Freightwalla: India's leading digital freight forwarding company

Jeenal Jain Jeenal Jain
Dec 18, 2021 12 min read
Freightwalla: India's leading digital freight forwarding company

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by Freightwalla.

Freightwalla offers a full-stack online platform for businesses to plan, book and manage international freight shipments seamlessly. The Company provides instant quotations & booking of ocean freight, real-time tracking of shipments, and several other digital solutions to streamline supply chain processes. With over 300+ active customers, 30+ shipping line partners, and serving over 1000 port pairs, Freightwalla envisions revolutionizing international maritime logistics with much-needed transparency, simplicity, and service excellence at each step of the operation.

StartupTalky interviewed Mr. Sanjay Bhatia (Co-founder & CEO, Freightwalla) to get insights into the startup story and roadmap of the organization. In this article, you'll discover how Freightwalla was started, its business model, funding, growth, future plans, and more.

Freightwalla - Company Highlights

Startup Name Freightwalla
Founders Sanjay Bhatia (CEO), Punit Java (CTO), Bharat Thanvi (CMO)
Headquarters Mumbai
Founded 2017
Industry Shipping & Logistics
Website freightwalla.com

Freightwalla - About and Vision
Freightwalla - Market/Industry Details
Freightwalla - Idea and Inspiration
Freightwalla - Product/Services offered
Freightwalla - Founders and Team
Freightwalla - Ideology behind Name & Logo
Freightwalla - Business Model & Revenue Model
Freightwalla - Launch and Marketing Strategies
Freightwalla - Challenges Faced
Freightwalla - Growth and Stats
Freightwalla - Funding and Investors
Freightwalla - Advisors/Mentors
Freightwalla - Recognition and Achievements
Freightwalla - Future Plans
Freightwalla - FAQs

Freightwalla - About and Vision

Established in January 2017, Freightwalla is India's leading digital freight forwarding company.

Freightwalla offers a full-stack online platform for businesses to plan, book and manage international freight shipments seamlessly. The Company provides instant quotations & booking of ocean freight, real-time tracking of shipments, and several other digital solutions to streamline supply chain processes. It thus empowers shippers with state-of-the-art technology and tools to better organize and monitor their logistics at scale and affordable prices.

While the current freight and shipping industry is largely unorganized and reliant on manual and offline processes, Freightwalla is digitizing the country's traditional USD 160 billion logistics sector by introducing the latest technology solutions for the EXIM fraternity. The Company addresses shippers' major pain points associated with working with traditional freight forwarders. It includes enabling exporters to view the costs & schedules of multiple shipping lines, helping them choose the best option for their needs, managing all their shipments online, including document automation and track & trace, and also providing all logistics services under a single roof such as Customs Clearance, Transportation, Insurance, Pre-shipment inspection, Trade finance, etc. through its partners.

All of the above is backed by the use of state-of-the-art data analytics and ML algorithms offering intelligent and customized insights, prediction of cargo delays, efficient document processing, and other trend analysis.

Ultimately Freightwalla offers improved transparency through these solutions that empower businesses to make intelligent decisions and improve efficiency. It has helped save as much as 70% of man-hours otherwise spent on traditional freight forwarding processes. At the same time, customers who have used the digital platform have reduced their documentation processing and turnaround times by 30%. Customers can now make better decisions due to increased transparency and thus exercise better control of their supply chains’ performance & costs.

The mission of the company: To build a service that addresses the needs of modern business of simplicity and transparency for shippers worldwide

Freightwalla - Market/Industry Details

India's Shipping & Logistics sectors are the backbone of the Indian economy. The sector is increasing at a 10.5 percent CAGR and hit USD 215 billion in 2020. India's trading around 95% in volume and 70% in value terms accounts for maritime transport. India has 12 major, and 205 notified minor and intermediate ports. The Indian ports and shipping industry plays a vital role in sustaining growth in the country's trade and commerce. India is the sixteenth largest maritime country in the world, with a coastline of about 7,517 km. In FY20, essential ports in India alone handled 704.82 million tonnes (MT) of cargo traffic.

