Riyadh-based TruKKer is working on bringing transparency to the logistics ecosystem and is solving the highly fragmented trucking sector in the Gulf.
Business ideas can appear anywhere, even on dinner tables. Take childhood friends Gaurav Biswas and Pradeep Mallavarapu, for instance. It was a common friend’s constant work calls during a dinner party that germinated the seed of entrepreneurship.
“Our common friend owns a manufacturing facility. During one of our dinners, he was constantly checking up on his transportation managers, keeping notes of the logistics and shipments. That made us think—why can’t we have an Uber for trucks? You just use the app and a truck appears whenever you want,” Pradeep, Co-founder and CTO of TruKKer.
They established TruKKer in 2016 to serve as a truck aggregator platform that enables companies to get in-land logistics and freight support without the need of intermediaries or freight brokers. Additionally, it serves as a marketplace for fleet owners and truck owners to locate suitable customers.
“Trucking is a highly fragmented industry. TruKKer steps in to consolidate the network of truck service providers, facilitate service agreements with clients, and make freight movement as seamless as possible,” Co-founder and CEO Gaurav adds.
The Riyadh-based startup operates across six GCC countries and has an additional presence in North Africa, the Middle East, and West Asia. The UAE and Saudi Arabia contribute almost 40% to the company’s revenue.
The 500-membered team has so far served more than 750 businesses for cargo movements, last-mile delivery, port movements, and more.
How it works
TruKKer has three free interfaces: TruKKer Pulse for B2B clients, TruKKer Load Board for truck service providers, and TruKKer Driver App.
TruKKer Pulse allows businesses to book shipping trucks, set preferences like cargo size and weight, see expected time of delivery, get quotations, and view documents related to the trucks and drivers.
The platform offers trucks with capacities ranging from a tonne to 7 tonnes, as well as trailers measuring 40 feet in length. The app can also be used by retail customers looking for movers and packers services.
TruKKer also gives clients tracking visibility on the dashboard, which also shows order details, digital proof of loading and unloading, and immediate availability of required documents.
On the supply side, TruKKer’s Load Board interface provides truck owners and transportation companies an overview of the marketplace, clients available for fleet owners to bid on, and analytics on their operational efficiency.
The startup allows drivers and fleet managers to upload relevant documents and manage their payments, stay connected with each other, store invoices, submit proof of delivery, manage warehouses, and more.
The platform has onboarded about 50,000 truckers and lorry drivers to date. “Truckers have a very deep understanding of the region, primarily because they began their careers 10 to 15 years back,” says Sayan Dev, Director – CXO Office, TruKKer.
Operating in the Gulf
In 2016, TruKKer started operations as domestic movers and packers. After raising an undisclosed seed round in 2017, the team expanded the offerings to businesses within Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi.
In 2018, it began cross-border operations in countries like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Jordan.
According to Statista, the logistics market in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries is expected to touch almost $70 million by 2026, with Qatar and Saudi Arabia leading this growth. The company also extended their base in Poland and Kazakhstan.
TruKKer has ambitions to tap into the growing market because of its expansive cross-border movements in the region. Other freight businesses in the region like Trella, Transfix, and Convoy are present only in select countries.
“What makes us unique is the number of land borders that we cross on a daily basis. In the GCC region, there is no large country, except maybe Saudi Arabia or Egypt. So invariably, any company that comes to the region becomes multinational. One needs to quickly scale to cater to all the countries in the region,” Gaurav expresses.
TruKKer closed its Series C funding round of $100 million in September 202. It was led by Investcorp. Other investors included ADQ, Mubadala and STV. IFC was one of the early backers of the company.
According to Akshay Jayaprakasan, Associate Partner, Redseer Strategy Consultants, one of the major challenges the B2B trucking sector faces is the fragmented supply chain, as small fleet operators with fewer than five trucks account for the majority of the trucks operating.
“Working capital is a major challenge with corporates having long payment cycles of 60-90 days, which leads to numerous intermediaries in the value chain,” he points out.
“eB2B trucking platforms have penetrated only ~1% of the market currently and have a massive opportunity to digitise the value chain and build efficiencies,” Akshay adds.
Challenges and future roadmap
It took the startup only 15 days to develop its proprietary technology. However, despite support from the government to adopt new technologies, the team feels that it is a challenge to get people to explore outside traditional systems of operating.
“Traditionally, the transportation industry did not involve too much technology. Our biggest challenge is to get businesses hooked to the technology we are building and make it easier for them to complete their daily freight and logistical work,” Pradeep says.
The co-founders highlight that predicting the costs for freight movement and estimating delivery time is not easy due to a lack of data on routes that truck can or cannot follow in the region.
Currently, the company bases that on where the delivery location, the number of trucks required, and their size. However, with the help of data collected from years of operations, the team hopes to make advanced cost predictions possible.
Pradeep explains that TruKKer is attempting to emulate the airline industry with the predictive cost function.
“We are working towards becoming a marketplace where clients would be able to book TruKKer’s services way ahead of time,” he says, adding, “Currently, unless you have a contract, advanced prediction of costs for moving cargo is not possible,”
The team also plans to go for an initial public offering in the next 24 to 36 months.