Karachi-based trucking marketplace Truck It In has raised $1.5 million in a pre-seed round led by Global Founders Capital, it announced in a statement today. The round which is one of the largest pre-seed investments raised by a startup in the Middle East, North Africa & Pakistan, also saw the participation of Fatima Gobi Ventures, Deosai Ventures, BitRate Venture Capital, +92 Ventures, as well as angel investors including founders of London-based autonomous driving startup Wayve, and some members of Careem’s leadership.
Started in August 2020, Truck It In connects shippers and truckers through its online platform. For shippers, which are usually businesses, its pitch is fairly simple: access to a reliable fleet of trucks at competitive pricing through its tech platform that comes with live tracking and insights. Truckers on the other side receive instant loads and assurance for back-haul loads (return trips), which is usually a concern, especially for the individual truckers. The startup makes money by taking a cut from every completed trip.
Truck It In’s founders include Muhammad Sarmad Farooq, Raza Afzal, and Haider Navid, all three of whom have previously built or led different categories and functions at Careem (and Bykea). Sarmad was most recently Head of Commercial for Careem’s last-mile delivery in the UAE, Raza had helped Careem grow its fleet in Islamabad before joining Bykea as VP of Growth, and Haider used to lead Careem Bus in Pakistan.
Currently available in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and Faisalabad, the online platform enables shippers to book different types of vehicles, including Flatbed, Container, Halfbody, Mazda, Shehzore, and Pickup, for most of the major (inter-city) routes across the country.
Muhammad Sarmad Farooq, the co-founder and CEO of Truck It In, in a statement, said, “The current middlemen heavy industry relies on traditional calling and mental notes to match truckers with shippers. We are going to solve the supply chain inefficiencies in a $25 billion market, that is growing faster than its
regional peers, to help unlock more than $1 Billion for Pakistani businesses.”
Truck It In did not share the numbers of truckers and clients it is serving today but Sarmad told MENAbytes that they’re adding hundreds of new truckers on a weekly basis to their platform, “Our operations team is working round the clock to onboard more truckers on the platform as we seek to bring efficiency in this market. We offer higher utilization to truckers by reducing their idle time, as well as providing them with back-haul loads, which results in higher engagement of truckers on our platform,” noted the CEO, adding that they’re focusing on independent truckers (for supply) who, he said, constitute 80 percent of available vehicles.
Tito Costa, Partner at Global Founders Capital, commenting on the investment, said, “We are excited to back the Truck It In team and kickstart their effort to digitize the trucking industry in the country, benefiting both shippers and truck drivers. There is an opportunity to transform the industry by driving efficiencies and cost savings through technology and Truck It In has the perfect team to execute on it.”
It is Global Founders Capital’s third investment in Pakistan since the start of the year.
Trucking has become a fairly competitive space for startups in Pakistan, with different regional players expanding to the country, within the last twelve months. In addition to them, we’re also seeing interest from local teams (including legacy businesses), many of which have launched similar trucking marketplaces in the country, in the last few months.
But Truck It In’s team is not too worried about that, “Road freight is a deeply fragmented space that is middlemen heavy. The competition in it is both new-age and traditional but the market is huge and growing at a fast pace which creates opportunities for [different] players to find their niche and co-exist,” explained Sarmad, in a conversation with MENAbytes.
“From our pilot, we have been pursuing the market differently. We have built a high-performance team that knows the space deeply and is building localized products. Our access to supply is much stronger due to the strategic partnerships and the personal backgrounds of the founders. We are very focused on our own journey and realizing our vision.”
The participation of Fatima Gobi Ventures will also serve Truck It In well as the limited partners of the fund represent major industries of Pakistan with sizable shipping operations. Its General Partner Ali Mukhtar, commenting on the investment, said, “Having backed successful investments in this space in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, we are excited to add our first trucking portfolio company in Pakistan. We believe the team is well-positioned to lead the disruption in the trucking sector and we look forward to joining the company in its journey, not just to solve challenging old-world logistics problems but also to add significant social value to the livelihood of individual and SME truck owners across the country.”