An e-commerce delivery service that boasts it will “enable the greatest change in online delivery since the birth of the internet” has raised $10m in seed funding and plans to expand its service across the UK next year.
Relay says it takes its model from Asia, where delivery companies were “founded post the dawn of the internet and purpose-built for e-commerce” compared with Europe and the US, where “delivery companies are all 50 to 500 years old and were built for a world pre-internet”.
Relay secured the backing of Project A Ventures and Prologis Ventures, after convincing them of the benefits of its “Uber-like approach to delivery”.
Its model is based on a “managed network of asset-free hyper-local partners”, a Project A Ventures report noted. Parcels and products are distributed from regional depots to a network of high street partners, such as convenience stores close to customers, which act as hyper-local parcel depots, “saving on expensive suburban warehouses”. For the last mile, Relay then routes deliveries to local couriers using smaller cars and bicycles.
The company’s routing technology matches couriers with routes in real-time and can combine deliveries and returns into a single route.
Relay was founded by Jonathan ‘JJ’ Jenssen and Nicole Mazza, who spent several years at Tesco and Co-op rapid grocery fulfilment partner Stuart as general manager UK and commercial director respectively, before it was acquired by DPD Group. The company has built a team of employees who have worked at Meta, Deliveroo, Zapp, Evri, and DPD.
Relay is already working with JD Sports and THG, delivering its Cult Beauty, Myprotein, Lookfantastic and Glossybox brands, within the London area.