‘Truck It In’ raises largest seed round in MENAP trucking space

Published: Monday, March 14, 2022

Startup seeks to transform Pakistan’s $25B road freight market to help SMEs and truckers grow their business

KARACHI, Pakistan—Homegrown logistics tech startup “Truck It In” has closed a $13 million seed round jointly led by venture capital firms Global Founders Capital and Fatima Gobi Ventures—the largest of its kind in the MENAP (Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan) region, blowing out previous highs seen in 2021, which was already a banner year for Pakistani startups.

The latest seed round brings the total raised capital to $17.5 million, which will support Truck It In’s mission to transform Pakistan’s road freight industry. The round also saw participation from Wamda, Picus Capital, Millville, Zayn Capital, i2i Ventures, ADB Ventures, Cianna Capital, Reflect Ventures, and K3 Ventures.

Pakistan is one of the largest road freight markets in the Middle East and North Africa, representing a $25 billion annual opportunity, 10% of national GDP. Truck It In aims to be the nexus of road freight in the country by simplifying business for Pakistan’s three million SME businesses and SME truckers (80% of the supply market), who operate in an increasingly complex and deeply fragmented industry.

Muhammad Sarmad Farooq, CEO of Truck It In, said, “This seed round comes at an opportune time, as the funds will be deployed to expand our business, driving hiring across all functions, focusing on engineers to help double down on product development and increase our digital penetration in the market.

SMEs are reliant on mental notes and telephone calls to run their businesses. Truck It In is leading efforts to bring efficiencies here by building a platform to ensure that SMEs have the right tools and services to thrive today. We are looking to transform the experiences of shippers and truckers, heralding them into the digital future.

We are on an exciting journey creating value and solving deep-rooted challenges. In the past year, our revenue has grown 37x, we have expanded into 100+ trade lanes, and added  200 talents, as Truck It In continues to create impact every day. The impact generated allows truckers to lead better economic lives while serving the country.”

Truck It In is another key investment by Global Founders Capital that partners with fast-growing companies with huge potential to transform their industries. Tito Costa, the partner at Global Founders Capital, said: “The team at Truck It In is transforming the logistics industry in Pakistan at an unprecedented pace. We are honored to back them again to expand their coverage further and bring their solution to shippers and truckers across the country.”

Fatima Gobi Ventures (FGV), a VC focused on backing promising early-stage Pakistani ventures, is also excited to play a role in developing such an impactful company.

Ali Mukhtar, General Partner of FGV, said, “The pandemic has accelerated digital adoption among larger players, widening the gaps of the haves and have-nots in the logistics world. We believe Truck It In is key to closing this gap by making it easy for SME truckers to streamline operations and compete on a more level playing field while keeping costs competitive and serving as a vital lifeline for Pakistan’s thriving economy. With Sarmad and his team at the wheel, Pakistan’s SMEs are in pole position for a strong, sustainable, digital future.”

Alejandro Montealegre from Millville Opportunities Master Fund said, “We are excited to back Truck It In’s high caliber team who are providing tremendous value to a critical sector of Pakistan’s economy.”

Kalsoom Lakhani, Co-Founder & GP at i2i Ventures, said, “Pakistan’s trucking industry presents an enormous opportunity for innovation & disruption, and we have a deep conviction in the Truck it In team, who are tackling this head-on. We are impressed by their execution and honored to support them on their journey as their investors.”

Faisal Aftab, Co-Founder Zayn Capital, said, “The Truck It In team has exhibited exceptional scaling ability by rapidly capturing significant market share in this fragmented industry. The team has the tenacity to solve problems unique to Pakistan, creating efficiency for customers and suppliers.”

UD Trucks ends 2021 with exceptional growth across the MEENA region 

 The Japanese commercial vehicle manufacturer recorded an increase in sales in most markets, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Pakistan and a number of countries in East Africa

MANAMA, Bahrain – UD Trucks, a member of the Isuzu Group, saw its sales in the MEENA (Middle East, East and North Africa) Region grew by approximately 30 percent in 2021, toppling in multifold its 6 percent growth the previous year.

The Japanese commercial vehicle manufacturer recorded an increase in sales in most markets, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Pakistan and a number of countries in East Africa.

UD Trucks’ flagship market, Bahrain, saw an increase of around 40 percent, reinforcing the brand’s number one status in the country. The trucks brand also saw an increase in sales by about 30 percent in Qatar. Sales also grew in Saudi Arabia, which is UD Trucks’ biggest market by volume, by 24 percent. The United Arab Emirates, which hosted the regional launch of the brand’s Euro 5 models, registered an increase of 22 percent compared to 2020.

“The resilience our brand showed in 2020, built around a consistent and comprehensive strategy and supported by our strong regional partners, provided a solid platform for us to build on in 2021. Registering about a 30 percent sales increase in one year is a remarkable feat. I am grateful to the UD Trucks MEENA team, our customers, partners, and stakeholders throughout the region for their hard work and dedication. Together, we look forward to another positive year as we continue on our path to become a sustainability leader,” said Mourad Hedna, President of UD Trucks MEENA.

Outside the Middle East, UD Trucks earned positive traction in Pakistan where it enjoyed an impressive year. Similarly, the brand registered significant growth in East Africa in 2021, where a number of strategic deals for both heavy-duty and medium-duty trucks were signed off, despite the challenging business climate.

The growth came as a result of a fantastic collaboration and coordinated effort by UD Trucks and its partners throughout the region and their joint focus on supporting UD customers.

‘Better Life’ Strategy

 The brand’s well-built and robust products, the introduction of the Euro 5 range and upgrades to the Euro 3 line-up, a strong retail network and partnerships, and the impact of its ‘Better Life’ strategy, have all played significant roles in the company’s success.

UD Trucks’ widest-ever range, which covers almost all segments in the heavy-duty and medium-duty truck sector, and the nature of the brand’s product portfolio have also been crucial factors in this growth. The range has been developed to meet the market’s needs by covering all key segments in the industry.

The company’s focus in launching new trucks that will enhance profitability for customers by lowering the total cost of ownership has also been crucial.

An important factor in the Japanese brand’s expansion has been the introduction of upgraded Euro 3 models as well as the brand’s new Euro 5 range of its popular Quester and Croner trucks. The launch of the Euro 5 models is a result of UD Trucks’ strategic vision and objective to ensure peace-of-mind for its customers by allowing them to better prepare for running more environmentally-friendly fleets as new regulations are introduced across the fast-developing region.

The new range reduces NOx emissions by about 43 percent compared to Euro 4 models, while providing an enhanced driving experience and safety. The upgrades to the Euro 3 trucks are centered around creating a more driver-centric experience. They receive similar upgrades to the Euro 5 range, including a new instrument cluster, the ESCOT automated manual transmission, body builder module and the UD Trucks Telematics Services.

Another factor in the brand’s growth is its exceptional regional retail network. Their commitment to providing and delivering the highest quality customer service and aftersales support is supported by comprehensive warranty offers and readily available spare parts, which prioritise the smooth operation of customers’ businesses.

UD Trucks’ Telematics services allow its customers and retail partners to follow the trucks’ performances over time, creating a closer relationship with the brand’s customers.

2021 was also the year that saw UD Trucks implement its ‘Better Life’ strategy. The strategy has allowed the truck brand to demonstrate its commitment to providing sustainable logistics solutions and to delivering a better life for both people and the planet.