M&M enters intra-city logistics aggregation with SmartShift

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd has launched an intra-city logistics marketplace that connects cargo owners with transporters, as the auto maker pushes ahead with its digital strategy.

SmartShift, the new digital platform, will first go live in Mumbai followed by other cities, M&M said in a statement.

Anish Shah, group president (strategy), M&M, said India's goods transport industry is fragmented and a marketplace that connects load owners and transporters can bring significant efficiency. The resulting reduction in cost and travel time would benefit consumers, he added.

Cargo owners – both businesses and individual users – can access the service on SmartShift’s website, mobile app and its call centre, the statement said. Transporters can either accept or decline a delivery request based on pricing or availability of vehicles.

The SmartShift platform is part of the $16.9-billion Mahindra Group's strategy to make deeper inroads into India’s digital services and e-commerce ecosystem. In September, it floated M2ALL.com, a portal that offers the entire range of the group’s offerings. Earlier this year, the group acquired Mumbai-based startup Nest Childcare Services Pvt Ltd, which runs e-commerce site for baby products under Babyoye.com, for an undisclosed amount.

Of late, a bunch of tech startups have entered the business of connecting last-mile logistics services providers for intra-city transport. These ventures are asset-light and do not own the vehicles themselves and come across as a booking platform similar to taxi-hailing apps Ola and Uber. Several have also raised angel or VC funding.

Pickingo, a B2B on-demand hyperlocal logistics startup, raised $1.3 million from Rehan Yar Khan of Orios Venture Partners along with Zishaan Hayath in August.

Moovo.in, an on-demand booking platform for mini-trucks, raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s venture investment fund YouWeCan and others in July. The same month, Bangalore-based theKarrier raised Rs 1.5 crore ($240,000) in a seed funding round led by Sol Primero.

Turant Delivery, an on-demand logistics aggregator for relocation services, acquired smaller peer Zippon for an undisclosed amount last month.

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