May 13, 2019

Logistics AI firm Locus lands $22 million in funding

Indian firm plans to bring artificial intelligence tools to new markets in North America and Southeast Asia.

By Ben Ames

The Indian software firm Locus, which offers artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for route optimization and other supply chain applications, has landed $22 million in backing and plans to expand deeper into new markets in North America and Southeast Asia.

The "Series B" funding round was led by venture capital firms Falcon Edge Capital and Tiger Global Management, with additional participation from previous investors Exfinity Venture Partners and Blume Ventures. Locus had previously raised $2.75 million in "Series A" funding in 2016 and $4 million in "Pre-series B" funding in 2018, for total investments of about $27 million, the firm said.

The news marks the latest injection of venture funding into the supply chain AI sector, alongside initiatives from JDA Software Group Inc.'s Blue Yonder unit, FourKite's freight arrival prediction engine, Noodle.ai's partnership with computer retailer Dell, SAP AG's logistics ERP, Infor's Coleman AI platform, and others.

Tiger Global Management has also made other recent supply chain investments, co-leading a $43 million round on May 7 into the on-demand warehousing and fulfillment company Flexe.

With its U.S. offices in Wilmington, Del., Bangalore, India-based Locus began its expansion into North America and Southeast Asia in 2018 and will now accelerate that move, enhancing its product & solutions for each geography and expanding its local teams, the company said.

Locus' platform includes products in: route optimization; real-time tracking of orders; insights and analytics; dynamic sales journey plans; and automated shipment sorting. Those tools can help automate the human decisions required to transport a package or a person between any two points, delivering gains in efficiency, consistency, and transparency in operations, the firm says.

More specifically, the company specializes in solving real-world logistics problems like increasing First Attempt Delivery Rate (FADR) for e-commerce companies; sales transformation for global consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies; and suggesting the optimal fleet mix for third party logistics (3PL) providers.

Locus acknowledges that several other vendors are also providing AI tools for the American supply chain segment. But the firm says its approach is distinguished by the experience of building a successful track record in the complex markets of Southeast Asia, where its platform has been tested on over 100 million order deliveries, working in 75 cities across the globe.

"AI is like electricity, the key is the application of AI, how and where," Locus CEO Nishith Rastogi said in an email. "The logistics sector is currently undergoing a massive transformation. The emergence of e-commerce means that enterprises are using logistics as a key differentiator for their business. For the first time, supply chains are acting as a profit center rather than a cost hub."

Customers can apply Locus tools to those challenge either by complimenting their existing technology via a suite of application programming interfaces (APIs) or by using it as a standalone platform for newer enterprises, Rastogi said.

That approach helped drive Falcon Edge Capital's choice to invest in Locus, its investors said. "We believe the trillion dollar global logistics market is ripe for disruption via technological change, particularly AI and machine learning driven solutions," Falcon Edge Co-founder Navroz Udwadia said in a release. "We are excited to lead a Series B round in Locus, a company that deploys AI/ML/deep tech to drive route optimization outcomes in global logistics markets."

Falcon Edge's backing will help Locus expand its breadth and depth of product and sales reach, moving from route optimization to a full-stack, software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering, Udwadia said.

About the Author

Ben Ames
Senior Editor
Ben Ames has spent 20 years as a journalist since starting out as a daily newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania in 1995. From 1999 forward, he has focused on business and technology reporting for a number of trade journals, beginning when he joined Design News and Modern Materials Handling magazines. Ames is author of the trail guide "Hiking Massachusetts" and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

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