Interview with Soham Chokshi, Co – founder & CEO, Shipsy: a leading Logistics Software Solution Provider
At Sugermint Media, our aim is to bring to our entrepreneurs community some of the inspiring and motivational stories from the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
As part of this endeavour, we invited yet another entrepreneur Interview with Soham Chokshi, Co – founder & CEO, Shipsy for an exclusive interview with us.
Tell us a little about yourself
Soham Chokshi: I completed my studies at Arya Vidya Mandir, Juhu. Throughout my school, I was also associated with extra-curricular activities and societies, which continued to college.
I graduated as a Mechanical Engineer from IIT, Madras in 2013, after which I joined Avanti Fellows as a Mentorship Manager.
The organization aimed at providing affordable, high-quality education to the less fortunate aspiring to study in India’s top universities.
It was followed by assuming roles at Saarang (IIT-M’s annual cultural fest), Teach For India, and Deutsche Bank, before co-founding Shipsy. Shipsy is my second entrepreneurial venture. The first was Mappr — a platform aimed at improving traveling.
Please tell us a little about your entrepreneurial journey
Soham Chokshi: It was while working at Deutsche Bank that I met Dhruv Agrawal, Himanshu Gupta, and Sahil Arora — the co-founders of Shipsy. In 2015, Shipsy was born with an idea to address the inefficiencies in the last-mile and challenges such as manual processes and siloed communication that had been weighing down the logistics industry for decades.
It took us almost two months to build the first prototype for last-mile delivery. However, we soon realized that the challenges in the last mile were deeply connected to all the different legs of logistics, and what we were exploring was just the tip of the iceberg.
The industry needed a solution that seamlessly enables visibility across multiple participants/processes, and could automate and optimize operations to improve logistical efficiencies.
In 2016, we grew to a team of 10 and had our first enterprise customer, one of the most loved express logistics providers in India, who was also our anchor customer.
They played a critical role in helping us shape a robust solution and making Shipsy what it is today. We did our R&D by observing their operations on ground zero.
In fact, myself along with some of my colleagues, accompanied delivery agents on their tasks to get an in-depth understanding of the ground realities.
In the year 2017, our last mile application was facilitating 50K transactions every day. There was a 3x increase in the number of people than the previous year, our total number of clients grew to four.
Fortunately, with every passing year, we were able to add significant milestones to our journey, be it securing our first international client, increasing the volume of transactions through our platform, securing funding, or setting up regional headquarters across geographies.
Today, we are a 350+ strong team and our 170+ customer base sprawls across courier, express, and parcel service providers, manufacturers, eCommerce players, retailers, on-demand delivery providers, and healthcare providers.
The world’s largest tire manufacturer, the world’s leading pizza delivery chain, a Fortune 100 exporter, and a leading 10-minute grocery delivery company — run on Shipsy.
Over 50 million parcels are powered each month through our platform. We envision being the de-facto logistics management system globally, with everything being delivered, whether to the end consumer or a business, being powered by us.
What service(s) or product(s) do you offer?
Soham Chokshi: Our AI-powered platform empowers global businesses to optimize, automate, track and simplify their end-to-end logistics and supply chain operations.
Our solutions can be divided on the basis of use case, industry, and PLG-based (Product Led Growth) offerings.
- Industry-wise categorization:
- Courier, Express, and Parcel
- On-demand delivery providers
- Quick Commerce
Our use case modules cover the following:
- International Logistics
- Route optimization and planning
- First-mile pickups
- Middle-mile logistics
- Last-mile delivery
- Courier aggregator
Our PLG-powered Shipment Tracking Solution
This is our self-serve-based solution wherein customers have to simply select a plan, make payment, and start tracking their shipments.
What is unique about your label brand?
Soham Chokshi: Technology adoption in the supply chain and logistics industry has been low. So a lot of technology players entering are focusing on building competencies catering to one specific area.