This industry is mainly dependent on two of the most unorganized sectors of India - transportation, and warehousing. Digitalization is now being introduced in logistics services, which has drastically improved port management and transportation efficiency, directly boosting the economy by speeding up the delivery of goods and improving international relations.

(Source: Indian Logistics Industry Outlook, 2020, NITE)


Transport and Logistics Business Industry opportunities in India
the transport and logistics industry is profitable to any business with capital investment. In the transport industry, India shows a superior growth rate.

Freightwalla - Idea and Inspiration

Post Sanjay's master's degree from Singapore Management University, he worked with many leading consulting, private equity, and venture capitalist firms. While working with PWC as a strategy consultant in the logistics industry, he realized numerous challenges the sector was going through. Similarly, while working with a leading venture capital firm based in Singapore, Sanjay grew his understanding of various technology-backed business models that could solve several challenges of the EXIM industry. During the same period, numerous digitized platforms and Logitech companies were on the rise, and the introduction of modern technology to the logistics industry was catching pace.

The founders started by developing a prototype and reaching out to the exporters and shipper associations to pitch their idea. Upon their feedback, the founders concluded that the demand for such platforms would continue to grow in the coming period, and that's when after a few months of Beta launch, they finally propelled Freightwalla. With three co-founders, Freightwalla was formed in January 2017.

Freightwalla - Product/Services offered

The shippers moving goods from India to overseas primarily face three problems:

  1. Delays & opacity in price quotations
  2. Highly inconsistent delivery timelines
  3. Multiple manual errors that result in delays and cost escalations

Freightwalla, with its technology-backed platform, solves these challenges while offering an end-to-end digitally-enabled logistics solution. Its innovative digital platform empowers its clients by providing unique tools that leverage technology to bring in unparalleled transparency & control over the supply chain.

The gamut of services described below, driven by process automation, is the first of its kind in the Indian industry and is the primary reason the company has been able to scale to such a significant level with minimal investments.

Services -

  1. Instant Quotes and Schedules: A congregated destination of multiple shipping lines serving over 1000 port ports. Shippers instantly compare rates and draw the best pricing, effectively reducing the time spent choosing the right shipping partner from 4 days to 4 minutes.
  2. Cost Transparency: Freightwalla provides comprehensive cost break-up, including local charges and all other additional costs at the time of quotes. Whereas Freightwalla's services result in better cost management and hassle-free transparent booking, traditional forwarders do not serve all prices at the time of booking.
  3. Real-time Tracking: It offers fully automated ocean and in-land tracking that provides transparency on the shipment status to all stakeholders. The tools such as track & trace, real-time notifications over email & mobile app for all important shipment milestones, alert shippers in due time for corrective actions if any.
  4. Digital Workflow & Document Management: The digital platform uses cloud computing technology and robotic process automation to store bookings, invoices, and critical shipping documents. Digitization also helps reduce manual errors and risks in the documentation process, improving on-time cargo performance and lowering revenue leakages.
  5. Data Analytics Reporting: Users can analyze historic pricing reports to plan for future shipments in advance.
  6. One-Stop Value-Added Shipping Services:
  • Pre-Trip Inspection and Container Survey - Pre-trip inspection of containers and trucks to ensure reliability and avoid delays due to breakdowns.
  • Cargo Insurance- Cargos Insurance with trusted partners at competitive rates.

FreightBro - Helps Freight Forwarders Operate Smoothly
FreightBro is an online freight marketplace where we provide end-to-end digital solutions to shippers and freight forwarders. Read the full article to know more about FreightBro.

Freightwalla - Founders and Team

Sanjay Bhatia (CEO), Punit Java (CTO), and Bharat Thanvi (CMO) are the founders of Freightwalla.

The founders at Freightwalla bring decades of experience in building world-class technology and logistics operations, backed by advisors with 50+ years in the shipping industry, creating the perfect marriage of technology and domain experience that is needed to transform this industry.

