Build processes — This is one of the most critical points that I observed in companies that are built for scale. And this is a mantra which is hard coded in me now. Everything we do at LogiNext has a process and can be replicated to implement at scale. From hiring to tech infrastructure to marketing strategies, everything has a template which is flexible but has a process.
As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dhruvil Sanghvi.
Dhruvil Sanghvi is a co-founder and CEO of LogiNext. He has worked with elite organizations like Deloitte, Ernst & Young and Tata Group and studied at Carnegie Mellon and Nirma University.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
Thank you so much for having me over, it’s an absolute pleasure to be here. Looking back, it has been an incredible journey, right from growing up in Ahmedabad, a small city in the western part of India to studying data sciences at Carnegie Mellon University and working at the exhilarating Times Square to starting up and scaling a global tech firm. Life has been a roller coaster and I’ve loved every bit of it!
To dive deeper into the backstory that led me to this career path, I’d go back to 2009–10 when some major disruptions were happening — the iPhone was becoming mainstream across the globe which means mobility was becoming a key part of everything. 2011 is when cloud had picked up with Amazon crossing 1 billion dollars in revenues and Google Maps brought in the mapping revolution by making it super consumer friendly. With eCommerce picking up steam and Uberization of everything just around the corner, I was sitting at the intersection of all these trends working with the likes of E&Y and Deloitte with logistics tech as a sector focus.
All these incredibly important developments in the global landscape led me and my co-founder, Manisha Raisinghani (who I met at CMU) to start up LogiNext to bring in a new age SaaS product to automate the world of logistics. We started from India but quickly realized the potential of the solution we were building and thus, shifted base to New York and we’re extremely proud to share that we work with 200+ enterprise clients in more than 50 countries now with a team strength of close to 250.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
One of the biggest changes that has come about in the last few years and especially in the last 18 months because of the pandemic is that consumers want products to come to them and they don’t go to the products anymore. Products have to be delivered the same day or next day and the level of convenience for customers in cities is touching new levels of excellence and this is the entire wave we’re riding on and enabling.
LogiNext technology is used by enterprises in CEP (courier, express and parcel), eCommerce & Retail, Transportation, QSR chains and Healthcare to enable this revolution. Be it B2B fulfilment or last mile deliveries, our transportation automation platform which is a plug&play software gives complete visibility over the entire logistics operations and helps our clients provide a superior customer experience to the end user. We’ve had several features added during the pandemic which enables low contact or contactless deliveries and the entire delivery orchestration has become extremely seamless!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Well, I find it funny that we’ve pretty much tried out everything in the logistics space! When we were just starting- we had wild ambitious ideas in IoT, hardware, software, deliveries, everything. We had a fleet of vehicles delivering food like a DoorDash, we had hardware devices fitted in long haul trucks like how a UPS would do it and we had software as well which would power all of this. As a small startup, we were trying to do all that UPS had achieved in its legacy of over a hundred years! The biggest lesson here was to focus on one thing at a time and we picked our current model of a SaaS software for enterprises to automate their logistics and this is our sweetspot. This in itself is a huge market and we’re quickly moving up the charts to open up new business verticals.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
Mark DeSantis, my professor from CMU and currently CEO of Bloomfield Robotics has played a pivotal role in shaping my entrepreneurial journey. I remember how from day one when the thought of LogiNext was born, Mark has been a friend and teacher who gave insights which helped us create impact as soon as we began. More than an advisor, Mark is an extremely humble person who has been more like a teammate adding value from the onset.
Vijay Sekhar Sharma is another mentor and investor in LogiNext who has been extremely helpful throughout the journey. VSS as he is popularly known as the founder of PayTM, India’s most valuable startup at 16 billion dollars played a critical role in opening several doors for LogiNext in our early days. He’s the epitome of ‘Go Big’ thinking and a lot of our focus on processes for scale comes from Vijay. He’s played a key role in boosting the entire startup ecosystem! I am extremely grateful for the presence of these and several other people in my life.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
My outlook on this is that one shouldn’t start a company to disrupt an industry. Our entire premise with LogiNext is to enhance the experience for the end customer. And not do this by disturbing the existing because everything that is there is present for a reason. The positive premise is to improve the existing system by building a more efficient and helpful system which pushes humanity forward.
