How Bengaluru-based tech logistics startup CarterX is helping travelers travel light

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Nothing makes the passage of time slower than waiting at the airport baggage carousel. Earlier this year, domestic and international passengers arriving at Chennai airport were forced to wait over an hour to collect their luggage. According to a study on StatisticalTransfer errors and loading failures were the main reasons for baggage delay in the aviation industry.

As India is set to overtake China and the United States as the world’s third-largest air passenger market by 2030, the problem will only get worse. This requires baggage services to assist passengers.

Airport baggage transfer assistance is an important new market in India. There is a lot of potential and scope, especially due to the new wave of post-pandemic travel trends and new airports across India,” says CarterX CEO Harsha Vardhan who comes with a two-decade experience in the retail, hospitality, construction and logistics industries.

Co-founded with Ramya Reddy, which has a 14-year experience in software, construction and investment, CarterX is a baggage assistance technology startup for air travelers across India. It offers a range of passenger services such as airport assistance and baggage handling services from the doorstep to the airport or vice versa.

“The service helps reduce passenger anxiety, whether it’s the long walks in/out of the airport, identifying counters, queuing at check-in counters, or congestion at baggage carousels. We are currently fully digital service operational in all terminals in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, and we will soon start services in Chennai and Kolkata,” Harsha said. Your story.

Launched in 2017, Bengaluru Airport provided much needed training wheels to CarterX before going to market in 2018.

“There are multiple regulations that need to be met, such as security clearances for services to be provided on airport premises. We initiated these processes at Bengaluru Airport, and the product and internal processes were tested. As we have to maintain perfect deadlines for delivering luggage to the airport, we had to test several routes at different times of the day to understand the traffic situation,” he explains.

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Services

CarterX services include airport baggage handling (local and external), Rush Local (same day local delivery), urgent cargo transfers (anywhere in India), city transfers (local and external) and inter-terminal transfers.

“Baggage is quickly collected and transported safely from the first to the last mile, with provisions for notification and tracking. One can book, move and track their baggage online. It is stored in advance in our secure warehouses at each of the airports, allowing passengers in the post-pandemic era to travel light and stress-free, without added weight or fuss,” says Harsha.

CarterX carries luggage of almost all shapes and sizes. It offers a 24/7 service based on time slots for pickup and delivery. Its other services include tamper-evident packaging, free insurance, 24/7 support, and free cancellation.

The startup has partnered with major airlines including Indigo, Spicejet, AirAsia, and Vistara for baggage and airport assistance for their travelers through a single point of access provided by CarterX.

“We are currently a team of 34 operating at four airports as a 24/7 service. At the moment, we are a small team of well-trained ground forces, but our numbers are set to increase with expansion,” says Harsha, an MBA graduate from Madras University who has worked with Sangeeta Mobiles and Appcreche Business Solutions before co-founding Carter X.

Funding and monetization

CarterX was launched with an undisclosed amount for the first two airports – Bengaluru and Hyderabad – and secured two undisclosed funding rounds in 2019 and 2021 through Mumbai Angels Network and Venture Catalysts, respectively. The investment has helped the company expand its services to more airports and create synergies with major airlines in India.

“We are in the process of raising funds for the pre-Series A round for an undisclosed amount, with participation from our existing investors VCATS and Mumbai Angels (MA),” Harsha said.

CarterX caters to both businesses and direct customers. It uses both B2C and B2B2C revenue models and seeks to combine them to deliver more with its one-stop subscriptions at multiple airports. Subscriptions for employees of the company will be at the price of Rs1,999 to Rs3,799.

“Our consumer rates start from Rs.599, and prices are based on the number of bags combined with local services or distance-based services,” comments Harsha. The price can go up to Rs 6,279 for resort services. So far, CarterX has delivered 200,000 orders.

CarterX products are not only available on its website, but can also be obtained through airline portals as well as travel agencies.

“Due to the pandemic, the last two years have been difficult for our company. But we are seeing consistent traction and revenue growth over the last three quarters. We are looking forward to achieving revenue of Rs 6 crore for FY22-33,” he underlines.

The path to follow

According to Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC)India’s air transport market is poised to become the third largest civil aviation market by 2024. The industry is expected to grow around 8-10% year-on-year as the government seeks to open up more airports.

CarterX plans to expand its services to five more airports by 2023 and expand its presence to 15 airports over the next five years.

“We want to conquer around 33% of the market share within five years in terms of passenger baggage transport services. There are fragmented service providers (such as baggage handlers) at some airports providing part of the service we provide. International aviation services players such as UK-based AirPortr and Dubai-based DUBZ, to name a few, offer similar services,” says Harsha.

CarterX says it is seeking collaborations with international players to expand its user base and plans to roll out its first international service soon.

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