Intra-city logistics segment saw a flurry of startups during the 2014-17 period but only a handful of them managed to thrive. One such startup is Porter which amassed $152 million in total funding including a $103 million Series E round led by Tiger Global.
Besides scoring big rounds, Porter’s scale also shot up 4X in the last two fiscal years (FY21 and FY22) with controlled expenditure.
The Mumbai-based company provides a full stack logistics platform to help businesses optimize their last-mile delivery operations. Income from goods transportation services formed 99.6% of the operating revenue which surged 2.6X to Rs 843.89 crore in FY22, according to Porter’s financial statement with the RoC.
The rest of the operating income came from specified services which grew 45.8% to Rs 3.79 crore during FY22. Its earning from interest on fixed deposits increased around 2.5X to Rs 14.38 crore.
Vehicle running expenditure which include all vehicle-related and delivery personal costs accounted for 79.9% of overall cost. This cost grew 2.55X to Rs 786.4 crore during FY22 from Rs 307.62 crore in FY21.
To keep up with the growing scale, the company ramped up its workforce in FY22. As a result, Porter’s employee benefit expenditure jumped 2.17X to Rs 106.05 crore and formed 10.8% of its overall cost.
Advertising and telephone postage costs spiked 3.88X and 2.18X to Rs 27.31 crore and Rs 10 crore respectively in FY22 which catalyzed Porter’s overall cost by 2.5X to Rs 984 crore in FY22.
The Tiger Global-backed company kept control over its expenses and narrowed down losses by 12.1% to Rs 122 crore in FY22. Its ROCE and EBITDA margin improved to -16.88% and -13.08%. On a unit level, Porter spent Rs 1.16 to earn a single unit of operating revenue in FY22.
Intra city or last mile delivery is perhaps the most challenging and crucial aspect of logistics. This is where reputations are made, and sadly lost for too many suppliers. Porter has done well to make a dent in this tough market, where local knowledge and adaptability can be taken to extremes. Ironically, it is precisely this local touch that enables many smaller firms to outmanoeuvre the larger players, profitably. Porter will provide a very good study on the relevance of trying to disrupt this market, should it succeed eventually.