Sheikh Samiullah, CEO and the co-founder of FastBeetle told Business Today In in an exclusive interaction that the fresh funding will be utilised in expanding the operations to several rural districts of the union territory including South Kashmir as well as Jammu regions.
Logistics tech platform headquartered in Srinagar, FastBeetle, has become the first Kashmiri startup to raise $100,000 in a pre-Series A funding round led by a clutch of angel investors including Sandeep Patel from Nepra, entrepreneurship evangelist Saurabh Mittal, Vikram Sanghvi, Rohit Qamra, and a few non-resident Kashmiris. Existing investors Kartikeya Desai and Anuj Sharma also participated in the current round.
Sheikh Samiullah, CEO and the co-founder of FastBeetle told BusinessToday.In in an exclusive interaction that the fresh funding will be utilised in expanding the operations to several rural districts of the union territory including South Kashmir as well as Jammu regions. He added that the startup is also aiming to use the funding in marketing, promotion, and overhauling of IT infrastructure as well as hiring employees.
“We are very bullish on hiring local talent from the valley and will use this funding opportunity to create employment opportunities in J&K,” FastBeetle co-founder said.
Both Samiullah and Abid Rashid Lone co-founded FastBeetle in 2019 aiming to disrupt the conventional delivery sector of the valley and making inroads into the e-commerce industry, which was still at the nascent stage. However, months-long communication breakdown due to internet unavailability hammered the startup sector, blocking channels to fund-access.
“We even approached the government run Entrepreneurship Development Institute and were promised Rs 10 lakh as initial financial support for the upstart, which we couldn’t get,” Samiullah said.
The company provides inbound and outbound full-stack logistics services across 19,000 pin codes in J&K and works with over 800+ micro-entrepreneurs and SMEs, of which 60 per cent are run by women, helping drive entrepreneurship in the region and providing critical services in areas not serviced by larger companies.
It recently announced strategic tie-ups with Amazon and Flipkart to enable last mile logistics in several pin codes in Kashmir and to use the funding to strengthen the team and expand business operations to all districts including Jammu, as well as in the adjacent union territory of Ladakh.
The company has grown steadily after its selection last year at a special incubation program held in Srinagar by ALSiSAR Impact, a double bottom line impact incubator and transaction advisory firm, that has a special focus on frontier markets and the Himalayan region. “FastBeetle is a great example of the type of social enterprise that is much needed to spread the benefits of growth to underserved regions. ALSiSAR Impact is proud to have supported the founders from an early stage,” said Anuj Sharma, Founder and CEO of ALSiSAR Impact.
Despite the growth in VC and impact investing in India over the last few years, non-metro regions and frontier markets especially in Himalayan region seldom receive early-stage investment and support. This is one of the first such investments in the region that is full of potential for both social and economic impact. It also signals to other capable entrepreneurs in the valley that it is possible to raise funds to build a scalable enterprise, the company said in a statement.