Concern over carbon emissions from delivery trucks is no longer a valid excuse to not send Grandma a care package -- thanks to the emergence of Australia’s first carbon neutral delivery service.
Sendle not only uses spare capacity in existing courier services already on Australia’s roads -- mostly in back hauls of empty trucks delivering to the suburbs -- it completely carbon offsets all of its deliveries.
“Even though we are tapping into capacity that is out there at the moment, we took the next step and analysed that if that capacity wasn’t marginal -- if we took our fair share of the carbon emissions -- we measured it from Brisbane to Perth and we purchase offsets for every package in the network as if it was going that distance,” founder James Chin Moody told The Huffington Post Australia.
“We wanted to make sure we had net positive impact on the planet.”
Moody’s environmental cred is extensive. He was the co-chair of UN Environment Program Youth Advisory Council, formerly sat on the National Environmental Education Council and has co-written a book, The Sixth Wave: How to succeed in a resource-limited world.
The idea for Sendle came while operating his first business, TuShare a community platform where Aussies could share clothes, toys and household items. Finding people to share things wasn’t the problem -- it was delivering them.
“We noticed that some of the big business couriers that normally never work with small business or consumers had infrastructure and were delivering lots of stuff into suburbs but they were going back empty,” Chin Moody said.
“What they call their backhaul was empty. So we started to talk to some of them and said ‘you know what, we have this marketplace and if we start to find people to use your capacity on board and we bill them and support them and look after them, can you give us some good rates’.”
Many said no, but two said yes -- Fastway and Couriers Please came on board. Then something interesting began to happen.
“Members of TuShare started to hack us,” he said. “They were using sharing platforms to send parcels across the country.”
Chin Moody sad they started to do some research and found the cost of sending something through Australia Post was more than double what he could do it for with his new partners, and so Sendle was born.
“In Australia for low minimum order delivery there is largely a monopoly called Australia Post so we said let’s bring some competition into the market,” he said. “So we had to make sure we could out-perform Australia Post in every way we can.”
Sendle offers five price points (compared to Australia Post’s approximate 5200) for its deliveries including a flat rate of $10 for same-city deliveries, and Chin Moody says this is not just helping consumers but small businesses too.
“We started to evolve this model and realised it wasn’t just people who wanted to share something on a sharing platform but it more small businesses who are sending under 1000 things a month, they were not able to get really amazing rates either,” he said.
“We’ve got companies who might have a physical shop but sell five things a day online but then they had to line up every single day at the Post Office to send them.”
Sendle has also struck a deal with Toll to ensure regional customers -- including many startups which use the service to cut costs -- are catered to.
“We’re successful when the people who use us are successful and we love that idea that we are here to serve,” he said.
“We’ve got small businesses now who are thriving because they are finally able to compete on a level playing field and saving half an hour a day by not lining up at the Post Office. And it’s Christmas and we know a lot of folk are spending a lot of time at the Post Office.”
Sendle just received $1.8 million in funding which Chin Moody says will be spent on enhancing the product even further.
“We will continue to refine the product with the investment,” he said. “We have a list a mile long of things we’d like to do. We’ve just been growing 30-40 percent month on month for the last 6 months so that’s been a real ride.”
Watch out Australia Post - there’s more where Sendle came from
Small businesses offering parcel delivery services are apparently all the rage now.
Here are two more working the market -- and milking it during the Christmas rush.
Sherpa is an on-demand delivery service that employs more than 2000 mums, university students and retirees with their own cars to deliver groceries, flowers, dry-cleaning and alcohol in two hours within 10km of the CBD of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane. Takeaway food can be delivered within 45 mins.
Deliveries are available from 7am – 9pm, 7 days a week and can be booked via a mobile App, on both iOS and Android or via the web.
Launched in April this year by Mathieu Cornillon, Ben Nowlan and Bastien Vetault, it has already attracted $1.2 million in funding from private investors which will be used to improve the technology and expand into New Zealand.
Sherpa claims it has completed more than 17,000 deliveries and achieved 200 percent growth month-on-month, and expects 50,000 deliveries within the first 12 months in operation in New Zealand.
Aussie startup Zoom2u is an on-demand courier service that has been delivering same-day parcels in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane over the last 12 months.
Recently Zoom2u partnered with Greyhound to provide customers with a next day delivery service from $39.
The service now uses Greyhound’s bus capacity to grow the startup’s ability to accept more orders -- just in time for the silly season.
Customers can use an app to register, nominate pickup and delivery times and track its progress.