Prashant saw a need to improve retail logistics in Singapore. He founded blu, an emerging start-up specializing in retail technology and logistics.
What’s your story?
The potential of e-commerce is huge. By 2022, the number of online shoppers in Singapore is expected to reach 4.4 million, according to Statista. By 2025, the e-commerce market in Singapore is expected to be worth US$5.4 billion, based on estimates by Temasek and Google.
I noticed glaring inertia in the way orders were delivered in Singapore. It often took days, or even weeks before the items arrive. Apart from the wait, there were many complaints about delivery delays and missed deliveries.
Seeing this as an anachronistic problem in a digital age, I founded blu to re-imagine the future of retail logistics. While logistics players were making piecemeal tweaks, I focused on systemic innovation throughout the value chain to achieve greater efficiency.
What excites you most about your industry?
Logistics focused online retail is small but growing rapidly and that provides a lot of opportunities to transform and rethink the way consumers interact with brands and retailers. A tech-enabled logistics model underpins the future of how people will consume.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Being born and raised in Singapore makes me feel like a global citizen yet very much Asian at heart. The diversity in Singapore truly allows me to appreciate the differences in the cultures and perspectives across Asia.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore; the launchpad for ASEAN and a city that is globally connected
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Believe in your own ability to set yourself to a high standard”
Who inspires you?
Warren Buffett – despite having everything, a person that continues to show true humility, and sticks to his principles.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The record US$30 billion spent during this year’s Singles Day really puts perspective on the size and scale of eCommerce and the potential that’s still yet to be tapped in this industry. Accordingly, related services and infrastructure would need to aggressively keep up to offer the consumer experience that retailers are looking to provide.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t do anything differently; each experience, whether success or failure has provided a lot to learn, grow and attain wisdom from.
How do you unwind?
I DJ as a hobby, and music, especially electronic music, enables me to unwind and explore a more creative side.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali – nature has a way of rebalancing our inner spirit.
Everyone in business should read this book:
No one book has everything; read widely and diverse topics; including material from outside your own industry. Ideas and inspiration can come from anywhere.
Shameless plug for your business:
blu is an integrated retail logistics solution provider. We operate across the entire retail logistics value chain, from warehousing and inventory management to order fulfilment to last-mile delivery. For last minute deliveries, consumers can enjoy fuss-free parcel collection via our islandwide network of automated parcel terminals, known as bluPort.
blu is appointed by the government as one of the two Locker Operators of the Federated Lockers and Collection Points Programme.
How can people connect with you?
LinkedIn or via email
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.