Locus to expand as global tech brand in supply chain automation with new funding

07, Jun. 2021

Super express delivery is a growing trend across the globe, as local supermarkets to large-scale retailers and e-commerce giants have joined the league, offering 15-30 mins delivery of groceries and essentials. Locus helps such clients speed up their last-mile delivery with AI-enabled logistics tech solutions. (Photo: Locus)
Super express delivery is a growing trend across the globe, as local supermarkets to large-scale retailers and e-commerce giants have joined the league, offering 15-30 mins delivery of groceries and essentials. Locus helps such clients speed up their last-mile delivery with AI-enabled logistics tech solutions. (Photo: Locus)

SINGAPORE, NNA - Indian supply chain automation startup Locus has raised $50 million to grow as a global tech brand after having served clients from more than 400 cities in the past five years.

Its Series C funding was led by GIC, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, with participation from Qualcomm Ventures LLC and existing investors Tiger Global and Falcon Edge.

Locus will use the funds to beef up its international teams to serve enterprises better, as well as its research and development team in order to expand its product line for supply chain and logistics solutions which use deep machine learning and proprietary algorithms.

Its solutions automate tasks that previously required significant human labor, including tracking inventory, transporting goods, and optimizing delivery routes.

Locus serves companies dealing in e-commerce, retail, e-grocery, consumer goods, home services, home deliveries, third-party logistics, transportation, and B2B distribution. Among its clients across North America, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Indian subcontinent are global players and big companies like Nestle, Mondelez, Unilever, BigBasket, Bluedart, The Tata Group and Bukalapak.

In a blog on the company website, Locus CEO Nishith Rastogi said, "We’ve filed for over 10 patents, and look to double that count this year with the infusion of additional capital. Since our inception, we’ve been a strong research-focused company, and this funding will give us more arsenal to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation. We will hire more PhDs and developers to fortify our technology team."

Bolstering the tech team will eventually translate to more accurate ‘real-world’ decision-making for clients in their day-to-day operations, he said.

Locus has been on an expansion spree in the Americas and boosting its leadership there by hiring industry veterans.

Rastogi said, "We will aggressively build our local customer success and business development teams in North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent. This will allow us to serve our enterprise customers across geographies, with the nuance of each region and in their language."

"We are now looking to support our customers with a global footprint. Other than the geographies we are already present in, we are also investing heavily in Latin America and aggressively building our presence there," he added Rastogi.

He said continual innovation is needed as the end customer has increasingly become the center of the supply chain. Also, a small disruption at an arbitrary point in the global and connected supply chain has ripple effects with far reaching impacts, he said.

"We got glimpses of this a few months into the pandemic and the recent Suez Canal incident. Brands now need to make more complex decisions in less time to run the modern supply chain efficiently," said Rastogi, adding that companies have started to realize this and question their existing supply chain strategies.

Split-second decisions that supply chain and logistics personnel have to make every day are becoming more complex as they involve a lot of variable factors.

"It is impossible for a human to consider all scenarios and arrive at a decision. You need robust proactive systems in place to tackle this situation," said Rastogi who has launched products to ensure the end customer is well served and give clients the means to proactively manage their business.

One recent Locus innovation is NodeIQ, an end-to-end engine to enable intelligent network design for clients.

"A brand no longer needs to go to consultants to come up with answers for questions like “Where can I build my next warehouse?” or “What should I do to build a sustainable supply chain?”. With NodeIQ, they can do it faster in-house and also at a much lower cost," he said.

Its flagship products DispatchIQ and TrackIQ that help with last-mile requirements for brands have improved with more specialized data sets, faster and more efficient algorithms covering a larger number of real-world use cases.

For instance, when a delivery rider suffers a vehicle breakdown, others nearest to him can be alerted to help out and share the load.

Locus is also working closely with clients on sustainability initiatives. Rastogi claimed that his solutions have helped clients across sectors to reduce more than 70 million kilometers of travel and saved millions in logistics costs.

Noted angel investors like Amrish Rau, CEO of Pine Labs, Kunal Shah, CEO of Cred, Raju Reddy, founder of Sierra Atlantic, and Deb Deep Sengupta, former president & MD of SAP South Asia, also participated in the recent Series C financing.

The company had earlier raised $30 million in multiple rounds. It has offices in the United States, UK, India, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Germany.