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Relay, a Parcel Delivery Startup, Secures $10M in Seed Funding

Parcel delivery incumbents often follow fixed daily routes from suburban depots, a method that may seem like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, especially considering the lightweight nature of most parcels. Recognizing the need for a more efficient approach, many have turned to the concept of “Uber-ising” local deliveries, a trend that has gained traction in Asia through the use of ‘asset-free’ delivery models employing mini depots instead of large owned facilities.

However, this innovative approach is less prevalent in Europe. Seeking to fill this gap, Relay, a company offering a delivery platform for e-commerce businesses, has successfully secured a $10 million seed round. The funding was led by Project A Ventures based in Berlin and Prologis Ventures in the United States.

Relay distinguishes itself by providing an end-to-end parcel delivery service encompassing the first, middle, and last miles. The company achieves this through the strategic use of urban-based ‘pitstops’ and couriers, claiming reduced overhead compared to traditional suburban depots and sorting centers.

The core of Relay’s service lies in its routing platform, which matches couriers to routes and optimizes deliveries and returns in a single route, drawing parallels to Uber’s model. The company also asserts that its approach can result in a next-day service. Notably, Relay ensures that local couriers receive benefits such as sick and holiday pay.

Among Relay’s clientele are major UK retailers, including JD Sports, THG (owner of brands like MyProtein and Glossybox), and other enterprise retailers. The company has already launched its services in London, with plans for a nationwide rollout in 2024.

Jonathan Jenssen, co-founder and CEO of Relay, highlighted the difference in delivery company origins, stating, โ€œIn Asia, delivery companies were built specifically for e-commerce โ€“ in Europe and the US, it was the exact opposite, with delivery companies built for a pre-internet world.โ€ He emphasized Relay’s role in bridging the gap between the rapidly evolving e-commerce landscape and traditional delivery methods.

As Relay enters the UK market, it will face competition from existing players such as Evri, Royal Mail, Yodel, and DPD, among others.

 

by Paul Britton

Full-time CBG author covering everything from business to wellbeing news, in Cyprus. and abroad.
Tags: Relay Uber

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