for food, ecommerce, groceries, FMCG, where we deliver ~ 300,000 orders per day, working with a fleet of 20,000 riders, of which ~ 9000 work on a daily basis

b)    Regional line haul (less than truckload)- we offer connectivity for brands from their warehouses in the state capitals to all Tier 2/3/ 4 towns in the state. Here we deliver ~ 200 Tonnes per day  and

c)    Technology solutions for SME logistics companies- our primary product here is “TransportBook”, which is a one stop mobile based solution for small fleet operators for managing their trucking operations. TransportBook has achieved significant scale with 600,000 trucks on the platform with ~ 700M USD annual worth of transactions recorded. LoadShare also provides its ecommerce logistics technology stack to SMEs as a SaaS for them to be able to work with ecommerce platforms like Meesho directly.

 

Annexure 1 contains more details about LoadShare and its areas of work and impact metrics.

 

Next, to answer the key questions on how BII has engaged and added significant value to LoadShare:

 

  1. Key support provided by BII for LoadShare
    1. BII’s first cheque into LoadShare came in when COVID had just started-this was also a time when many investors were delaying the funding given the prevailing uncertainty. This was through the “Catalyst” program, ~ 2M USD.
    2. In addition, immediately in the next few months, as COVID intensified and as LoadShare was figuring out priorities / areas of focus, BII provided 2 grants (~ 200K GBP)- for last mile medicine delivery and for cold chain logistics in the North East of India. This was critical for the company given it allowed for experimentation and developing new capabilities which would not have been taken forward at that time given the inclination to preserve capital.
    3. Subsequently, BII invested in a very useful research effort to better understand the demographics, aspirations of the delivery boys, truck drivers. This led to us uncovering very interesting insights on how we can better manage and delivery these partners, who are the lifeblood of LoadShare. Specific measures this led to was on setting up grievance management practices at scale using technology, practices to improve safety of the partners, upgrading our ESG practices overall, providing early payment solutions to our partners which improved their satisfaction and retention with LoadShare.
    4. On a continuing basis, LoadShare engages with BII to update regarding progress made on ESG practices, key metrics on employment generation and upskilling. It is safe to say that the engagement with BII on this nudges the management to keep assigning due weightage to the developmental impact dimension. Also, LoadShare benefits from general discussions (in addition to board meetings) with the BII team on overall strategy and execution front.
    5. BII extened its support to the Series C effort by putting forth USD 4M in Feb 22. While the deal got consummated in Feb 22, we had an in-principle understanding of BII extending its support to LoadShare even earlier (~ Sep 21), which provided a lot of mental support to the founders and the management team about the “patient” capital and the longer term, and developmental impact orientation of BII, allowing the company to stay true to its course

 

 

  1. BII’s unique value add to LoadShare

While LoadShare is well funded (having raised ~ 50M USD over the past 6 years), there is a unique value that BII brings which is beyond the money invested in the company. It would be safe to say that BII best represents the investor profile that best matches the business model and spirit of what LoadShare is building. It manifests itself in the following ways which only BII engages with LoadShare on:

  1. Focus on developmental impact metrics- this push is extremely helpful, since the second order benefits of the developmental work (e.g., investing in delivery boy upskilling, grievance management) are extremely high over the longer term
  2. Continuous initiative to support projects that lead to developmental impact, which have longer term ROI
  3. Timeliness of support, esp during times of need- evidenced by the support offered through BII Plus during COVID and being currently discussed
  4. Focus on ESG and high quality institution building
  5. Knowledge sharing with entrepreneurs in other developing economies- BII organized an event in Cairo in Sep 22, which was very useful perspective building and opening up business discussions which would perhaps never happened (e.g., LoadShare having conversations with other logistics companies in Pakistan)
     

With other financial investors, the focus is lesser on these areas, and perhaps more on the commercial  aspects. LoadShare is fortunate to have a board / investor mix that is the ideal combination of both commercial as well as developmental aspects which we think is critical for building out a great company longer term

 

  1. Current and future engagements between BII and LoadShare

LoadShare and BII are currently engaged on an effort to help India’s digital commerce take a orbital shift by building further on a country level initiative Open Network for Digital Commerce. This initiative holds the equivalent potential of what UPI (Unified Payments Interface) did to fast track the digital payments journey for India.

This effort requires LoadShare to invest a fair bit of effort on technology (providing logistics integrations to the buyer and seller apps on ONDC platform) and process changes to enable lowest cost deliveries for a low margin category like grocery through “batching”of orders, as one example. Given the current macro environment and the need to preserve cash, LoadShare might have deprioritized this investment, However, BII’s support on this enables LoadShare to continue investing on this effort, which has a potential to impact the larger commerce ecosystem in India

 

 

In summary, it would be a safe statement to make that LoadShare has benefited significantly from partnering with BII, in ways that are unique and not possible for other financial investors to provide. We deeply value the commercial, knowledge, and even moral support from BII to help us stay true to our course of developing logistics in India especially in the underserved regions.

 

Should there be any questions or clarifications, please do reach out to me

 

 

Raghuram Talluri

Founder, CEO LoadShare Networks Pvt Ltd

+91 7022 890 321

raghu@loadhare.net

 

 


 

ANNEXURE 1: DETAILS ABOUT LOADSHARE (Full document: LoadShare Impact Document)