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Last-mile logistics start-up CarPal has raised US$2.74m to further develop its on-demand delivery management solution, CarPal Fleet.
The software-as-a-service (SaaS) product allows e-commerce companies to build and control their own fleet of delivery drivers without owning any vehicles.
“Over the past few years, we learned that many of our customers wish to build their own fleet of drivers. This is mainly due to specific requirements or SOP,” said CarPal founder and chief executive Maarten Hemmes, pictured above.
“By allowing businesses to optimise the routing of delivery orders and match the best available driver, CarPal Fleet can bring delivery costs down and help businesses compete with industry giants such as Amazon, Lazada and Zalora,”
Launched in Singapore in 2014, CarPal began as an outsourced delivery service predominantly for food and beverage companies. With CarPal Fleet, the company has created a more tailored solution for fast-growing online retailers and traditional logistics providers who might otherwise struggle to break into e-commerce.
“We’ve learned a lot about how to run a courier service or logistics business without owning any vehicles,” explained Mr Hemmes.
He said that since online retailers normally required automated systems via email to submit and manage orders, logistics providers can use CarPal to more easily acquire e-commerce business.
“Logistics players need to find a solution to get the orders from, say Lazada, in an automated way, and that’s where we come in. We can supply that infrastructure to connect the new world with the old world.”
CarPal has a fleet of 10,000 private drivers and overseas around 5,000 transactions per day, which includes companies using their own drivers through the platform. Major e-commerce customers include DHL and Ezbuy, one of Singapore’s largest online retailers.
Mr Hemmes says customers typically transition from CarPal’s outsourcing service to CarPal Fleet once they hit 30-40 deliveries a day. By that time, the need to build a customised fleet of drivers becomes more pressing – a retailer may want its drivers to wear a uniform or collect cash on delivery, for example.
“E-commerce players are struggling to compete with the giants, and the only way they can is to provide better customer service. At the same time, you don’t want to buy lots of cars, but you still want a lot of control over the drivers. So this is the problem we’ve jumped in to solve,” he added.
CarPal has numerous competitors within the South-east Asian last-mile delivery business, most notably GoGoVan and Lalamove. According to Mr Hemmes, CarPal’s key differentiator is that it recruits drivers in every market for customers to add to their fleet, taking away the initial recruitment efforts.
“Our strength is that when these e-commerce companies grow we can move them from an outsourced service to building their own fleet; from one delivery a day to 1,000, while keeping them on our platform,” he said.