Two young entrepreneurs have secured venture capital and an angel investment of Â£ 1.74million to expand their HIVED parcel delivery service.
The company has a fleet of 20 electric cargo bikes driven by couriers directly employed by HIV positive and not paid per drop. Since cargo bikes don’t get stuck in traffic and can park for free almost anywhere, the zero-emission service plans to provide estimated drops in 15-minute time slots. Currently exhibiting on London’s M25 orbital motorway, the company plans to roll out to major cities across the UK and then expand nationwide coverage within three years. Longer journeys will be made in electric vans, with most last mile deliveries being made on e-bikes that save time, speed and space.
The announcement on September 21 of a cash injection comes in addition to the launch support received in June 2020 from the UK government’s innovation agency, Innovate in the UK.
The current investment was led by the Climate Technology Seed Fund Pale blue dot and joined by Eka Ventures, Blue Impact Ventures, The Fund and several angel investors, including logistics experts who will sit on the board of directors of HIVED.
âWe can see from the GPS data that a cargo bike is always faster [through cities] than a pickup truck, âKrieger told me.
âThere are a lot of issues a pickup truck has, like getting stuck in traffic and where to park it. Van delivery services currently can only offer four hour slots at best, as there is so much that can happen to a large vehicle in a busy city. With a bicycle, all these problems disappear. We are working on 15 minute parcel delivery slots, and if we say our rider will be there between 2:45 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., we know it will happen. A bicycle can stop right outside the door; it doesn’t need to be parked three blocks down when a traffic incident or construction blocks the road.
On the same conference call, Iqbal agreed, âCities weren’t made for these big metal vans. Our service eliminates all unpleasant elements.
Kings College graduates Iqbal and Krieger met on a university research trip to Silicon Valley, California, visiting Google, Tesla, and other tech innovators. The couple were already enterprising, cutting their teeth by working for businesses owned by their families. From the age of 15, Iqbal managed social media for Archie, a high-growth Manchester-based, neon-branded burger chain started by his uncles, and Krieger spilled the fortunes of his mother’s online fashion business, Luxure Auf Lebensart of Germany.
Vanvas, the couple’s original company, was data-driven, and Iqbal and Krieger realized there was a lot more potential in operating vans than reserving ad space on them. But vans, they figured out, weren’t environmentally friendly, and even electric vans get stuck in traffic.
As bicycle commuters (Krieger grew up in MÃ¼nster, one of Germany’s leading cycling towns), they knew the speed and space efficiency of bikes made them perfect for last mile deliveries. Several different electric cargo bikes were tested before Iqbal and Krieger chose a fleet of Raleigh electric bikes.
âMost of the time, e-bikes are better than vans for last mile deliveries in cities,â Krieger said.
HIVED employs its riders.
âWe don’t believe in the odd-job economy for large-scale parcel delivery,â Krieger said.
âFull-time employees are happier because they don’t feel like rushing; they are not paid on the job. This way they provide better service and everyone is happy.
âI get very pissed off when I see a diesel pickup truck speeding like crazy because you know the driver is under so much pressure to save time. ”
Iqbal added, âIt’s not just the danger; it is also better economically not to rush. If you rush, chances are you will make mistakes. You can therefore deliver to the wrong address or the package will be thrown in the front yard. If you pay people in a way that they’re comfortable spending time solving problems, you lose a lot less packages. ”
HIVED is nimble and new, but its founders insist that its business model is more scalable than the van-based model of its much older competitors.
âWith increasing urbanization, the benefits of electric bikes will only increase,â Krieger said.
“We only have a small fleet at the moment, but with 30,000 cargo bikes on the road, we could make a huge positive difference in how cities work.”