We on the other hand embrace a holistic platform approach providing robust capabilities that can empower businesses to manage supply chain operations, right from optimizing cross-border logistics, enhancing first-mile operations, and improving middle-mile costs to driving delightful and cost-efficient last-mile delivery operations.
We provide tangible business value to our customers in the guise of cost-efficiency, superior customer experience, faster time-to-value, accurate decision making, rapid scalability, logistics sustainability, and much more.
We are not just tech providers, but partners to our customers in their growth journey. Our solutions are highly customizable and we are always ready to embrace the unconventional.
What made you choose this type of business?
Soham Chokshi: The logistics industry is the lifeline of any economy as it propagates trade. The sustenance of several people, businesses, and processes depends on it.
So, leveraging AI and automation to address inefficiencies prevalent in the last-mile was our primary goal.
Like breadcrumbs, our journey took us deeper to explore a plethora of interrelated challenges that plagued the supply chain and logistics ecosystem.
We saw a massive opportunity in building a solution that could bring various logistics stakeholders to a single platform and realize incredible business outcomes.
What was your mission and vision at the outset?
Soham Chokshi: Our vision is to become the de-facto logistics operating system globally, such that every shipment being delivered, whether to a consumer or to a business, whether domestically or internationally, is powered by Shipsy.
How many employees in your organization?
We are currently a 350+ strong team and growing as we expand to different geographies.
What’s your company’s goals?
- To be the most trusted global trade, logistics and supply chain management platform enabling customers to expedite their digital transformation goals and drive rapid growth.
- Making global logistics and supply chain operations sustainable by reducing carbon emissions released throughout a shipment’s lifecycle across multimodal transportation. And to empower global businesses to optimize, automate, track, and simplify their supply chain and logistics operations.
- Becoming the de-facto platform or the operating system globally – such that everything being delivered — whether to a consumer or to a business — whether domestically or internationally — is powered by Shipsy.
- To abide by our core values as an organization, which entail:
- First Principles Thinking
- We try to dig deep into the most fundamental truth by asking WHY until we get there and challenge the status quo.
We believe our success coincides with generating tangible value for our customers.
We aim high and drive growth by thinking big and constantly challenging ourselves to achieve our true potential.
We push ourselves to accomplish more with less. We believe constraints breed invention and self-sufficiency.
We put a team above individuals. We openly ask for help. We solve problems as a team, leverage team member strengths, and collaborate, so a win for an individual is a win for the team.
We encourage everyone to speak their mind without reservations respectfully and earn the trust of team members, lead by example and be consistent in whatever we do.
Be The Problem Solver
We strive to find the answers by framing the correct problem statement, getting to the root of the cause, and eliminating it.
What was the inspiration behind turning an entrepreneur
Soham Chokshi: It is the passion to make an impact and transform the world with your ideas. In my case, this idea was the need to simplify the logistics and supply chain ecosystem and empower it to create greater value for everyone — customers like you and I, enterprises, and logistics service providers.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
Soham Chokshi: Not failure so to say, but a realization of how deep logistics inefficiencies have penetrated into the global supply chain ecosystem was critical learning.
Key things to consider before starting a startup
Soham Chokshi: You cannot build your first go-to-market by tying yourself to a room. A lot of groundwork is required, which will eventually eliminate the guesswork in understanding the real challenges your customer faces.
And this is what will give you a competitive edge, and generate greater business value for you and your customers.
So in-depth/ground-zero info is paramount, followed by constant innovation, which will help you build a sustainable business model.
Having strong anchor customers who believe in the change your organization is striving to bring is also important.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Soham Chokshi: Like I already said, groundwork, constant innovation, and strong anchor customers are very important to build a successful and meaningful product/solution and to ensure business sustenance.
Your success tips for young and aspiring entrepreneurs
Soham Chokshi: Don’t give up easily and be a first principles thinker. Customers are your best source of domain expertise and people are your greatest asset as no one is as strong as all of us.
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