Tusker — Recalibrating FMCG B2B distribution in Bharat

Caret Knowledge Centre
4 min readJul 25, 2023

Caret Capital Portfolio startup

Tusker is a B2B distribution platform focused on tier 2 , 3 and 4 towns in India.

The company aggregates orders from distributors in hubs near tier 2, 3 and 4 towns and leverages local logistics operators to send products from these distributors to retailers in deep rural India.

By creating an efficient shared-services distribution service, Tusker helps brands and their distributors service their retailers in tier 2, 3 and 4 towns a lot more effectively, including daily replenishments of stocks in retail outlets and micro-fulfilment centres in rural areas. Without this service, it was economically unviable for brands to service the demand in these deep rural markets.


Tusker’s customers are primarily distributors who use Tusker as the service provider to send goods to their own customers (i.e. retailers who buy from these distributors).

Tusker has an Uber-like aggregation model where local transporters pick up goods from distributors and bring them to a local hub. Tusker then aggregates these for a longer haul from hub to a micro-fulfilment centre at the destination, where again it dis-aggregates it and engages local transporters for local last mile.

Because Tusker works with a range of transporters, they are able to optimise the trip based on the volume and need of that trip. Thus, they have a high capacity utilisation.

Why we invested in Tusker

Tusker makes it possible for brands to open up deep rural markets that they earlier had no practical access to. This can fundamentally change the market potential and business dynamics of the FMCG and consumer goods sector.

While currently Tusker’s customers are distributors, over time as Tusker starts reaching to tens of thousands of retail outlets Tusker will become a market access platform for brands — incumbents as well as emerging brands. The economics of this are significantly different than of a pure-play logistics player or distributor.

In the organised logistics space for intra-region inventory fulfilment in tier 2 and 3 cities, Tusker has practically no competition. Organised logistics brands, who are in a similar space and value proposition, focus on metro markets where the dynamics and economics are very different. The only other options available for distributors and retailers seeking reliable service are courier services, which become too expensive for the margin dynamics of retail distribution fulfilment businesses.

Tusker’s value proposition for brands

Tusker’s single-minded value proposition for rural distributors is “guaranteed next-day deliveries to their customers i.e. retailers.”.

This is important because distributors in rural areas find it challenging to service their customers (retailers) reliably and cost-efficiently. By aggregating the demand from several distributors & retailers, and optimising the infrastructure, logistics and processes, Tusker is able to service the distributor’s logistics requirements efficiently.

Also, because the distributor can now service the retailer more frequently, Tusker provides them two additional benefits:

  1. Distributors (and retailers) are able to sell a wider range of products and more SKUs
  2. Distributors (and retailers) are able to do faster inventory turnarounds, thus increasing their earnings

Tusker addresses the challenges that limit growth for businesses in tier 2 / 3 and cities:

Low availability:

  • Mom-and-pop fleets only operate by a set schedule, moreover one must commit to minimum daily loads and monthly turnover to access them. This excludes the vast majority of smaller distributors from access.
  • Unorganised light truckers are unpredictable and scarce when market demand peaks.

No last-mile reach: Transporters refuse to service most locations due to distance, low demand, or lack of familiarity.

No less-than-truckload (LTL):

  • Small fleet operators require high monthly volume commitments before offering LTL pricing. At that, this rarely applies to all locations.
  • Individual transporters insist on daily trip rates for anything apart the shortest intra-city movements (very expensive)

Not on-demand/ instantaneous:

  • Small fleet operators stick to schedules, and unreliably so, often serving rural locations only once a week.
  • Individual transporters are engaged by making multiple phone calls or physically tracking them down. Drains the time and resources

Lack of accountability with no complaint redressal system

  • No track-and-trace
  • No insurance, GST or eWaybill compliance or reliable digital POD

In such a market, Tusker offers rural distributors the following benefits:

  • Tusker relies on a large trucker pool that ensures reliability of next-day delivery
  • Frictionless order placement
  • Transparent pricing / no constant haggling (this means any level of employee can place orders, not just those empowered to negotiate)
  • Reducing the number of personnel dedicated to what should be simple, automated tasks like dispatching inventory.
  • Lower barrier to entry for new markets.

About Caret Capital

(Formerly known as Supply Chain Labs)

Caret Capital is a Venture Capital fund that backs category building startups making India’s value chain efficient.

Website — https://caretcapital.in/



Caret Knowledge Centre

Making India’s value chain efficient. Caret Capital is a VC fund Backing category building entrepreneurs that are powering India’s growth story.