Our Investment in Locus: Automating Logistics using AI
I met Nishith for the first time at the Startup Leadership pitching session in early 2015. He pitched to us about the product he and Geet (his cofounder) had developed at the time, called RideSafe. That pitch is still fresh in my mind, his energy, passion and clarity of thought was infectious. I became his fan that day.
Things progressed and subsequently I decided to invest in their venture as a co-lead angel investor. The concept of RideSafe was to provide real time tracking of your vehicle to your loved ones. From a user perspective my family still finds it very useful, but with my investor hat on, it becomes apparent that the safety app is hard to monetize. In parallel as our investment discussions were underway, the idea of Locus emerged based on the same core tech which was powering RideSafe. Nishith and Geet realized that all businesses which have a logistics component also need tracking / planning of their critical resources. A Minimum Viable Product was quickly put together and their first pilot customer was an on-demand coffee service which used Locus to plan / schedule and track their coffee orders to different places.
Over a period of time, Locus as a product grew and today they automate all complex delivery decisions using Machine Learning and AI for their customers globally. They are live with 30+ customers across the world powering their logistics decisions using a sophisticated self serve platform. They have helped deliver 22M+ orders for their customers and saved 133M+ kms by efficient and real time routing and allocation planning.
What sets the Locus team apart is their relentless focus on solving a real world problem using cutting edge technology. Over the past 3-4 years, Nishith and team have leveraged predictive algorithms, NLP, Machine Learning, and Deep learning to create a highly sophisticated solution that considers real world and real time data for route optimization. Routes recommended by Locus are managed with minimal inputs from the logistics teams and are self learning based on human behavior. The algorithms have become increasingly smarter in allocating the right resources for the delivery, recommending how to pack goods in a truck, mapping addresses to co-ordinates and, optimizing route based on traffic conditions etc. Yet the solution is incredibly flexible to capture dynamic changes in route planning like multi nodal & multi-hub drop-offs, forward & reverse pick ups, scheduled & on-demand deliveries.
Locus has been able to achieve 25% improvement in productivity and 75% increase in order deliveries for its customers. Locus is also a rare India first, India made deep tech startup and counts illustrious clients such as Big Basket, Tata group, Marico, Myntra, Lenskart, Kirloskar group etc.
Locus fits perfectly in pi’s vision of backing extraordinary world class AI startups. Our thesis is to back 15-20 such startups at the early stage. Although not our usual entry round, we participated in the post Series A fund raise in Locus due to our conviction in the investment opportunity and the association with the founders’ that began with RideSafe. We are excited to participate in this extraordinary journey and we look forward to contributing to make Locus the next big technology company to come from India with a global product.