Utility vehicles major Mahindra & Mahindra today entered the online space with SmartShift, a digital marketplace aimed at intra-city logistics that will act as an exchange platform for cargo owners and transporters.
"Mahindra is a leading player in small commercial vehicles, and has a strong understanding of intra-city goods movement," Pawan Goenka executive director of Mahindra & Mahindra said here.
"It is a natural extrapolation from selling a vehicle to creating a digital marketplace for movement of goods in a manner which creates value," he added.
Goenka said the company had been looking at it seriously for three years, and last year they created a platform for intra-city cargo movement similar to what the Ola s and the Ubers have done for people movement. The portal will be under the main company M&M and not under the group logistics arm Mahindra Logistics.
SmartShift is the first among several startups that the group is incubating in its drive towards digital transformation. "We are hiring several talented people across the industry to digitally transform our businesses. We are looking at launching a number of exciting initiatives in the startup space. SmartShift is the first in that regard," group president for strategy Anish Shah said.
SmartShift will act as an exchange platform for cargo owners and transporters and is presently available as a mobile application (on Android), and has a dedicated website and call centre.
"Mahindra has invested the seed capital with equity in the start-up, and going forward it can approach venture capital funds to make further investments," SmartShift chief executive Kausalya Sreenivasan said.
The mobile app is currently being piloted in Mumbai, which has about 55,000 small commercial vehicles. While they did not reveal how they will scale the project, Sreenivasan said that they will be able to provide services in 29 cities over a period of time, which is 90 per cent of the market after the Mumbai pilot.
"Transportation presently accounts for 5.5 per cent of the GDP, and intra-city logistics is a significant part of it in value terms," she said.
Indicating the potential market size, she said that Mumbai alone accounts for 6 -7 million transactions a month in intra-city logistics, and there are over 18 lakh vehicles available in the ecosystem across the country.