One ‘not so positive’ example about ‘disruption’ would be that of WeWork which tried to disrupt what Regus was doing in the office real estate sector by only offering discounts and making the workplace look more cooler. There was no value being added and this basically put a lot of pressure on existing players and the industry in general and it basically led to the bubble bursting and one company tanking. This is not to put down anyone’s effort because I’m sure everyone has their reasons for doing things but for me, value addition is really crucial. And this is what I’d like to associate the word disruption or change with.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
- Build processes — This is one of the most critical points that I observed in companies that are built for scale. And this is a mantra which is hard coded in me now. Everything we do at LogiNext has a process and can be replicated to implement at scale. From hiring to tech infrastructure to marketing strategies, everything has a template which is flexible but has a process.
- Be persistent — I think this is a trait every successful entrepreneur would vouch for. If the intent is clear and one is persistent, things work out eventually. It’s easier said than done but this is one quality which pays rich dividends. I have got this from all my mentors and it is something I can vouch for from experience.
- Let the product speak — Marketing is a crucial element of building a business but one piece of advice I received was to allow the product to do the talking. And a surprising story here is that a couple of our clients have come in via absolute word of mouth. A customer’s friend saw him using our platform and got it for his company. And this is not a B2C app we’re talking of, we’re speaking of an enterprise grade SaaS platform. It clearly shows how a good product will spread no matter what.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
Oh, absolutely! The journey has just begun. The logistics industry is massive. Everything we see moving around us is logistics and there is enormous room to bring in efficiency and build systems for seamless parcel movement. What we’re working towards is to build a connected platform which enables same day delivery of goods for all categories. This platform will be linking enterprises, SMBs, their delivery partners and the end customers to enable a very efficient delivery process. For instance, if you order a coffee from Starbucks and your neighbor orders groceries from Walmart, the LogiNext platform would have the capability to merge orders for efficiency (w.r.t clients) and provide a customized user experience for the end customer.
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?
I’d like to share an excerpt from ‘Hard thing about hard things’ by Ben Horowitz:
Great CEOs face pain. They deal with the sleepless nights, the cold sweats, and what my friend the great Alfred Chuang (legendary cofounder and CEO of BEA Systems) calls “the torture”. Whenever I meet a successful CEO, I ask them how they did it. Mediocre CEOs point to their brilliant strategic moves or their intuitive business sense or a variety of other self-congratulatory explanations. The great CEOs tend to be remarkably consistent in their answers. They all say, “I didn’t quit.”
This book resonates with me because it speaks from real experience of building a tech company. Funding and starting up is celebrated in the media but behind the scenes, it is deep and sometimes dark. It takes a lot of grit and strength to be firm on the vision and keep building, no matter what. It is this spirit because of which I feel everyone wanting to start up or anyone working at a company with an entrepreneurial mindset should read this book.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Once in your life, try something. Work hard at something. Try to change. Nothing bad can happen.” — Jack Ma
Jack Ma has been a character of enormous inspiration for me. Building Alibaba the way he did against all odds is truly motivational! The last year has been rough for the global Chinese giant since the Ant IPO was cancelled but it is all part of the journey. The quote really stands true today and the passion and thrill of building something large and at scale is unmatchable. Stay true to your vision, and enjoy the ride!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Well, I am a big fan of helping people create wealth and not ‘earn money’. Wealth creation is a holistic idea where individuals can look at money as just a resource and work with it accordingly. And more than work with it, the idea is to let money do the work for you. At the core, it is about knowing about the history of how money works, what is value creation and how can one tap into this knowing to grow the pie in general. It brings in financial freedom for an individual and also helps other people grow in all directions. We take several steps to percolate this idea within the organization and I would be glad to see this mindset percolating through the masses.
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!