iMile set to explore new markets in 2024

The last mile delivery company has been a significant contributor to the Middle Eastern economy and ecosystem, says Founder and CEO Rita Huang

By Muzaffar Rizvi

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Published: Thu 14 Dec 2023, 10:14 AM

Last updated: Thu 14 Dec 2023, 10:52 AM

iMile, a Dubai-based last mile delivery company, expanded into several new markets such as Europe, Australia and Africa in 2023 and is set to continue further expansion in 2024. After establishing the logistics brand with the help of its propriety technology, iMile now plays a pivotal role in supporting e-commerce in the region and beyond.

'I have a strong trust in technology and innovation. We plan to invest more in our technology to further improve the performance and excellence of our services. Investment in technology will help us accelerate our growth in many more markets globally.”— Rita Huang, Founder and CEO of iMile.
"I have a strong trust in technology and innovation. We plan to invest more in our technology to further improve the performance and excellence of our services. Investment in technology will help us accelerate our growth in many more markets globally.”— Rita Huang, Founder and CEO of iMile.

Rita Huang, Founder and CEO of iMile, has already transformed her startup into an international logistics platform and is confident of transforming iMile into one of the leading global logistics companies as iMile continues to expand into new territories globally.

Founded in 2017, the Dubai headquartered company offers B2B and B2C last-mile delivery services in 14 countries, including the strong platform it has established in the Middle East and Latin America, and recent expansion into Europe, Australia and Africa.

The company, which raised $40 million in 2021-22 to accelerate its expansion in existing and new markets, is dedicated to disrupting traditional logistics. Its machine learning technologies are equipped to meet the transport and logistical demands of the next generation of e-commerce delivery.

“I have a strong trust in technology and innovation. We plan to invest more in our technology to further improve the performance and excellence of our services. Investment in technology will help us accelerate our growth in many more markets globally,” Rita Huang told Khaleej Times during an interview.

'Our Channel ServicePartner program acts as a catalyst for aspiring entrepreneurs, providing them with technological tools, operational guidance, and the necessary volume support to kickstart their businesses.”— Amar Rizvi, Chief Strategy Officer, iMile.
"Our Channel ServicePartner program acts as a catalyst for aspiring entrepreneurs, providing them with technological tools, operational guidance, and the necessary volume support to kickstart their businesses.”— Amar Rizvi, Chief Strategy Officer, iMile.

The female entrepreneur said iMile is among the largest last mile delivery players in the region and she is keen to set new benchmarks for last mile delivery services. “We have recorded 100 per cent year-on-year revenue growth in the past four years and are confident of achieving 150 per cent growth next year following the expansion of our services to new markets,” she said.

Excerpts from the interview:

Please discuss iMile’s role in bolstering the Mideast economy and highlight the company’s commitment to the region’s growth and development.

iMile has been a significant contributor to the Middle Eastern economy, especially in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for e-commerce surged, and iMile played a crucial role in facilitating this boom. Our last-mile delivery services became integral in connecting merchants to buyers, supporting businesses during challenging times. This surge in e-commerce also led to an increase in job opportunities, as we expanded our workforce to meet the demand.

Additionally, our commitment to integrating technology into logistics not only boosts efficiency but also aligns with sustainable delivery practices, contributing positively to the region’s economic and environmental aspects.

How do you emphasize that iMile is deeply integrated into the local ecosystem?

Being deeply integrated into the local ecosystem goes beyond mere presence. iMile doesn’t operate as a detached multinational corporation; instead, we’re deeply ingrained in the fabric of each community we serve. We employ locals, establish strong partnerships with government bodies and vendors, and adapt our services to suit the unique needs of each country. Our business model is not just business-to-business; it’s business-to-consumer also, meaning we directly engage with the public. Being publicly accessible and having a local face in each country reinforces our commitment to being deeply integrated into the local community.

Please explain how the iMile Channel Service Partner Program aligns with Saudi Vision 2030 and contributes to the UAE’s SME ecosystem.

The Channel Service Partner (CSP) Program aligns seamlessly with Saudi Vision 2030’s goals of diversifying the economy and fostering entrepreneurship. Vision 2030 emphasizes reducing reliance on oil and gas, encouraging the growth of SMEs, and creating a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. Our CSP program acts as a catalyst for aspiring entrepreneurs, providing them with technological tools, operational guidance, and the necessary volume support to kickstart their businesses. This aligns perfectly with Vision 2030’s ambitions of increasing SME contributions to the GDP.

How will you describe the broader implications of the CSP program for regional entrepreneurship and the growth of local businesses?

The CSP Program has far-reaching implications for regional entrepreneurship and the growth of local businesses. By empowering entrepreneurs with the means to start and sustain their ventures, we’re fostering a dynamic ecosystem that extends beyond traditional sectors. These budding businesses contribute to employment generation, service enhancement, and economic diversification, aligning with broader regional goals of sustainable growth and development.

What is the role of iMile in nurturing local talent and supporting economic diversification?

iMile actively supports talent development initiatives, including Emiratisation compliance in the UAE and talent cultivation in Saudi Arabia. Our success stories highlight the impactful roles played by local talents in various departments such as HR, sales, and operational management. iMile KSA has officially signed a Training Agreement for the Associate Diploma Program with the prestigious Saudi Logistics Academy, marking a significant milestone in our commitment to excellence in the world of logistics. Collaborations with local institutions and programs aimed at training and employing talents within the logistics field showcase our commitment to nurturing local talent, thereby contributing to economic diversification and growth.

Please provide concrete examples of the technologies and strategies iMile has implemented to enhance efficiency and sustainability.

iMile’s dedication to efficiency and sustainability is exemplified through our cutting-edge technology and operational strategies. We’ve established multiple technology centres globally, leveraging these hubs to develop our in-house technology. This includes a robust system for end-to-end logistics management, addressing the complexities of handling a high volume of deliveries efficiently. Our technology incorporates route optimisation, and real-time tracking which significantly enhances operational efficiency while reducing environmental impact through optimised delivery routes and minimised failed deliveries. The CSP program offers partners direct access to these technologies and operational expertise, providing them with the tools and know-how to thrive in a competitive market.

Do you plan to introduce Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations?

Yes, we are actively considering incorporating a dedicated section focusing on ESG considerations. ESG has become a critical component of sustainable business practices, and as a responsible company, we acknowledge its significance. This section will outline our commitments, initiatives, and measurable goals towards environmental conservation, social responsibility, and robust governance, highlighting our dedication to responsible corporate citizenship.

Please explain how iMile plans to integrate ESG principles into its business practices, including efforts to reduce its environmental footprint, support social causes, and maintain strong governance.

iMile is committed to integrating ESG principles into our business practices on multiple fronts. To reduce our environmental footprint, we›re actively working on introducing biodegradable packaging solutions and partnering with universities for the development of sustainable logistics practices. Additionally, we have cardboard recycling programs to minimise waste. On the social front, our efforts include compliance with Emiratisation requirements in the UAE and fostering talent development initiatives in Saudi Arabia. We also support social causes through partnerships and community engagement programs. Regarding governance, we ensure robust oversight, transparency, and adherence to ethical business practices across all operational facets, maintaining a strong governance framework.

These initiatives reflect our commitment to sustainability, social responsibility, and ethical governance, aligning with our core values as a company dedicated to making a positive impact on both business and society.


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