This article is part of the “Logistics of the Future” series, where we look at the best logistics startups today.
It is the last step in the supply chain but likely the most important: last-mile delivery. Delivery from the transport hub to the shipment’s final destination has become one of the major focus points for logistics companies as more and more people head online to buy their goods. In fact, e-commerce is expected to hit $1.35 billion in sales by 2018, an increase of 28.8 percent from 2013. Quick delivery direct to door is no longer something that is “nice to have”, it is a customer expectation. But meeting such expectations has become an expensive operation with last-mile delivery comprising more than 50 percent of total shipping costs. People want their goods and they want them now.
Thankfully, there are many logistics companies worldwide who are working to streamline this process using the latest tech and methodology. Forget about the postman coming to your door, these last-mile delivery startups are rethinking the last step in the supply chain to include drones, electric vehicles, robots, driverless cars and more. Smart solutions are the way forward.
Best Last-Mile Delivery Startups
Here are but some of the best last-mile delivery startups who are working to change the way how you receive your shipments to the door:
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It was only a matter of time: delivery robots. This startup, launched by Skype co-founders in London and headquartered in San Francisco, is one of the better-known delivery robot companies out there hoping to revolutionize last-mile deliveries. The company has custom-built their own delivery robots, and while they might look more like ice-coolers than human-like androids, are changing the way goods come to your door.
The concept is simple: customers order through an app before the little robot makes its way through urban streets. Customers can then live track the six-wheeled droids, with their range of two miles and ability to deliver within 30 minutes, as they make their way for drop-off.
This solution has a potential to introduce a great last-mile delivery option for small areas, removing some of the traffic from the roads at the same time. The startup has already partnered with such companies as Swiss Post, Domino’s and Postmates and claims to have driven 100,000+ km on public sidewalks.
What can we say? Welcome to the future. A robot delivery future.
Company: Starship Technologies
Founders: Ahti Heinla, Janus Friis
Headquarters: San Francisco, United States
Learn More About Starship Technologies:
- “Cities and Tech Companies Can Accomplish Great Things Together” – Entrepreneur
- “Starship Technologies launches autonomous robot delivery services for campuses” – VentureBeat
Further than robots: fully-autonomous delivery vehicles seem to be on the horizon for last-mile deliveries as well. This is what Californian outfit Nuro is looking to expand upon after unveiling a prototype earlier this year. The vehicle they designed is about the height and length of a normal SUV, but only one-meter wide with a cargo capacity of 115 kilograms.
The vehicle may look a little strange to onlookers, but its tech is revolutionary. The vehicle’s guidance system is in a canister mounted atop a crossbar gracefully curving over the soft-edged, rectangular vehicle. While it might look a little like the handle of a shopping basket, Nuro believes this vehicle could be the future of door-to-door delivery. And there is a vast chance that they are right.
Founders: Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu
Headquarters: Mountain View, California
Learn More About Nuro:
- “Two ex-Google engineers built an entirely different kind of self-driving car” – The Verge
- “Grocery Giant Kroger Partners With Tech Startup Nuro For Robo-Delivery Service” – Forbes
Although last-mile delivery vehicles are an integral part of the ecosystem, the logistics management platforms are no less important. Launched in 2014, LogiNext has already become a leading solution for logistics service management and optimization and has been recognized as one of the fastest growing Software-as-a-Service enterprises in its sector.
The core product of the startup is LogiNext Mile, a customizable last-mile delivery and dispatch Management Software, providing its users with automated delivery route planning and optimization, real-time resource allocation and tracking and many other tools. Loginext serves more than 200 enterprise clients globally reducing their logistics and resource costs by 18% on average.
On top of that, as true innovators, they have introduced the new way to manage the logistics operations – the clients can now just talk to their digital assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant and get all the required information about their logistics movement instantaneously through the LogiNext system. If this is not exciting, we don’t know what is!
Founders: Dhruvil Sanghvi, Manisha Raisinghani
Headquarters: California, Fremont; Mumbai, India
Learn More About Loginext:
- “Voice Controlled Logistics Management is Finally Here!” – Markets Insider
- “Logistics And The Last Mile in 2018” – Bloomberg Interview with Dhruvil Sanghvi, CEO of Loginext
What about on-demand deliveries, you will ask? Then you’ve probably heard about Postmates.
They are transforming the way local goods move around a city by enabling anyone to get any product delivered in under an hour. Postmates Urban Logistics platform connects customers with local couriers who can deliver anything from any store or restaurant in minutes. Postmates’ passionate community of riders and drivers are currently delivering in 40 major metropolitan markets in the US. All you need to do is to install their app on your iOS or Android Device, and you are totally set to get your deliveries on demand when you want and where you want.
Founders: Bastian Lehmann, Sean Plaice, Sam Street
Headquarters: San Francisco, California
Learn More About Postmates:
- “Ford to Partner With Postmates on Driverless Deliveries” – inc.com
- “Postmates promises 30-minute deliveries in its new grocery delivery service” – Business Insider UK
Not everyone can have last-mile capabilities like giants Amazon and Uber, but that is what Bringg has set out to change. The American startup is a platform for businesses to manage on-demand and last-mile deliveries to enrich their existing logistics infrastructure. Their platform can connect with a variety of APIs, allowing large businesses to create a system that works with their existing infrastructure.
