We Deliver Anything In The Retail Space, Says CEO Of Logistics Startup Quiqup

Published on:

We spoke to Bassel El Koussa, CEO of the last-mile logistics startup Quiqup, about the future of drones, building an infrastructure of smart tech, and deliveries that are available for anything and anyone - at any time.

How would you describe Quiqup in a few words?

Quiqup is a startup with the vision to change how cities work and empower retailers to compete in the digital age through last-mile logistics, built upon an infrastructure of smart tech and great people! We want to make on-demand, last-mile deliveries available for anything, for anyone.

"We Deliver Anything In The Retail Space", Says CEO Of Logistics Startup Quiqup

Bassel El Koussa, Quiqup CEO

What inspired you to create the on-demand delivery platform? How did it all start?

We were a team of five, in the beginning, coming from backgrounds in venture capital and drawn together by a love of music. We knew we wanted to found a business together but had no particular idea in mind. It was only after we sat down and dug deep that we agreed on creating a service that we would be passionate about using ourselves. Today, we still are avid users of Quiqup!

But not only do we use the service, we also rotate on customer support every now and then. During the early days, we actually spent a lot of time doing the deliveries ourselves.

In the logistics industry, last-mile delivery is one of the most painful challenges for retailers. What role do you think it plays in terms of customer satisfaction?

To understand what role on-demand deliveries play in customer satisfaction, you have to look at why there’s demand for last-mile logistics in the first place. The consumers of today are sophisticated, they are mobile and connected at all times, and employ multiple online and offline channels to access, discover, and purchase from retailers. They come in with the expectation of flexible delivery options, and they’re coming in not just to buy goods but to have an experience. Merchants aren’t just competing on the quality of their products, but their service as well.

The pace of life is always getting faster, so we want to be able to take control of the limited time that we have. The consumer short on time wants to have flexible delivery that fits their schedule, and they want to have a transparent view into the delivery process so they can receive their goods and services when and where it suits them best. On-demand gives the customer the option of convenience, a way for the customer to master their time if you like.

You state that basically anything in the retail space can be delivered – what areas and products do you think have the highest potential?

You can look at Amazon’s biggest verticals and our most frequent purchases to see what the on-demand industry will be adopting next. Naturally, food delivery was the first to be adopted because it’s an everyday necessity. And we can already see that groceries seem to be the second mover – it also constitutes as a habitual purchase, although with less frequency than food.

Having said that, though, we don’t think on-demand is limited to food or groceries, in fact, we think that every retail good should be available on-demand.

The goods we are already buying online today are all potential products for on-demand. Because on-demand doesn’t just mean speedy, same-hour deliveries. It means delivering at your convenience. Consumers are aware of the scarcity of time, and in cities like London time is so precious, and we want to be able to make the most out of it.

Convenience means being able to get what you want, when and where you want it. It means being able to take rein of time. And whether it’s flowers, electronics, flu medicine or food, there is always room for convenience.

You work with personal couriers, Quiqees. Taking into account that Amazon, among other players, is testing drone delivery – how do you think this will influence your business?

Drone-based deliveries (both air and ground) are potential steps in the evolution of logistics. Though at this time may still be impractical in urban logistics (airborne drones, especially). There are some obvious advantages in a robotic fleet which could save time and costs, but this can come at the price of human interaction – seeing a person’s face and having a short chat when you get your goods delivered, for instance.

But whatever industry you’re in, it’s always important to keep an eye on potential changes – technological or otherwise – which could affect your particular industry in the future. At this time, drones are being tested for a wide breadth of potential applications, including logistics, but the extent of the impact it will have on last-mile logistics is still unclear. So while it may be prudent to explore the possibilities that new technologies could offer, we think it’s still a bit too early to make decisive conclusions on how that may affect our business.

As mentioned, the competition appears to be fierce. What makes Quiqup stand out of the crowd? What is the key differentiator?

We started as a consumer-facing service, and with the data from the mobile and web apps, we gained an understanding of consumer trends and their demand for convenience. When we evolved to include business services, we were able to impart that knowledge of changing consumer preferences to businesses and facilitate their entry into the on-demand market so that we could benefit together.

The competition is fierce, particularly in the food sector, but as we mentioned above, convenience knows no bounds. And what makes Quiqup different is our vision to provide on-demand convenience for anything, for anyone. As a logistics service, we want to empower businesses in every vertical to compete in a world of e-commerce, regardless of whether you’re a restaurant, an independent fashion boutique or an electronics provider. So what makes Quiqup stand out perhaps is our vision that on-demand logistics shouldn’t be limited to any one retail good.

What is the most memorable moment throughout the history of Quiqup?

Probably the first order. When the system went live and the first orders came in, we didn’t have enough Quiqees so we all had to get our friends together and jumped in cabs and rented Barclays bikes and made do with whatever we could get our hands on to do the deliveries together.

If there is one thing you could wish for in improving the European startup ecosystem – what would it be?

The process of obtaining funding could be more streamlined. The talent is there waiting to be used but the funding mechanisms aren’t as optimized as those over in the US. A more efficient process would be better able to catalyze the kinds of development we want to see in the European startup scene.

Moreover, the European startup ecosystem has an emphasis on revenue, whereas over in the US they tend to be focused on growth and traction. Partly, this is due to the comparatively smaller pool of later-stage funding in Europe, meaning that startups have to start generating revenues early and may not have as much time as the US for the companies to develop its user base first.

There are flaws and benefits in both cases, of course – if you only look at growth and traction as your success criteria, a lot of funding may be used up in business ideas that end up failing due to the lack of cash flow. However, if you focus heavily on revenue, that might restrict opportunities to gain a bigger hold on the market.

What’s one piece of advice you can give to fellow founders for their startup?

Pick the right partners, pick the right team. Startups, like any kind of business, can and do go through good and bad. You want people who aren’t just sticking around when things are going up, they have to have the resolve and dedication to tough it out if they need to.

Of course, that doesn’t only apply to the partners you start the business with – a company is only as good as the people behind it, so it’s also crucial to hire the right people who contribute to a culture of creativity, collaboration and a shared purpose.



Sharing is caring!