UK-based last mile delivery provider Gophr has raised £ 4million in funding as it looks to invest in its product thanks to 300% revenue growth over the past 12 months .
Pan-European B2B investor Nauta Capital is leading the way. The company previously raised £ 1million in two rounds, including £ 500,000 from publicly traded Auctus Alternative Investments.
It should be noted that Gophr co-founder and CEO Seb Robert tells me that the company founded in 2015 achieved monthly net profitability about 3 years ago and has been net profitable for the entire last year. Like other delivery companies, Gophr has benefited from a pandemic crisis, but courage aside, aims to gain a foothold in the market.
Gophr claims to have made more than 2 million same-day deliveries to date. Customers include leading consumer brands including HelloFresh, Boots, Co-Op and Selfridges. It claims 5,000 customers in total and operates in most UK cities.
Regarding net profitability and raising new funds, Robert says he felt this was important proof to hit, recalling how just a few years ago with some huge successes we saw “A generation of delivery startups set off on fire with their cash investors.” They included Jinn and Valk Fleet, to name just two.
“It was all very predictable to anyone who had done their homework in advance (I remember at the time specifically sending you by DM and naming the ones that I thought wouldn’t exist in a year or two !) And therefore figured that a model who proved he could actually make money would have a better chance of raising in the future, ”he says.
Additionally, Robert notes that we’re starting to see a renaissance of venture capital investing in the last mile delivery space, but argues that, on the surface at least, these new delivery startups are taking a similar approach to the previous generation.
“Getting a toothbrush in 15 minutes is great. But what do you do with the mail that comes back empty handed? It takes time and costs money. Only time will tell, ”he said.
While Robert doesn’t say it, it probably takes a look at a new generation of startups following the Instacart model, like Turkey’s Getir, or the plethora of delivery-only “ dark stores, ” including the hottest Berlin gorillas, Frenchman Cajoo, and Britain’s Dija, Zapp, Weezy and Fancy (currently in talks to be acquired by US company goPuff).
With all the hype around drones and autonomous vehicles, Robert says people forget or don’t understand that the delivery business, especially the last mile, is always a people’s business. It means creating a service that works for the couriers that feed it.
“The same day on a large scale is difficult, so most players save money,” he said. “Traditional companies can deliver on a large scale, but the sophistication of the service is poor, and only earn money because they rush their couriers. Tech startups have great app experiences and big brand budgets, but they don’t know how to deliver sustainably, so they’re spending VC money waiting for robots, drones, autonomous vehicles, and bionic duckweed consolidates the result ”.
“The way we’ve been able to eliminate the compromise is to create a platform that maximizes the ability of each individual mail to make money, no matter which direction they are moving in, while ensuring that the end customer receives his belongings on time and without problems. “.
Gophr also built a platform that Robert says helps couriers “level up.” This required understanding the “complexity and variability of the delivery process,” including how couriers wanted to work and how best to meet customer expectations, which vary by industry.
“I think with most delivery applications and with existing carriers, the courier is a bit incidental and considered replaceable; we’re trying to focus on how to improve them, and we’re still working on it, ”he says. “Being a good courier isn’t just about being on time – that’s the bottom line – it’s what works for different kinds of customer needs and expectations. You might have Couriers who are not good at multi-drop but are very good on the track, or need some work on task management but more than make up for it with great communication. Sending or receiving a package is a bit of an emotional purchase when you think about it, so we need to do our best to handle it in the best possible way. Having happy couriers is a good start ”.
Meanwhile, Robert is out of step with last week’s Uber ruling which saw UK courts reclassify economy-style drivers as workers, meaning they are entitled to additional benefits and protections for workers.
“I think this is great news for the elimination of bogus self-employment,” he says. “I don’t see how the incumbent UK delivery industry can continue to operate with anything other than this new classification of workers. If operators want to stay on the right side of the law, worker status is the closest to how they currently do business. In the short term, they might be able to mitigate the impact with recent third-party solutions that have sprung up that cover the new IR35 rules that will come into effect later this year, but I can’t imagine that will last forever.
“Basically we have always seen the courier as ‘the talent’ and not as a cost center or a commodity, and that the important relationship to be established is between the courier and the customer, our platform being a facilitator, not a a guardian. And that has always been the key to our operation ”.
This means that Gophr does not penalize drivers for not accepting work. Its application shows the driver where he will pick up and deliver, what is the shipment and what he will be paid for so that he has all the relevant information before accepting a job ”.
However, he says the pricing aspect of the Uber case is interesting, because centrally imposed tariffs may actually work in the favor of couriers, as they are tied to a completely free market. “We set the rates they pay, but that’s because we looked at other solutions that allowed couriers to set their own price per mile and / or got them to bid on the job and whatever. fact was to encourage a race to the bottom, ”Robert said. “So it’s a little ironic that this is one of the key elements of the decision. It could become (literally) a law with unintended consequences ”.