Fleet software startup LocoNav raises $37 million to expand in developing markets

LocoNav, an India-based startup that is helping drivers and fleet owners in over two-dozen nations run their vehicles more efficiently and save money, said on Monday it has raised $37 million in a new financing round.

Five-year-old LocoNav’s new financing round, a Series B, was funded by Quiet Capital, Anthemis Group, Foundamental, Sequoia Capital India, RIT Capital Partners, Uncorrelated Ventures, Village Global and others. The new financing round brings the to-date raise of LocoNav, which has offices in San Francisco and Gurgaon, to $47 million.

Scores of high-profile tech executives, including Anjali Joshi (ex-VP of Product at Google), Anand Chandrasekaran (ex-CPO at SnapDeal and ex-Director Facebook), Manik Gupta (ex-CPO at Uber), Jai Shekhawat, Mark Licht, Akhil Paul, Vas Bhandarkar, Ajay Agarwal (Partner at Bain Capital Ventures), Abhi Ingle (COO at Qualtrics), Aadil Mamujee, also participated in the new round.

Over half a million vehicle and fleet owners in 25 nations use LocoNav’s platform today, which uses AI to help them manage their fleet operations, keep a watch on performance, and improve efficiency, the startup’s founders Shridhar Gupta and Vidit Jain told TechCrunch in an interview.

The startup’s platform delivers assistance and recommendations to drivers to make better choices. LocoNav also enables customers to track fuel usage, and any potential theft. Its platform supports over a thousand devices and sensors, enabling it to onboard new customers very quickly.

The founders said that the market in which they operate has become very large over the past decade as many drivers and fleet owners begin to engage with tech platforms. Some of the players operating in this space include unicorns and decacorns Fleetcor, Trimble and a16z-backed Samsara.

But these players are largely operating in developed markets, which has allowed LocoNav to win customers in emerging nations, the founders said. “In global developing markets, no one has ambitiously built a large player and we see ourselves as the first mover there,” said Gupta. The founders added that the biggest roadblock in the industry remains drivers and fleet owners who are not using any tech.

“LocoNav has built an end-to-end product that becomes deeply embedded in how fleet owners and operators run their business. As a result, LocoNav has been able to scale rapidly through word of mouth, allowing the company to become a hyper growth market leader while also being very capital efficient,” said David Greenbaum, Partner at Quiet Capital, in a statement.

By having such deep visibility into a vehicle, LocoNav has also become very attractive to a range of firms — from app-based cab aggregators, car vendors to fintech startups and sensor manufacturers, said Jain. The startup is also using its data insights to develop customer-relevant services and bringing them to a single platform, he added.

LocoNav plans to deploy the fresh capital to hire data science teams across San Francisco, Gurgaon and Bangalore. In the next two years, the startup aims to broaden its product offerings to help fleet owners cut their costs by up to 50%, the founders said.

“Shridhar and Vidit have found the ideal playbook for delivering world-class value-added services and products to fleet owners across the globe through the use of AI and software solutions. We are thrilled at how rapidly the firm has been able to expand its global footprint by replicating its own model and suite of offerings for fleet owners,” said Shubhankar Bhattacharya, General Partner at Foundamental, in a statement.