New Delhi, India, August 18, 2015: When pioneers in any industry invest their money into a new venture, it demonstrates faith in the organisation’s vision, potential, leadership and execution capability. Gurgaon-based Shadowfax seems to be hitting all the right notes in the Indian entrepreneurial space in merely four months since inception. As India’s fastest growing on-demand hyperlocal merchant delivery services, the company has recently received an investment of around $300,000 in an angel round led by top Indian entrepreneurs such as Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal of Snapdeal, Zishaan Hayath of Powai Lake Ventures, and Prashant Malik of Limeroad.
The reason they are betting big on the venture lies in the difference in approach, according to Abhishek Bansal, Co-founder & CEO, Shadowfax. “We believe that improving the existing state of last mile delivery and hyperlocal logistics would enable all future business growth. At Shadowfax, we are looking to build India’s most formidable, credible and fastest merchant delivery service. To achieve our aim, we have invested in strengthening our people on-boarding & training with tech-enabled solutions that help us provide 100% service assurance.”
Shadowfax has invested in robust and reliable technology that uses multiple modes of communication in order to provide relevant solutions in the Indian context. It employs integrated GPS tracking functions and automated algorithms in its product to improve the efficiency of the network. Vaibhav Khandelwal, CTO & Co-founder – Shadowfax, elaborates, “We have incorporated several features that leverage our proprietary end-to-end capacity planning algorithm to put the merchant directly in touch with the rider, geo-location for tracking orders, rider route planning, order coupling etc. that will help us become most efficient delivery company. Our advanced technology around restaurant preparation time ensures riders pick up meals only after they are ready and use the shortest route to navigate their way to their destination. We are single-mindedly focused towards building a highly reliable and smart network that guarantees seamless and accurate delivery which will help us lead this space.”
Facts and figures support Shadowfax’s exponential growth within a short span of time. Since its launch in May 2015, Shadowfax today has an average delivery volume processing of approximately 3000 orders a day and 120-150 outlets that are currently utilising its service for last mile delivery in the Delhi-NCR region. Its service levels have made the company the vendor of choice with the merchants. The growth of the company has been driven through referrals.
“We’re growing very rapidly. We have already created a niche for our services in Delhi-NCR and are looking to strengthen our present team of 35+ employees and 350+ riders and expand into 10 more cities within the next one year,” says Abhishek, “With the recent investment, technology maturity and endorsement from our partners we are well poised to achieve that goal.”
The company further aims to take its services beyond food delivery and expand its efficient logistical infrastructure to multiple other categories.
Angel investor, Zishaan Hayath, Powai Lake Ventures, says, “Abhishek and Vaibhav are focused on using technology as the core to build a strong merchant delivery network. This is a large problem with high fragmentation and the founders are obsessed with skill, efficiency and speed. This gives me the confidence that Shadowfax will grow into a very valuable company.”
Moreover, Shadowfax has a strategic tie-up with NSDC’s training partners to enhance skills of riders and provide customized training that focused on continuous improvement. “With our superior training infrastructure and pioneering approach towards the delivery management sector, we will make the delivery industry an aspirational avenue for the youth of the country,” Abhishek adds. “We have opted for a partial crowd-sourced model, where anyone who wishes to be a rider can join our rider pool. However, every rider is imparted vocational skill based training before deployment.”
Another factor which has added to Shadowfax’s rapid scale-up has been the strong team ethic and open-door policy adopted by the founders. Co-founders Abhishek Bansal and Vaibhav Khandelwal have been close friends since their time in IIT Delhi. Abhishek’s work experience includes closely working with Walmart for about 2 years across India and China while he was working as a management consultant at Haygroup. In fact, his experience with organised retail is what spurred the concept of transportation networks and supply chain optimization for last mile logistics. In his last stint, working with Pratham Institute as a strategist, he developed an interesting model to improve on the delivery efficiency by providing vocational skill based training to youth.
Vaibhav, who has always been a technology enthusiast, worked as quant analyst with System Two Advisors before co-founding Shadowfax. Previously, he has worked in the technology teams of Adobe and MIT to develop patented technologies in the field of communication and algorithmic decision making.
“Our core team comprises members who have known each other well from our time at IIT-Delhi. We share an extremely strong bond from our college days, and it has translated into a strong base on which to build the organisation. We are keen on getting like-minded individuals on board who can contribute to Shadowfax’s growth,” concludes Abhishek.