French startup Choose me has raised a $3.7 million (€3.5 million) funding round to build a new network of collection and delivery points for e-commerce retailers and logistics companies. With Pickme, a customer can order something and have his neighbor receive the package immediately. It’s something many people already do, but with a more formal relationship. Customers can then pick up the package later if they have time.
OneRagtime is leading the funding round with Founders Future, FrenchFounders, Kima Ventures and several business angels.
If you aren’t home most of the time during the day, chances are you get a lot of missed delivery notifications. That is why many people choose to have their parcels delivered to a collection point near them.
Collection points are usually regular stores that want to increase their sales by becoming small logistics hubs. Popular pick-up point carriers in France include Mondial Relay, Relais Colis and La Poste’s Pickup division. Some of them also have automated lockers.
These networks are thriving for several reasons. In addition to a growing number of online orders, peer-to-peer marketplaces such as Vinted, eBay and Leboncoin are also doing well.
Pickup locations can also act as drop-off points. Delivery drivers can pick up outgoing packages while dropping off some packages. As a bonus, using collection points reduces CO2 emissions because delivery journeys are shorter and more efficient.
Pickme wants to offer a third way. Instead of choosing between home delivery and a regular pick-up point, they could choose to have their parcel delivered to their neighbours’ homes.
So far, 96,000 people have created a Pickme account and the startup has signed partnerships with DHL, GLS, Colissimo and Geodis. Individuals decide when they are at home so they can handle parcels. They can also define a maximum limit of packs depending on the size of their home – this could be 25 packs or 50 packs for example.
If a customer picks up a package, the neighbor receives pocket money (less than € 1 per package). Pickme currently processes 30,000 parcels per month. It competes with welcoanother startup with a similar positioning.
In densely populated urban areas, there are already enough stores that act as collection points. But startups like Pickme and Welco could be more useful in rural areas where there are fewer stores. Currently, 30% of Pickme’s network members live in rural areas.
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