Paperfly, the Dhaka-based logistics-tech company has raised nearly BDT 100 crore in new investment from Ecom Express, said a press release. Ecom Express, which is backed by Warburg Pincus and CDC Group, is one of the largest logistics companies in India having operations in over 29 states in India.
Founded in 2016, Paperly provides logistics, warehousing, packaging, fulfillment, return management, and cash-on-delivery collection services to online businesses in Dhaka. Over years, the company has introduced a number of interesting services including smart return, smart check, smartlog, in-app call, and cashless pay, etc. Paperfly claims that it has around 100 delivery points and covers 4,454 union across the country. The company claims to have "the widest cash-on-delivery coverage and handle highest e-commerce volume in the country as a 3PL (3rd Party Logistics)."
With the new investment, the company set sights on taking its services beyond ecommerce and get into mainstream courier services using a combination of cost efficiency and customer service. “Our aim is to establish Paperfly as the largest network of connected logistics, which is able to meet the needs of any enterprise, customers, or e-commerce," says Rahath Ahmed, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Paperfly, to the Daily Star.
1/ Logistics remains a major challenge for ecommerce in Bangladesh. There are multiple problems: reach, service quality, and cost. It means the vertical offers a huge opportunity to build a large business. Paperfly seeks to take this opportunity. The new investment, from a player that has deep expertise in building and scaling a logistics business in a market like India, is likely to benefit Paperfly meaningfully and help the company scale its business in the coming years.
2/ Logistics has been gaining persistent interest from a wide range of players. Ecourier, one of the earliest players in the space, raised an undisclosed amount of investment in 2019. ShopUp, which owns logistics company RedX, raised US$22.5 million in funding in 2020. ShopUp has been investing a lot in growing its logistics business. There are other smaller players such as Delivery Tiger that are looking to offer price benefits to customers through various mechanisms. It means competition is likely to intensify as well.
3/ Paperfly, RedX, eCourier, these companies started off as logistics services for ecommerce companies. Initially, these companies only provided logistics services. It is no more the case. These companies have expanded since and added services like warehouse facilities, return management, and so on. They are now looking beyond ecommerce and slowly getting into the traditional courier business. In fact, Paperfly has moved to help traditional retail players such as Unimart launch their online delivery service.
1. Paperfly Plans Big F-commerce Logistics Push: Paperfly started a growth push early this year, launched a number of new services, and went after a new segment of the market it was previously not serving actively. This piece is pertinent today because Paperfly, with the new investment, aims to go after an even bigger segment of the market.
2. Inside Delivery Tiger’s Plans To Meaningfully Bring Down The Cost Of eCommerce Logistics: This is a relevant read in relation to Paperfly’s new funding round.
3. eCourier Raises Investment From HongKong-based Private Equity Group, Eyes Further Growth: ECourier is one of the earliest players in the space.
4. ShopUp Raises $22.5 Million in New Series A Funding Co-led by Sequoia Capital India and Flourish Ventures: ShopUp aims to be a one-stop platform for all critical services SMEs need. The company sees logistics to be a key piece of its overall ecosystem.
5. New mobility startups, Pathao, Shohoz both have operations in logistics. Foodpanda is also tiptoing into the space with new initiatives. Uber launched a new service called Uber Connect, allowing users to send packages. The market is likely to see further convergence in the coming years.