Delhivery is the Facebook of third-party logistics: Santanu Bhattacharya
The macroeconomic variables in India have changed, offering opportunities to launch startups and make billions in the process, says Santanu Bhattacharya, the new senior vice-president of tech and product at Delhivery, a third-party logistics provider that raised $85 million earlier this year. In an exclusive interview with ET’s Evelyn Fok, the Tripura native who gave up heading Facebook’s mobile products in emerging markets to join Delhivery, said the logistics startup will eventually will be a data company with significant business in logistics. Edited excerpts:
What prompted you to leave Facebook to contribute to India’s startup ecosystem?
I wanted to solve problems that are Indiaspecific and won’t necessarily fit in the Western world, and I wanted to participate in the startup ecosystem that had started maturing and growing rapidly in India.When I started a startup (Salorix, a social analytics company) in late 2008, you hardly had any startups, funding was very difficult, and you really had to convince people to go join a startup. Just in two years that I have not been here, things have changed dramatically. The macroeconomic variables are also changing, so there’s great potential to go build new companies and make billions of dollars out of this process.
Why Delhivery? What potential do you see in the company and the industry?
Delhivery is something much bigger than a fast-growing startup. I see it to be very similar to Facebook, which has the mission to connect the world through social net works, while Delhivery has the mission to connect India through a physical network in a cost-efficient manner using technology, which really resonated with me.
I come from a very small town from the Northeast where there’s lack of connectivity, which significantly hampered economic growth over the last 60 years. If people can locally produce goods and services to bring to the market in India, and eventually abroad, that makes for better economic integration and higher standards of living. Second, Delhivery is doing a lot of cutting-edge work in developing worldclass technology. How do you get to an address without stopping once for directions? How do you optimise the routes of a bikerider? How do you bring a package from Delhi to Pune? All these real-life problems are being solved here.
How can data science be applied to the logistics industry? What is your vision for the function at Delhivery?
The way people write their addresses using streets, neighbourhoods, localities and landmarks differs across the country. We are using an area of data science called machine learning if you train an artificial intelligence machine more and more aggressively, eventually it starts understanding the differences of what people mean by their address.
Via: Google Alert for Data Science