Delhivery – Sahil Barua’s Success Story

Most of us follow the beaten path but few muster the courage to step aside and create a new one! Such is the astounding story of Sahil Barua, the co-founder of Delhivery. 

Early Days 

Born and brought up in Delhi, Sahil Barua completed his schooling in St. Xavier’s High School. He graduated in Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of Technology Karnataka. Barua went on to pursue his post-graduation in Finance from IIM-B Bangalore and won the gold medal as an all-rounder, in the institute’s Director’s Merit List. Being a workaholic, Sahil starts his day 8.30 in the morning (one hour before everyone else) and looks at the MIS reports. He checks the shipments delivered the previous day, the generated revenue, deliveries lined up for the day and the list of clients who gave maximum business to the company. Once this task is done, he moves on to the present day’s deliveries. 

Sahil Barua’s professional journey dates back to 2005, when he worked as a research intern in the U.S. at the University of Maryland, during his Mechanical Engineering course. He gained good experience working on electronics packaging for four months, at the CALCE Labs. He further worked as an intern at Bain & Company in 2007 and after his post-graduation (2008), joined the same company as a full-time associate consultant and was soon promoted to the post of Senior Associate Consultant (in 2009). 

The Delhivery Story 

During his stint at Bain & Company, Sahil met like-minded colleagues Mohit Tandon and Suraj Saharan. Keen to start their own venture, the trio quit their well-paying jobs. Their friendship with Zomato’s founders Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah helped them a great deal in that they saw no physical or online model built for delivery from restaurants. As they researched further and worked with clients like Blue Dart and urbantouch.com, they came to realise that businesses were still using the conventional delivery model and needed better strategies. They found that e-commerce systems needed more focus than the restaurant delivery system. After much brainstorming and teaming up with co-founders, Bhavesh Manglani and Suraj Saharan, Delhivery was finally born in the year 2011. It comprised a total of 10 people, out of which 4 of them were delivery personnel. 

The Gurgaon-based venture has grown into a huge company today. It focuses on the verticals – fulfilment (packaging and warehousing), data services (including real-time shipment tracking and route optimisation) and omni-channel (technology services to online retailers). It is now an empire of about 15,000 people, with more than 20,000 sq. ft. warehousing space in Bangalore and Delhi, and over 1500 pin codes on their list. This in itself was a major achievement for a team that started off as just another logistics-handling firm. Additionally, the company offers transit warehousing and third-party warehousing to its partners. The team of Delhivery first made its mark in more than 10 Indian cities, and aimed at reaching over 250 cities across India and a few countries outside of India. Delhivery went on to service over 175 cities in the Middle East, India and South Asia, while adding 12 additional fulfilment centres. They made a huge progress catering to over 25,000 sellers and 800 clients, boasting of a processing capacity of more than 250,000 shipments per day.

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The company had an incredible journey in just 4 years. It grew by about 400% and raised $127.5 million in total from 5 investors, with a funding of $85 million in the year 2015. Strong competition from QuickDel Logistics, Ecom Express and other firms did not shake Delhivery’s success. It continues to stay ahead in the competitive market, clocking huge revenues every year. Delhivery announced its takeover of the Saudi logistics Aramex India operations in February 2019, while March 2019 saw the company’s biggest funding of $413 million from Softbank, thereby reaching a total funding of more than $670.6 million. Delhivery aims at scaling up from their current servicing of 15,000 pin codes to 20,000 codes and bringing up additional warehouses to improve their services. 

Bagging the Startup of the Year Award in 2019, the story of Delhivery shows that no dream is small or impossible to achieve. Who would have ever thought that creating a niche in the logistics arena would bring success when competitors are already progressing well in the market! But what Sahil Barua and his team achieved in a short period of time is highly commendable and they truly set an example for young dreamers who wish to make it big in their entrepreneurial journey. 

 – Swathi Bhat 

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