Flipkart has invested in an online freight-booking service founded by former executives of tobacco major ITC, the online marketplace’s first significant move in its recent efforts to improve its logistics and supply chain capabilities.
Bengaluru-based Blackbuck, recently renamed Zinka Logistics, raised around $6 million (Rs 38 crore) from Flipkart and Accel Partners, which led the transaction, two people familiar with the development said.
“They have raised $6 million led by Accel Partners,” said a venture capital investor who had considered investing in Zinka, adding that Flipkart was a co-investor. Another venture capitalist, an investor in another logistics startup, too said Zinka had raised funding from Flipkart and Accel. While Accel and Zinka did not reply to emails, a Flipkart spokesperson said, “We do not comment on speculations.”
Flipkart’s investment comes as logistics emerges as a key challenge for online retailers, with supply chain constraints threatening to derail their high growth.
ET reported last week that Flipkart, as it prepares to offer hyperlocal deliveries, planned to invest $80-100 million (Rs 510-640 crore) this year to strengthen its supply chain business, eKart, and outsource 70% of its deliveries by November.
Zinka is building an online marketplace for freight transportation booking, focusing initially on logistics between cities. The startup is targeting customers across segments — retail consumers, small and medium enterprises, as well as large companies like Flipkart. The startup was founded by IIT-Kharagpur graduates Rajesh Yabaji and Chanakya Hridaya.
Before starting up in January this year, Yabaji was a category development manager at ITC and earlier worked for four years managing the supply chain of tobacco leaves at the company. Hridaya worked for two years as assistant manager of supply chain in the same division. Several early investments have been made recently in both inter and intra-city freight aggregation platforms.
Trucksfirst, a Gurgaon-based startup working on intercity logistics, raised Rs 62 crore from venture capital firm SAIF Partners and Singapore Post. The Porter, which aggregates tempos and trucks for deliveries within a city, raised Rs 35 crore from Sequoia Capital and Kae Capital earlier this week. Intra-city logistics startups Moovo, the Karrier and Shippr too raised funding in recent months.
Flipkart has been more active with acquisitions till date, acquiring Myntra, mobile ad network AdIQuity and mobile marketing startup Appiterate in the last one year.