With customers in more than in 80 countries across sectors like retail, e-commerce, food and beverage, Bringg is already changing last-mile deliveries across multiple industries.
Founders: Raanan Cohen
Headquarters: Tel Aviv, Israel
Learn More About Bringg:
- “Bringg Adds Auto-Dispatch To Its Delivery Logistics Platform, Helping Businesses Improve On-Time Deliveries by More Than 50%”
- “These Startups Could Give Amazon’s Retail Competitors An Edge” – Forbes
Forget the road and take to the skies: drone delivery is the next step. Besides, there is much less traffic there. Matternet is solving the problem of last-mile delivery by changing how they travel the last mile itself. Designed exclusively for transportation, the company seamlessly connects smart drones, cloud software and safe ground stations to an intuitive mobile app. Easy, right?
Their mission is to make access to goods as frictionless and universal as access to information. Drone delivery straight to your door seems like a good way to go about that. In June 2016 the company raised $16M by Boeing-Led Investment round.
Founders: Andreas Raptopoulos, Dimitar Pachov, Paola Santana
Headquarters: Menlo Park, California
Learn More About Matternet:
- “Drone Deliveries Advance With $16M Boeing-Led Investment” – Forbes
- “Delivery Drones Are Using Vans as Roving Parcel Hubs in Switzerland” – MIT Technology Review
Dome, spot, cup. Welcome to a world where just three words translate to a unique, identifiable location anywhere in the world. This is the reality created by what3words. The startup, based in London, has devised a system in which any three words correspond to an address measuring 3 meters by 3 meters, anywhere in the world.
The three-word addresses convert reliably into GPS coordinates and back again, and can be easily integrated into existing platforms and systems. Imagine if every home in the world had a three-word address? The advancement could drive efficiency within the postal industry, with many other applications possible.
Founders: Jack Waley-Cohen, Chris Sheldrick, Mohan Ganesalingam
Headquarters: London, England
Learn More About What3words:
- “Logistics Startup of the Month: What3words” – Transmetrics Blog
- “How What3words pinpoints every spot on Earth for better navigation” – CNET
It was only a matter of time until same-day deliveries were provided by crowdsourced drivers. This is thanks to the work of Deliv: a last-mile delivery startup out of California who believes it is on track to disrupt the las-mile sector as it stands.
Deliv delivers same-day by picking goods directly from brick and mortar stores, effectively turning them into strategic distribution centers. Deliv services over 4,000 retailers and businesses, including Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Google Express, and Best Buy, with the solution available for businesses and individuals across a range of products.
Founders: Daphne Carmeli
Headquarters: Menlo Park, California, USA
Learn More About Deliv:
- “How crowdsourcing shipping through technology will make last mile delivery cheaper” – Business Insider
- “Lions Of Retail: 8 Surprising Brands Coming On Strong In 2018” – Forbes
If sharing economy is a familiar term for you, the concept of Roadie would be very simple to understand. Roadie is the first “on-the-way” delivery service that puts extra space in passenger vehicles to work by connecting people with items to send with drivers heading in the right direction. The company’s collaborative model enables fast, flexible, low-cost delivery for senders and rewards drivers for trips they were already taking.
Roadie works with top retailers, airlines, and grocers to provide them with a faster, more efficient, and more scalable solution for same-day and last-mile deliveries nationwide. Since the launch in 2015, the startup delivered everything from cupcakes to couches to customers in more than 9,000 cities in the US which is a larger footprint than Amazon Prime.
Founders: Marc J. Gorlin
Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Learn More About Roadie:
- “Why Empty Backseats May Be the Next Big Thing In Delivering Packages to Your Doorstep” – Fortune
- “The Startup Taking On FedEx, UberRUSH and Postmates” – Forbes
For years manual route planning was an epic waste of time, money and resources. Businesses were unable to deliver to their customers on time, and their growth and profit margins were blocked because of inadequate logistics. Business owners and fleet managers struggled for hours when planning daily routes. Some used spreadsheets or hire dispatchers, while others even worked with pen and paper.
Routific decided to change this by creating a route optimization platform and industry-leading API that empowers last-mile delivery businesses to work smarter and more efficiently, saving up to 40% in driving time and fuel consumption. The platform combines the power and efficiency of the complex and reliable routing algorithm with a cutting-edge user experience, making Routific one of the top solutions for route optimization at the moment.
Founders: Marc Kuo, Suzanne Ma, Andre Soesilo, Andrew Kwok
Headquarters: Vancouver, Canada
Learn More About Routific:
- ”Routific’s Route Optimization Tools Help Local Businesses Offer On-Demand Delivery” – TechCrunch
- “Inside the Increasingly Complex Algorithms That Get Packages to Your Door” – MIT Technology Review
Do you know any other outstanding last-mile delivery startups that did not make it to the article? Let us know in the comments!