India’s largest commercial vehicle maker, Tata Motors Ltd, has picked up 26% stake in Bangalore-based logistics & freight aggregating startup TruckEasy. With this, Tata motors, the flagship of the $100-billion Tata Group, marked its first ever stake-purchase in a domestic startup.

The investment for the stake purchase was not disclosed however, which is being made through Tata Motors Finance Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Motors, the home-grown auto major said to a business daily.

Founded in May 2015 by Nikhil Thomas, Vikram Kodgi and Avinash Achar, Truckeasy is an "Uber-for-Trucks" where through its app it connects customers looking to move freight with truck operators. It has devised a unique technology enabled platform for businesses to overcome the challenges of cargo movement within a city at the click of a button. Currently, the startup provides intra-city logistics solutions only in Bengaluru.

Notably, two of startup's co-founders - Thomas and Kodgi, have previously worked at Tata Motors in the logistics domain, apart from other areas within the company and other multinational firms.

According to Tata Motors, the stake-purchase will provide “insights into the rapidly growing technology-driven freight logistics business”. The company has routed its investment in TruckEasy through its wholly owned arm Tata Motors Finance Holdings.

TruckEasy’s 8,000 customers serviced by more than 3,000 driver partners, Tata Motors aims to gain a foothold in mobility services to be "future ready", said a Tata Motors spokesperson to LiveMint.

Notably, besides Tata motors, a couple of other automobile majors have also invested in domestic and overseas startups in logistics domain. Last month, Bharat Forge made a strategic investment of $13.5 million in Tevva Motors, a British and Israeli electric truck company operating in UK. Prior to this, Bharat Forge also invested about Rs 300 million to acquire 45% stake in Pune-based electric vehicle startup TORK Motors.

In February, another Indian automobile firm Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd invested about $1 million in Mumbai-based connected car IoT-device making startup Carsense (formerly Carnot) for 22.9% stake in Carnot Technologies Pvt Ltd, the parent company of brand name Carsense.

In the same month, Mahindra picked up a 16% stake in Bengaluru-based self-drive car rental startup Zoomcar for $27.6 million as part of a Series C round of funding worth $40 million (Rs 256 crore).

Moreover, even traditional courier company DHL has entered India’s crowded logistics tech market, last month, with its DHL SmarTrucking, to provide an digital trucking solution across an extensive line-haul express road network in India.

Via - Live Mint

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