To expand in the UK, Uber-for-parcels company Relay has raised a $10 million seed round
Typically, parcel delivery industry incumbents operate set daily routes out of suburban facilities. However, given that the majority of packages are quite light, this is more of a hammer to break a nut. Thus, “Uber-ise” local delivery makes sense. In fact, the “asset free” transportation model—which substitutes small privately held depots for larger ones—has spread throughout Asia. However, that model is less common in Europe.
Thus, Project A Ventures of Berlin and Prologis Ventures of the United States led a $10 million seed round that Relay, which provides a delivery platform for e-commerce enterprises, raised.
Relay claims that because it uses urban-based “pitstops” and couriers for their end-to-end parcel delivery service, which covers the first, middle, and last miles, it has lower overhead than suburban area depots and sorting facilities.
According to the business, its routing engine works similarly to Uber’s in that it matches couriers with routes and combines deliveries and returns into a single route. Additionally, it states that clients may receive next-day service. Relay claims that in addition to other advantages, local couriers are eligible to sick and holiday pay.
Currently, JD Sports, THG (which owns brands including Glossybox and MyProtein), and other enterprise retailers are among the company’s clients. It is currently operational in London, with a nationwide rollout scheduled for 2024.
“In Asia, delivery companies were built specifically for e-commerce — in Europe and the US, it was the exact opposite, with delivery companies built for a pre-internet world,” said Jonathan Jenssen, co-founder and CEO of Relay in a statement. “Relay is bridging the gap between rapidly evolving e-commerce and old-school delivery.”
Relay will face competition from companies such as Evri, Royal Mail, Yodel, and DPD in the United Kingdom.