Start-up businesses with cool ideas for the home delivery market could be in with a chance of funds and mentoring, thanks to an initiative from parcel specialist, DPD, and investment house L Marks.
Called Last Mile Labs, the accelerator fund has been in planning since October of last year, and is hoping to shortlist 10 applicants by April. Any products successfully developed are likely to then form part of DPD’s services.
Those teams that make the shortlist will receive mentoring from industry entrepreneurs, access to DPD’s own data, £12,500 in initial funding and access to £100,000 long-term funding.
There are four categories ear-marked by Last Mile Labs for exploration:
- Doorstep Smiles – develop the world’s best final mile delivery experience that enhances DPD’s reputation as the UK’s favourite and most innovative carrier
- Closely Connected – using the parcel receiver’s data, develop an interactive interface that allows the DPD driver and receiver to communicate in real time
- Operational Efficiency – using historic and current delivery data plus predictive trend partners to identify cost savings and efficiency
- Wild Card – any innovative product or solution that enhances last mile delivery experience and which isn’t covered in the other categories
The 10 teams selected for inclusion in April will have to hit certain project milestones to stay involved in the programme.
Dwain McDonald, CEO of DPD, said: “We’re now using mobile phone to buy, shop, track – wherever the mobile phone takes us is where the next innovation for DPD is. We need fresh thinking and new people. That’s what’s so exciting for me, and why Last Mile Labs is so refreshing. If it means we innovate faster, customers like it, we retain our customer base and a competitive advantage on all other parcel carriers – great result.
Stuart Marks, Chairman of L Marks, commented: “Last Mile Labs is an initiative that will invest in the “science of delivery”, working with startups in early and growth stages to provide customers with the best possible service for years to come. We’re not looking for qualifications or creating hoops to jump through. Last Mile Labs is open to anybody who has a great idea. If you have a solution that can save money, drive efficiencies, enhance the customer experience, or maybe something that we haven’t thought about that can take this business to the next level, then we want to hear from you.”