Big Idea

How Shiprocket became India’s leading e-commerce logistics aggregator

What Zomato or Swiggy is to the food industry, this ₹1 billion-start-up is to e-commerce logistics  

PIVOT CHAMPIONS (L-R): Shiprocket’s CTO Sunil Kumar, director Vishesh Khurana, se- nior VP Gautam Bansal, CEO Saahil Goel, CBO Akshay Ghulati, COO Gautam Kapoor

It’s a ship… it’s a rocket… it’s a platform for small scale e-commerce businesses to manage their orders and shipments. It’s Shiprocket. We know about courier services such as Blue Dart, Delhivery, DHL and Ecom Express. Major platforms and businesses have tied up with them to fulfil their orders, but what about the SMEs that do not have the wherewithal to partner with say Blue Dart directly? 

They may not have huge volume every month and thus, shy away from subscribing to the courier service’s monthly, quarterly or annual package. 

Enter Shiprocket. The e-commerce logistics aggregator allows direct-to-consumer (D2C) businesses to flexibly choose their courier partner for every order, after comparing prices and assessing the track record of each service. Today, it is the largest aggregator with a network of over 85,000 sellers, servicing 26,000 pin codes. But, the road to adopting a successful business model has been a tough one for the founders — Saahil Goel, Gautam Kapoor and Vishesh Khurana. 

“We had worked through many business models, failed and finally bounced back. But, the core of our business remained constant: e-commerce, SMEs and technology,” says Goel, who is also the CEO of the company. 

Rocket launcher
Under BigFoot Retail Solutions, they first founded Kartrocket in 2012, a B2B e-commerce SaaS service provider to help small and medium merchants create their online shopping site, enable online payments gateway and sell their products — all at a cost of Rs.3,000/month. Then, when apps such as Facebook and WhatsApp became omnipresent, they launched Kraftly, a C2C marketplace for homepreneurs, in 2015. They had more than 1,000 sellers on the platform, but instead of being a savvy SaaS platform, they ended up spending most of their resources in assisting and advising small business owners. “Some sellers with just 50 products were asking us to build a Flipkart-like website,” recalls Goel. But, competing with Amazon and Flipkart would just not be prudent. They realised that most of their clients were anyway listed on those major e-commerce platforms, but were using Kraftly for its shipping feature. Unlike e-commerce websites, which shipped in bulk, Kraftly would allow small shipping orders from Tier-II and Tier-III cities. For instance, if 100 sellers chose courier A on Kraftly, the platform could aggregate the orders and thus offer lower rates for an individual seller. 

Kraftly’s founders realised there was big money and scalability here, in facilitating shipments. Thus, Shiprocket was founded in 2016 and Kraftly was rebranded as Shiprocket Social in 2018. Meanwhile, Kartrocket was rebranded as Shiprocket 360, which manages order and inventory, customer relationship and marketing and branding solutions.