In the Middle East, we’ve become accustomed to mobility startups that focus on first-last mile solutions, ride-hailing and even automobile trade and renting. For a while, the region has been missing a disruptor of a different kind, one that will address the transportation needs of the logistics sector.
Enter Trukkin, a techno-logistics firm based in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates operating throughout the GCC region and beyond, launched in 2017. The company made it its mission to innovate and simplify logistics and land transportation.
“As an investment banker, I spent a lot of time traveling in the GCC countries between 2011 and 2016,” Janardan Dalmia, founder and CEO of Trukkin, told AMEinfo. “It was then during a business trip to Saudi, when in a meeting with an industry leader of a conglomerate that I realized that the transportation industry in the Middle East was still waiting for their Industry 4.0 moment—where a technology-driven platform would step in to revolutionize the way transporters and shippers do business.”
Trukkin expanded its operations to Pakistan this August, and raised $3.5 million last year.
Janardan Dalmia, founder and CEO of Trukkin share more details with AMEinfo.
Can you tell us more about how your company came to be and the market need you were trying to address?
As an investment banker, I spent a lot of time traveling in the GCC countries between 2011 and 2016. It was then during a business trip to Saudi, when in a meeting with an industry leader of a conglomerate that I realized that the transportation industry in the Middle East was still waiting for their Industry 4.0 moment—where a technology-driven platform would step in to revolutionize the way transporters and shippers do business. Our extensive groundwork and assessment of the inherent problems led us to the conclusion that transparency and inefficiency were the major causal factors for all the issues faced by the transportation industry in any country. Once the problems were identified, we then moved towards finding innovative ways to solve them.
What’s your journey in the Middle East been like so far? Any particular challenges?
I believe that every innovator faces some challenges when they try to reinvent an existing ecosystem. When we launched Trukkin, our first challenge was of trust—which is faced by every newcomer in the market. Our world-class services and client recommendations have helped us grow exponentially through the years. The Middle East is our home ground and is one of the finest places in the world to set up a new business. Our investors, customers and partners have been extremely supportive and have helped us on every step of the way with their trust in Trukkin’s services.
Can you shed some light on Trukkin’s investors and recent funding rounds? You raised $3.5 million last year.
We completed a pre-series funding round of $3.5 million to continue with our immense growth momentum. At Trukkin we continue to be very judicious and careful when it comes to raising and using capital for future growth. Several leading family offices including the Al-Namlah Family Group, the Al-Madi Family Group, and the Abanumay Family Group, along with our long-term investor Batic continue to be our partners. We are excited to leverage these funds for expansion and future growth, and we are glad to have a strong network of investors who believe in Trukkin’s potential and are committed to be involved with us in our future growth plans.
How has COVID-19 affected your business, and how have you adapted?
The COVID-19 pandemic caused global lockdowns, limiting movement of goods and essentials across geographies. A forward-thinking approach, adaptability and adopting technologies that can replace or even complement traditional solutions helped us work around the unique challenges that we continue to experience during these times. We implanted business continuity plans and empowered our team members to work remotely and safely removing any fear of redundancies or salary cuts during the pandemic.
We switched from shipping industrial goods to essentials where required, ensuring business continuity. When trucks from the UAE were not allowed to enter other GCC countries due to precautionary restrictions, we provided reverse logistic services from our other bases in the region fulfilling client requirements continuously. Additionally, we reduced reliance on cash-only transactions, digitized payments and pre-scheduled, verified and sanitized stop points and service locations. This has helped us ensure a reduced impact of the pandemic our ground staff.
With your operations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and now in Pakistan, what have your unique contributions to these economies been? (ex. increased jobs, streamlined transportation, etc.)
Trukkin has helped in demand generation, business growth, timely payments and enhanced customer-provider trust in the logistics industry throughout the Middle East and Pakistan. In the Middle East, Trukkin contributed significantly to enhance transparency and efficiency in logistics. This resulted in the widespread adoption of our platform by shippers, transporters and brokers who leveraged the power of Trukkin to boost sales, reduce transportation costs and get access to our large pool of shippers, transporters and brokers while improving bottom lines and enhancing margins.
Trukkin’s impact on the largely fragmented transportation industry In Pakistan has been very visible in a short span of time. We have helped drivers get timely payments and improve their work-life balance. Shippers on Trukkin better prices and reap the benefits of enhanced transparency along with getting access to Trukkin’s large pool of transporters.
Where do you hope to take Trukkin in the future, business-wise and strategically?
We’ve only looked forward from day 1. Trukkin is the technological leader and a pioneer in these regions and has got the early-mover advantage. We wish to leverage this fact to our advantage by enhancing our platform further with innovative solutions that will help us to drive the next generation of innovative transportation services in the Middle East, Pakistan and other areas. Our emphasis on the usage of technology as an enabler rather than a disruptor has led to an easier adoption path and an ever-widening customer base that continues to grow unabated.