Trukker raises $96m in latest funding round to expand globally

The digital freight start-up's equity financing was led by Abu Dhabi's ADQ and Saudi Arabia's STV

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, January 6, 2020.  
STORY BRIEF: Generation S –page lead profile on Trukker – an Abu Dhabi-based ‘Uber for trucks’
SUBJECT NAME:  Gaurav Biswas – co-founder and CEO.
Victor Besa / The National
Section:  BZ
Reporter:   Michael Fahy
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Trukker, which provides an Uber-like digital network for lorries and pick-up trucks in the Mena region, raised $96 million in its latest funding round as it looks to expand operations internationally.

The latest funding round included a combination of series B equity and debt funding, the Saudi start-up said in a statement.

The equity funding was led by Abu Dhabi holding company ADQ and Riyadh-based venture capital fund STV, with the participation of Mubadala Investment Company. Existing investors Riyad Taqnia Fund and Shorooq Partners also took part in the round.

The company also raised a $50m venture debt from Mars Growth, a joint venture between Liquidity Group and MUFG, and San Francisco-based Partners for Growth, which is backed by the Silicon Valley Bank.

Series B financing is the second round of funding for a company that has met certain milestones and is past the initial start-up stage.

“Trukker's growth has been exponential, both in our home markets of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and in new markets across North Africa and Central Asia,” founder and chief executive Gaurav Biswas said.

“We are constantly improvising on our launch playbook that allows us to rapidly launch new markets followed by scaling up our offering in them."

He said the core market teams were "becoming more data and analytics driven in business processes" to improve the user experience, set standards and lead the sector’s direction.

The global road freight industry, which has grown consistently in the past decade, was valued at about $3.1 trillion in 2020, according to a Frost & Sullivan report.

While the industry was hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic, the report forecasts that global road freight revenue will grow by an average of 4.3 per cent annually from 2020 to 2025.

More specifically, the digital freight space has been booming in recent years, with the growth in e-commerce driving demand in the logistics market.

With the pandemic further exacerbating challenges facing the logistics sector, including the shortages of shipping containers and freight delays, there has been strong momentum in the market for start-ups offering digital solutions.

Trukker, which entered the business-to-business (B2B) space in 2018, currently has a fleet of more than 40,000 lorries and more than 700 enterprise customers across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Bahrain, Jordan, Oman and Turkey.

We are constantly improvising on our launch playbook that allows us to rapidly launch new markets followed by scaling up our offering in them
Gaurav Biswas, founder and chief executive of Trukker

The company said its platform saved an estimated 15 million empty kilometres for big lorries in 2021. It plans to double that figure this year.

“Trukker will deploy the fresh funds to deepen its presence across all our existing markets and launch several new products and features. Trukker is uniquely positioned to tap into this opportunity by expanding into new verticals,” chief financial officer Amit Agarwal said.

The company's latest funding round comes after a $23m series A equity raised in 2019.

Trukker's investor base includes PIF-backed Riyad Taqnia Fund, the International Finance Corporation, Shorooq Partners, Endeavor Catalyst Fund, Oman Technology Fund, MEVP, Iliad Partners and 500 Startups.

The company was exploring a potential listing on Saudi Arabia's Tadawul stock exchange in a bid to tap into the region's growth potential, Mr Biswas told The National in December 2020.

Updated: February 14, 2022, 1:03 PM