Truck It In, a trucking marketplace based in Karachi, reported today that it has raised $1.5 million in a pre-seed round led by Global Founders Capital. The round, which is one of the largest pre-seed investments by a company in the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan, also included Fatima Gobi Ventures, Deosai Ventures, BitRate Venture Capital, and +92 Ventures, as well as angel investors such as the founders of London-based autonomous driving startup Wayve, and many Careem executives.
Truck It In, which launched in August 2020, links shippers and truckers via an online platform. For shippers, who are typically companies, the pitch is straightforward: access to a dependable fleet of trucks at a reasonable price through a technology platform that includes live monitoring and analytics. On the other hand, truckers receive immediate loads and assurance for backhaul loads (return trips), which is typically a concern, especially for independent truckers. The startup generates revenue by deducting a fee from each completed ride.
Muhammad Sarmad Farooq, Raza Afzal, and Haider Navid founded Truck It In. All three previously designed or led various categories and functions at Careem (and Bykea). Sarmad most recently served as Head of Commercial for Careem’s last-mile distribution in the UAE, Raza assisted Careem in growing its fleet in Islamabad before joining Bykea as VP of Development, and Haider previously served as Careem’s Head of Bus in Pakistan.
The online platform, which is currently available in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and Faisalabad, enables shippers to book a variety of vehicle forms, including flatbed, container, Halfbody, Mazda, Shehzore, and pickup, for the majority of the country’s major (inter-city) routes.
According to a statement from Muhammad Sarmad Farooq, co-founder and CEO of Truck It In, “the new middlemen-heavy industry relies on conventional calling and mental notes to link truckers and shippers.” We’re going to eliminate supply chain inefficiencies in a $25 billion industry that’s rising at a faster rate than the rest of the world.
regional peers, to assist Pakistani companies in obtaining more than $1 billion.”
Truck It In did not disclose the number of truckers and clients it serves today, but Sarmad told MENAbytes that they are introducing hundreds of new truckers to their platform on a weekly basis. We increase trucker utilisation by minimising idle time and offering backhaul loads, which results in increased trucker interaction on our platform,” the CEO said, adding that they are focused on independent truckers (for supply), who account for approximately 80% of available vehicles.
Tito Costa, Partner at Global Founders Capital, said, “We are thrilled to support the Truck It In team and kickstart their initiative to digitise the country’s trucking industry, benefiting both shippers and truck drivers.” There is an opportunity to transform the industry by using technology to increase efficiency and cost savings, and Truck It In has the ideal team to execute.”
Global Founders Capital has invested in Pakistan three times since the beginning of the year.
Trucking has become a fairly competitive space for startups in Pakistan in the last year, with several regional players expanding into the country. Along with them, we’re seeing interest from local teams (including legacy businesses), many of whom have recently launched similar trucking marketplaces in the region.
However, Truck It In’s team is unconcerned about this, stating, “Road freight is a highly fragmented space that is heavily reliant on middlemen.” The rivalry is both new-age and conventional, but the market is massive and increasing rapidly, creating opportunities for [different] players to carve out a niche and coexist,” Sarmad explained in an interview with MENAbytes.
“Since our pilot, we’ve approached the market differently. We’ve assembled a high-performance team that is intimately familiar with the space and is developing goods tailored to the local market. Our supply chain is significantly stronger as a result of strategic alliances and the founders’ personal histories. We are fully committed to our own path and to achieving our vision.”
Fatima Gobi Ventures’ involvement would also profit Truck It In, as the fund’s limited partners represent major industries in Pakistan with sizable shipping operations. “Having backed promising investments in this space in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, we are excited to add our first trucking portfolio business in Pakistan,” said General Partner Ali Mukhtar. We believe the team is well-positioned to lead the trucking sector’s revolution, and we look forward to joining the organisation on its path to not only solve difficult old-world logistics problems, but also to significantly improve the livelihoods of individual and SME truck owners across the country.”