Providing a lasting impact with last mile deliveries: dPronto

Rajiv Sharma shares his vision of making a cost-effective, last-mile delivery that provides high-quality service for consumers.
Rajiv Sharma, Managing Director and Co-Founder, dPronto

Last mile delivery is considered to be the frontier in the retail supply chain vertical. As eCommerce has become ubiquitous in the country and is consistently fueling its expansion into the untapped markets, there is immense pressure on eTailers to have impeccably delivery capabilities.

Fulfillment, inventory deployment and supply chain network is a big conundrum when it comes to eCommerce as many companies falls short on giving their customers satisfactory delivery services. With a mission to provide last mile logistics services to the eCommerce companies, New Delhi-based dPronto has successfully served many eCommerce players including Snapdeal and Flipkart to minimise their delivery turnarounds time and optimise costs.

Speaking about the same with Retailer Media, Rajiv Sharma, Managing Director & Co-Founder, dPronto shares his vision of making a cost-effective, last-mile delivery that provides high-quality service for consumers. He also shared dPronto’s core value proposition in line with current eCommerce environment.

Please share your background. Your education and whether entrepreneurship was something you always wanted to do?
Rajiv Sharma was CEO of Airtel Enterprise Business, President of Kodak and VP in HCL, He has over 25 years of stellar career in leading, growing and managing businesses across tough sectors, untapped geographies and new product lines. He is Values Driven, People Focussed and Result Oriented; He holds MA, LLB and MBA (FMS, Delhi). Entrepreneurship resulting in social transformation was something he always wanted to do.

How was the idea of your Start-up conceptualized? What is the need you are addressing in the market?
dPronto was started in July 15 based on a genuine intention of the Founders to get dignified jobs for the underprivileged youth in our country. dPronto’s group company Empower Pragati (a Tier 1 training partner of NSDC) has been training less privileged youth since 2010 and has trained more than 100,000 people so far. The Founders wanted a regular consumption point where these trainees could get employment, and thus dPronto was born.

dPronto is a group company of Empower Pragati which provides an uninterrupted supply of freshly trained and motivated logistics staff across 600 towns of India. These youth are from economically weaker sections of society and by gaining respectable employment in logistics with a definitive skill set which brings them a steady income, they are able to transform their own and their families’ lives. This kind of hiring mechanism also helps in minimizing the manpower attrition rate which is the bane of e-commerce logistics industry.

Talk to us about your recent tie-up with Snapdeal?
Snapdeal is a major customer of dPronto. We are their leading partner for same day deliveries.

What is your Business Model? Please share numbers of founders, Product/services offered and current Business size?
dPronto is a last mile delivery (including hyper local logistics) company which has built its business model around e-commerce companies (including hyper local market places). Its mission is to provide last mile logistics services for e-commerce companies by leveraging trained fresh manpower supply, disruptive technology and efficient processes that minimize delivery turnaround times and optimize costs. E-commerce logistics including last mile logistics is a critical element in the online retail market. E-commerce logistics market in India is pegged to reach $5.1 billion by 2020. Last mile logistics, the space dPronto is operating in, is considered a pain point by many e-commerce companies and is critical as it serves as an end-customer touch point. Last mile logistics constitutes 40% of e-commerce logistics and is also expected to grow at CAGR 48% to reach $2.1 billion by 2020.

There are 4 Co-Founders - Rajiv Sharma, PrithaDutt, KB Rajendran and Sanjeev Sharma. Each of them has 25 plus years’ experience in the corporate sector.

PrithaDutt is an expert in HR, Training & Capacity Building. She has wide experience across corporate and development sectors. She was President - Feedback Ventures and Sr. VP -  Bharti Tele Ventures. She is Creative, Social Sector Focused and Result Oriented. She holds an MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur.

KB Rajendran is an expert in IT, Cloud Computing and Telecom. He has wide experience across leading corporates such as Airtel, RCOM, Dimension Data and Essar. He holds a B. Tech from NIT, Calicut and MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur.

Sanjeev Sharma has proven expertise in retail sector across multiple geos and countries. He has extensive experience across Sales, Marketing, Operations, General Management; last assignment was as CEO of LT Foods (Daawat Rice) for Middle East and Africa. He holds an MBA from SP Jain.

What are major services that you offer?
We largely provide services like Hyperlocal Delivery, Pre-paid Delivery, Cash on Delivery, Card on Delivery and Reverse Logistics.

What is your business Size?
We started only this fiscal year. We plan to do about Rs. 25 cr in the first full year of operations and about Rs. 170 cr in the second full year of operations.

Who is your target consumer? Could you please share how you have detailed your consumer?
Target customers are on e-commerce companies. We have 3 very large clients – Flipkart, Snapdeal and Shopclues.

Have you raised any funding so far? What are your plans to use this funding for?
The founders have pumped in Rs. 1 cr seed capital so far. We have established in 3 cities – Delhi NCR, Bangalore and Hyderabad – with this amount. We are now looking for external funding for the next phase of growth and expansion. We also have presence in another 600 towns by virtue of our association with Empower Pragati and will expand to 10 more among these towns in the next 3 months

What is your team size? What is your office culture like? 
We have around 200 employees at present which is growing on a daily basis. Our culture is an amalgamation of passion, social commitment and ethical approach to every issue. We encourage our team members to embrace change, build honest relationships and pursue growth and learning.

What has been your A-ha Moment in the business? (The high point)
Signing up Flipkart as a customer was a big A-ha moment.

What has been your biggest challenge so far in scaling -up? How are you addressing it?
The challenges faced were mainly on the learning cycle to make the processes efficient in this industry. The vast operational experience and the hands-on nature of their work here helped in addressing those challenges well.

How do you see growth scenario in this business in tier II and III cities? What are your future scale-up plans?
The biggest potential in this business is in tier II and III cities since e-commerce is growing at breakneck speed in those cities. We are present in 600 towns across 20 states by virtue of our association with Empower Pragati. We plan to reach 120 towns to cover 1800 pin codes by year 2 and reach 225 towns to cover 3375 pin codes by year 3.

Rajiv Sharma