After five years leading Uber’s operations in Western China and later, Indonesia, Tiger Fang officially stepped away from the ride-hailing game when he co-founded Kargo Tech late last year to tackle inefficiencies in the trucking space in Indonesia.
While the B2B logistics space is a new sector for him and the handful of ex-Uber colleagues he has roped in, Fang said he has found on-demand trucking space to have notable similarities with ride-hailing, allowing him and his team to leverage past know-how to accelerate the company’s growth in its early months of establishment.
“Most of the conversations we are having with truckers are almost the exact same conversation we had with rental car companies when we first started Uber. Again, Uber was in the logistics of moving people – smart cargo. Kargo is in the logistics of moving freight. The biggest difference is being able to match the right truck with the right cargo at the right time at the right price,” he said in an exclusive interaction with DealStreetAsia.
Kargo Tech can be said to be a revamp of an older web-based e-trucking company called Kargo.id, which Fang acquired last year. Following the buyout, Fang and former Kargo.id founder Yodi Aditya teamed up to build the new venture but decided to keep the name to retain the older startup’s quarter of a million monthly website visitors.
Combining the co-founders’ distinct network and expertise, and backed with a seed funding of $7.5 million from a host of investors including Uber co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick’s 10100 Fund, Kargo claims to have become the largest trucking network in Indonesia in just six months of operation.
This is despite increasingly stiff competition from a number of other VC-backed local peers such as Golden Gate-backed Ritase, Genesia Ventures-backed Logisly and EV Growth-backed Waresix, which are all looking to tap the opportunity in Indonesia where logistics costs are as high as 24 per cent of the country’s GDP.
Interestingly, while it is currently focused on serving the Indonesian market, Kargo sees the country as a launchpad for it to eventually become Southeast Asia’s biggest trucking platform. The company says it is currently already in talks with a few of its clients to potentially serve them in other geographies.
“Our clients are global companies with presence and logistics needs in every market they are in. Our main focus is on serving them well in Indonesia. If we can do this well, I believe our customers will help us expand,” Fang said.
Edited excerpts of an interview with Kargo co-founders Tiger Fang and Yodi Aditya: