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Karooooo eyes SA e-commerce with R70m Picup buy

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Karooooo CEO and founder Zak Calisto.
Karooooo CEO and founder Zak Calisto.

Global software company Karooooo has acquired a controlling stake in Picup, an on-demand delivery platform for documents, packages, parcels and incidentals, for R70 million.

The JSE-listed Karooooo, which owns South African vehicle tracking and fleet management solutions company Cartrack, now controls 70.1% of the start-up.

It says Picup has strong growth prospects, given the acceleration of e-commerce transactions and the demand to digitalise logistics.

The Picup platform allows enterprises and transporters to plan and allocate their loads, and access real-time tracking and proof of delivery with automated payments.

The start-up completes over 200 000 monthly deliveries and services large blue-chip companies, such as Dis-Chem and Pick n Pay.

Picup’s annualised growth revenue run rate stood at R79 million at 31 July, which Karooooo says represented a 130% increase over that of March.

“As e-commerce booms, retailers and wholesalers require more efficient, flexible and cost-effective ways to optimise delivery capacity using a cloud solution,” says Karooooo.

“Picup facilitates an elastic fleet of third-party delivery drivers to handle overflow volumes, allowing clients to plan optimally, without having to factor surge periods into their base operating capacity.”

The Singapore-headquartered firm says Picup simplifies transport operations and helps mitigate the risks associated with logistics, specifically in relation to meeting tight delivery timeframes.

Zak Calisto, CEO and founder of Karooooo and Cartrack, says this transaction supports the growth aspirations of Cartrack and Picup, as the demand for last-mile delivery escalates at a rapid rate.

“As we think beyond connected vehicles, it is imperative that our cloud platform is a comprehensive mobility solution that addresses the needs of both our existing and future enterprise customers.

“E-commerce transactions across the globe are increasing dramatically and we need to ensure we are well-positioned to assist our enterprise customers in fully digitalising the mobility aspects of their businesses. Picup helps enterprises scale their operations without having to unnecessarily invest in additional assets,” says Calisto.

“Our customers that use the Cartrack Delivery functionality on our platform will soon be able to have a one-stop cloud platform to manage their fleets, with the option of using crowd-sourced drivers when faced with unplanned demand.”

Antonio Bruni, founder and CEO of Picup, and his management team, will remain invested, with a 29.9% interest in the start-up, while Karooooo has the option to increase its shareholding to 83.5%.

“Picup’s committed management team is excited about scaling Picup with Karooooo, which has a proven track record of scaling a business with prudent financial discipline,” comments Bruni.

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