Fodel cracks last-mile delivery to boost consumer experience
Hamdi Osman and Soumia Benturquia. - Supplied photo
Published: Wed 24 Apr 2019, 8:43 PM
Last updated: Wed 24 Apr 2019, 10:51 PM
E-commerce can easily handle the increased traffic online, but handling increased traffic from a logistic perspective is a lot harder, says Soumia Benturquia founder and CEO, Fodel. Fodel (Forward Delivery) attempts to solve the last-mile delivery model and radically improve the consumer experience.
"When I was working with the e-commerce team at Hewlett-Packard France, I saw first hand the challenges facing the logistics and e-commerce companies during peak season, for example during Q4 holidays or sales periods. In these periods of high-volume online orders, companies have to hand over a lot more packages to the logistics companies. Additional manpower is required, tensions arises, processes break, and deliveries get delayed. Realising that this problem is very acute in the GCC, where no solution was available to help alleviate the issue, I decided to launch Fodel," said Soumia.
The venture offers a network of pick-up locations as an alternative to home delivery. The startup is live in the UAE with more than 1,000 pick-up locations and has integrated many of the largest e-commerce companies. The firm is currently planning to launch in Saudi Arabia in a few months.
Fodel raised a $2.6 million pre-series A round by a number of prominent investors and advisors including Al Rajhi family members from Saudi Arabia, and Fodel's Chairman and ex-Fedex senior vice-president Europe, Middle-East, Africa and Indian Sub-continental, Hamdi Osman.
Osman, a 33-year logistics industry veteran, said: "Fodel will gradually transform the last mile delivery model for the entire logistics landscape in the GCC. Courier companies can use the expansive pick-up network of Fodel to deliver absolutely anything their customers need, and not just e-commerce parcels. Fodel's disruptive technology and proven business model add great value at every step of the supply chain, while providing flexibility and peace of mind to the end-users of courier services."
"The last 2 years, we focused on building best in class technology and infrastructure. We also onboarded many of the largest e-commerce and logistics players of the region. Our short-term target for the UAE is to scale up even further by adding more e-commerce companies and logistics providers to our platform. Adding to this, our second big target for H1 2019 is to launch our operations in Saudi Arabia, the region's biggest market. We are already very well positioned in the Kingdom with a local team, a network of more than 800 pick-up locations and the backing of some very knowledgeable and experienced investors," said Soumia.
So how is Fodel different from its peers in the UAE? Fodel's business model is a proven concept with many successes around the world, like Kiala in the UK with over 7,000 locations, or Cainiao in China with over 40,000 locations. "Fodel's proprietary technology is unique in the region as it gives online shoppers the option to collect their parcels any time they want from a location most convenient to them. Deliveries done via Fodel's network are more affordable to end-users as they are more cost-effective for e-commerce and logistics companies. They are much faster too. Fodel achieves a much higher same-day delivery ratio than traditional courier services, helping e-commerce companies add even greater value to their customers. Also, all parcels are tracked in real-time, and customers have full visibility and control over their shipments," added Soumia.
Alex Meng, CTO based in China, Shenzhen, said: "The concept of a network of pick-up locations as an alternative to home delivery is already well established in China, a market where high volumes require massively scalable solutions. It was an amazing opportunity for me to join the company and help develop a robust and scalable technology with experts from both the logistics and e-commerce background. Fodel's technology is unique to GCC region especially because it has implemented the cash on delivery solution for all customers. I am very excited to be part of this solution to the region's delivery challenges."- firstname.lastname@example.org