Crowdsourced delivery startup mShipper scales back operations

Delhi-based mShipper India Pvt. Ltd., which operates crowdsourced, intra-city delivery startup mShipper, has scaled down operations with demonetisation severely affecting its revenues, a top company executive told VCCircle.

The startup, operational only in Delhi-NCR, has stopped on-boarding new clients and discontinued delivery for individuals since March, Saurav Sagar, co-founder and chief operating officer of mShipper, said. However, it continues to deliver orders for small and medium enterprises.

“Most of our delivery orders were cash on delivery. Following demonetisation, when our orders took a 70% hit, we decided that scaling down operations was the sensible thing to do and use this to scale up our IT and technology infrastructure before eventually ramping up orders and new clients,” Sagar said.

The company’s website, which was non-operational since last week as the domain name was up for renewal, is now functioning. While users can download the mShipper app from Google Play Store, the firm is not adding new clients and users.

“Our existing and verified shippers are able to deliver the current orders through our app. New registration will be accepted and verified from our upcoming version of the app. Likewise, we have been taking orders through manual channels as well to assign them to our freelance delivery personnel,” Sagar explained.

The company’s IT team is also undergoing a revamp and developing a more robust version of the tech platform, he said.

mShipper connects senders with freelance delivery professionals for delivery of tangible, low-weight consignments on the same or next day. Senders and shippers are required to create their profiles on the platform after online and physical identity verification.

In January 2016, mShipper was in talks to acquire Spieler Technologies, a Pune-based product development company to strengthen its tech capabilities. However, the deal did not go through.

In March, mShipper was among the startups selected by Facebook as part of its startup initiative FBStart, qualifying for a $40,000 grant and access to a host of services offered by Amazon, UserTesting, Dropbox and MailChimp.

mShipper was founded in November 2015 by Sagar and Ranvijay Singh (chief executive), who both previously worked at digital marketing agency LetmeRank. A computer science graduate, Sagar has also had stints at publishing house Macmillan and technology multinational IBM, while Singh is a marketing professional and has worked at software firm Vinove and business consulting company Sicobe Business Solutions.

Sagar has also founded GymsKart, an online marketplace for fitness service providers. “I have no plans to exit mShipper and will juggle both the ventures. At a later stage, if I am unable to manage things, I'll make some alternative [arrangements],” he said.

In October 2015, the company had raised $77,000 (Rs 50 lakh) from Delhi-based angel Vijai Laxmi, according to media reports.

Sagar said that mShipper is currently in talks with investors to raise up to Rs 2 crore and is expected to close a deal within the next few weeks to a month.

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