Sanjay Bhatia | Co-Founder & CEO, Freightwalla

Freightwalla founder and ceo
Sanjay Bhatia - Co-founder & CEO of Freightwalla

Sanjay brings in a wealth of experience from his prior experience with PwC Strategy Consulting, Solera Partners - a venture capital firm, and Everstone Capital - one of India's biggest home-grown private equity firms. He has consulted numerous Fortune 500 firms and MNC logistics companies and founded and led an NGO. Sanjay holds degrees in Economics, Politics, and Philosophy from the University of Warwick. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Applied Finance from Singapore Management University. He has completed International Baccalaureate from Dhirubhai Ambani International School.

Punit Java | Co-Founder & CTO, Freightwalla

Freightwalla founder and CTO
Punit Java - Co-founder & CTO of Freightwalla

As the technology expert at Freightwalla, Punit possesses the experience of leading product and engineering teams at Microsoft, Amazon, and other startups. He has built world-class applications using voice recognition, computer vision, and other advanced technologies. Punit has completed his education at the University of Waterloo in Canada, from where he holds a BASc degree in Computer Engineering.

Bharat Thanvi – Co-Founder & CMO:

Having started his career in freight forwarding and logistics at the age of 17 and worked his way up through different positions, Bharat's knowledge and passion for this industry know no bounds. As part of his long career, Bharat has handled accounts for some of the country's largest multinational companies, including Bajaj Auto Ltd. and Responsive Industries Ltd.

The team wanted the name and brand to convey trust and reliability. Freightwalla's logo was designed to look like an abstract view of the bow of a ship to represent the business it is in and to represent a shield to convey that businesses could trust the company to protect their goods. They chose shades of blue to represent the startup's sea trade industry

And finally, the name, 'Freightwalla', was chosen to emphasize the startup's goal of being a leading player in the freight industry.

Freightwalla Logo
Freightwalla Logo

Freightwalla - Business Model & Revenue Model

Freightwalla follows a transactional revenue model. It earns a fixed service fee for every shipment handled. Besides standard services, it also offers customized services and pricing plans to meet the specific requirements of different sizes of business.

Freightwalla - Launch and Marketing Strategies

"Getting to your first 100 customers takes grit and determination. Getting to this significant milestone means not only have you found the market for your product(s), but you have also been able to build and grow your team, figure out how to hustle to win new customers, and continue to retain your existing customers base with a great product and service" - Sanjay added.

Sanjay Bhatia (Co-founder & CEO, Freightwalla) breaks this journey down into two parts:

  1. First, it is about winning your first 20 customers. Here is where you will really discover your customers. Sure, you have an idea of a product you want to build, and you will get lots of enthusiasm & feedback from the market and potential customers for your solution that is going to disrupt the world. But you will hit a wall as soon as you ask your customers to adopt or pay for your solution as it now requires an investment of effort on their part. You will have to be open to pivot your ideas, dive even deeper into your customers’ psyche, and figure out the need (not want) that will drive them towards your products.
  2. Now you’ve reached your first 20, time to get to 100. You’ve gotten to a point where you will start to recognize the pattern, which markets/segments are best to target, your key USPs, and the most important talking points. This is the time you actually have to figure out how to scale the process, the products & the team. You need to build a scalable customer funnel; you have to hone your sales process; you need to quickly adapt your product to growing customer needs while ensuring that you don’t compromise on the quality & reliability of your services. And this is the most challenging part; you have to do it while learning to manage a team. You can’t do everything yourself, so you have to hire the right people, ensure they are aligned with your vision and empower them to help grow your business. Getting the right people on board is one of the most critical parts of this phase of growth.

The marketing campaign becomes most successful when you get to care about customers deeply. For Freightwalla, It came when the startup touched its customer's challenges at the core by educating them about different business solutions and government schemes. Last year, the business organized a series of webinars with Industry leaders and Government Officers, including a session with MSME Minister Shri Piyush Goyal. Freightwalla got overwhelming responses from companies of all sizes.


