This Logistics Startup Is Reportedly India's Newest Unicorn

Indian logistics firm Porter has joined the elite unicorn club, achieving a valuation of $1 billion after a successful internal funding round.

What Happened: As reported by Moneycontrol, Porter, which is backed by Tiger Global, recently completed a friends and family round. In this round, shares were bought from the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) pool, with 15-20 individuals purchasing shares worth ₹25 crore in Porter.

The company’s valuation has now doubled from the $500 million (₹4,175 crore) it achieved during its 2021 fundraise. Since its establishment in 2014, Porter has managed to raise approximately $150 million (₹1,252 crore) from investors such as Tiger Global, Peak XV Partners, Kae Capital, the Mahindra Group and Lightrock, among others.

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In a departure from the norm, this round was conducted at a premium, not at a discount. Typically, shares are traded during a secondary transaction at a discount of at least 25-30% from its last primary valuation.

Porter’s revenue saw a significant increase, more than doubling to ₹1,754 crore in FY23 from ₹848 crore in FY22. This substantial growth likely justifies the higher valuation. The company has been diversifying its operations, introducing an intra-city courier service on two-wheelers, for example, to broaden its revenue sources.

The company’s employee stock option promgramme (ESOP) liquidation events have proven advantageous for its employees, rewarding them for their contributions to the company’s growth. ESOP cashouts resulted in $1.46 billion of wealth being transferred to startup employees between 2021 and 2023, as per data from Qapita, an equity management platform.

Why It Matters: Porter’s rise to unicorn status is a testament to the robust growth of the logistics sector in India, driven by the surge in e-commerce and digital transactions. The company’s successful funding round and subsequent valuation increase underscore the confidence of investors in the potential of logistics startups.

Furthermore, Porter’s ESOP liquidation events highlight the growing trend of wealth creation for employees in Indian startups, fostering a culture of ownership and reward for contribution.

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