By Gopi Vaddi, General Partner at TCV
After perusing slick digital shopfronts for hours, checking AI-enabled online catalogs, and paying through seamless single-click checkouts, you may eventually be rewarded with ‘your delivery should arrive in 5-10 working days’ and left to pray that the shiny new gizmo you ordered will arrive in one piece. Sound familiar? For all the innovation and investment across most steps of the online purchasing journey, the actual delivery experience has been largely neglected. Yet, the surge in remote purchasing shows no signs of abating and consumers are demanding faster, better, and cheaper deliveries. This has placed the status quo under immense strain and the need for new solutions to help companies navigate this complexity today is greater than ever.
A New Frontier for Innovation in E-Commerce Enablement
E-commerce enablement has been a key investment theme for TCV, and we have made multiple investments across each step of the value chain. In early 2019, we invested in RELEX Solutions (Helsinki, Finland) which provides an AI-driven platform helping global retailers forecast demand and prepare their supply chain to execute against it. In 2020, we backed Spryker (Berlin, Germany) which helps enterprises build beautiful digital commerce platforms for B2B, B2C, and marketplaces. We also invested in Mollie (Amsterdam, Netherlands) which provides a seamless, easy-to-integrate online payments solution for merchants across Europe. Another recent investment is Trulioo (Vancouver, Canada) which provides seamless know-your-customer (KYC), and know-your-business (KYB) verification checks globally, enabling smooth onboarding of merchants and consumers onto online marketplaces and fintech platforms. Paradoxically, while the e-commerce experience may appear increasingly effortless for consumers, the underlying technology landscape has become increasingly sophisticated and complex.
Following our investments upstream in the ecommerce value chain, we cast our eye further down, identifying logistics as the natural next step. Within this untapped, vast market, last-mile delivery from a fulfilment center to a delivery endpoint like a consumer home has always been the most operationally complex and resource-intensive leg of the journey, absorbing nearly 50% of total logistics dollars spend, driven by inherent lack of economies of scale (disparate drop-off points) and its on-demand nature. Complexity has also compounded due to new delivery and fulfilment modes like micro-fulfilment centers, curb-side pick-up, etc. which strain already razor-thin margins for retailers and carriers alike. Even Amazon, the most sophisticated logistics machine in the world, has not been spared — as a percentage of retail-related sales, Amazon’s cost of fulfilment/shipping grew from ~16% to 32% between 2010-19. On the end-consumer front, delivery experiences have become a critical driver of satisfaction and repeat purchases, with delivery constituting the only physical touchpoint for online brands with their customers. In fact, 55% of US consumers have bought goods from one retailer over another because they provided more delivery options. Throw all of the above in the mix and you have a market that is ripe for disruption. Enter FarEye – a next-generation intelligent software platform that helps enterprises to orchestrate all of their delivery logistics requirements.
We were thrilled to recently announce our investment in FarEye. Founded in India in 2009 by Kushal Nahata (CEO), Gautam Kumar (COO), and Gaurav Srivastava (CTO), the trio started their journey as logistics consultants, before settling on their strategy of building a software platform that would help companies navigate the immense complexities of managing last-mile deliveries. Having spent several years developing the product in India and South-East Asia, where delivery logistics challenges are even more pronounced than in Western economies, FarEye relocated headquarters to Chicago and moved towards global expansion, addressing the vast demand across Europe and the U.S.
Compelling ROI and an Enormous Market Opportunity
We first came to know FarEye through its superlative customer feedback and enormous ROI generated for customers – 22% improvement in first-attempt deliveries, two times improvement in courier satisfaction, and 24% increase in on-time deliveries all while providing complete visibility across the entire logistics operations. Spurred by these reviews, we got in touch with Kushal and were blown away by the depth of the platform as well as Kushal’s strategic and product vision.
The FarEye platform provides an incredible range of end-to-end functionality today — all deployed on fully multi-tenant, cloud-native infrastructure — that benefits retailers, carriers, manufacturers, and end consumers alike. Shippers and carriers benefit from automated order allocation and dispatching, real-time dynamic routing, loop optimization and electronic proof of delivery; their customers get slot-based & flexible delivery scheduling, automated alerts and notifications, the ability to real-time track their deliveries, and 24/7 chatbot-based customer support. FarEye also empowers enterprises with the latest advances in real-time tracking and tracing, ETA prediction based on real-time constraints such as traffic bottlenecks, and control-tower visibility of enterprise delivery activity.
At the heart of the FarEye platform is a low-code BPM engine that allows users to rapidly build delivery workflows that can be customized to meet the demands of a particular industry and customer. Customers today span hot-food delivery, pharmaceutical, packaged goods, housewares, industrial equipment, and more. FarEye even counts some of the largest global carriers among its clients. FarEye Delight has helped the company to quickly expand its existing customer base which increasingly rolls out the platform across new geographies and business units while growing its functionality with net retention that is best-in-class.
As e-commerce and broader home-delivery become the new normal, retailers across the world are racing to adapt, while those that do not face the risk of quickly falling behind. For TCV, FarEye is an excellent fit with our overarching strategy of investing early in what we believe to be the franchise technology companies of the future – no matter where they are founded. FarEye joins Cognite, Trulioo, Redis Labs, Revolut, Relex, Nubank, Klarna, Mambu, Mollie, Spryker, and Dream Sports among recent investments made outside the U.S. Based on our experience investing in many other global leaders that were once young growth-stage companies, we believe FarEye has the technology, talent, expertise, and strong track record to become a truly generational software business of the future.
 MetaPack Global eCommerce Consumer Report, 2020