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Freightwalla - Challenges Faced

"Like many, our challenge has been finding the right product fit. The international logistics market is a US $30billion industry, with many players in the industry. As a startup, we've had to find which segments to focus on, ones that really resonate with the vision we are trying to build" - says Sanjay Bhatia, Co-founder & CEO, Freightwalla.

Freightwalla found many customers who were highly price-sensitive but not as concerned about service levels & the robustness of their supply chains. These were not the best fit for the startup. Eventually, they figured out which segments were a better fit. Even for the companies within this segment, the team at Freightwalla had to figure out whom to target (i.e. the business decision-makers) & how to reach them best. And finally, they had to figure out how to tackle the massive undertaking of digitizing their logistics processes; where to start? What does success look like? Even today, Freightwalla continues to discover more about its customers and evolve the products to meet their needs.

Freightwalla - Growth and Stats

With over 300+ active customers, 30+ shipping line partners, and serving over 1000 port pairs, Freightwalla envisions revolutionizing international maritime logistics with much-needed transparency, simplicity, and service excellence at each step of the operation. Its notable clients include Aditya Birla, Cipla, and Bajaj Electricals, among other mid-sized import & export businesses.

Key milestone achieved:

  • Achieved over 1000% growth in volumes over the last 18 months
  • 30+ shipping lines partners cover services to multiple destinations globally
  • Have shipment handling partners in over 40 countries
  • USD 4 million secured in series A funding from global investors

Freightwalla - Funding and Investors

Date Stage Amount Investors
December 2019 Series A $4 Mn Led By - Amplo, FJ Labs & Rogue One Capital. Other participants - Kae Capital & Tekton Ventures

Also Read: Latest Indian Startup Funding News 2021


Freightwalla - Advisors/Mentors

  • Sasha Mirchandani, Founder, and MD, Kae Capital, India
  • Sheel Tyle, Managing Partner, Amplo, USA
  • Sailesh Bhatia, MD, Bhatia Shipping, India

Freightwalla - Recognition and Achievements

  • Freightwalla has been recognized as 'Top 10 APAC Logistics Solutions Provider' by CIO Advisor
  • It has also been honored with 'Top 10 emerging companies of India' by CEO Insights.
  • Recently it got acknowledged for its excellent smart-tech solutions and won IMC's Digital Technology Award.

Freightwalla - Future Plans

In the post-pandemic world, many SMEs have realized the importance of building a more robust supply chain by adopting better planning of their needs & digitization to help them improve the visibility of their supply chain, which has helped Freightwaala see a massive increase in demand for the solutions it has built.

The company continues to invest in its products & technology like IoT, AI/ML, and blockchain to help its customers improve their efficiency, give them better visibility, reduce costs, and ultimately give them an edge in this highly competitive market.

Freightwalla - FAQs

What is Freightwalla?

Freightwalla is India's leading digital freight forwarding company. It offers a full-stack online platform for businesses to plan, book and manage international freight shipments seamlessly. The Company provides instant quotations & booking of ocean freight, real-time tracking of shipments, and several other digital solutions to streamline supply chain processes.

Who are the founders of Freightwalla?

Sanjay Bhatia (CEO), Punit Java (CTO), and Bharat Thanvi (CMO) founded Freightwalla in January 2017.

Is Freightwalla an Indian company?

Yes. Freightwalla is an Indian company headquartered in Mumbai, India.

How does Freightwalla make money?

Freightwalla follows a transactional revenue model. It earns a fixed service fee for every shipment handled. Besides standard services, it also offers customized services and pricing plans to meet the specific requirements of different sizes of business.

Who are the notable clients of Freightwalla?

Aditya Birla, Cipla, and Bajaj Electricals, among other mid-sized import & export businesses.

What is Freightwalla's funding details?

Freightwalla raised $4 million in a Series A round led by Amplo, FJ Labs, and Rogue One Capital.

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