Make way for Delivery Bros. This startup wants to solve logistics challenges across Africa, one city at a time.
Delivery Bros is an on-demand delivery and retail fulfillment company, optimizing smart and intelligent technology to provide pick-up and drop-off options for individuals, SMEs, ecommerce companies and large corporations. Though based in Nigeria and presently operating in the Lagos and Abuja markets for now, this startup is on a mission to solve logistics problems across Africa, one city at a time, by offering real-time and on-demand delivery services, enabled by cutting-edge technology.
When Delivery Bros was launched in December 2015, some motorbikes were procured by the startup to enhance the quick delivery of items for its customers, but it no longer owns motorbikes, as nowadays, Delivery Bros is more like an Uber of sorts, with over 70 dispatch bikes owned by high network individuals and organizations who have signed up on its platform.
The four cofounders of Delivery Bros are good friends. First, Adaora Nweje, Bolaji Brand, and Abiodun Animashaun were colleagues at an edtech startup, Pass.ng. The fourth cofounder, Moses Awolowo, joined the first three after the trio left Pass.ng to cofound Delivery Bros.
Adaora who is Delivery Bros’ CEO told Outrepreneurs as co-founders, their friendship has been of immense value, especially in the face of difficulties. “It is easy to dream as an entrepreneur, but it is another thing to actualize your dreams,” she said.
“When we started, we actually went into buying motorbikes. The problems we had with the riders taught us a lot of lessons. At times, policemen would arrest them for flouting traffic rules. Stuff like that can really beat you down and make you ask if entrepreneurship is your thing.
“It is really helpful when your team members are also your friends. Sometimes, you might not really feel good when the challenges come, but they are there to pick you up.”
Starting out, the cofounders had put their savings together and raised money from friends and families. They studied the industry and captured numbers in detail. Two months afterwards, there was widespread fuel scarcity in Nigeria and to keep their motorbikes on the road, the startup had to buy fuel for its motorbikes from the black market at almost 300% the official pump price. The federal government later made an official announcement increasing the price of fuel. This almost affected the running of the business, adversely, but their determination to keep going helped them weather the storm.
Abiodun narrated their experience this way: “It is like you want to dive into an ocean, but you don’t know how deep it is, even though somebody tells you it is like a thousand meters deep. You don’t know how deep it is, until you get your feet into it. When we started, one of the problems we encountered was not being able to control the policy of the country you are running your business from.
“Two months after we launched out, the federal government just raised the pump price of fuel. At first, there was fuel scarcity and we had to get fuel at 300% the rate we were getting it before then. At the end of the day, there was increase in fuel price. We were just two months in business. All our numbers were around old figures; things just went the other way round. We had to go back to the drawing board and do our numbers again.”
According to Abiodun, the organization has been able to leverage operations and derive a strategic advantage by deploying technology to drive its day-to-day activities.
Accoding to him, “We are not just a logistics company. We are more of a technology company considering the fact that we have a superb team with experience across HR, retail, marketing and technology. When we started the business and after getting the bikes, one of the things we had to invest in was technology.
“We had to build more, our matching algorithm which connects you to the nearest dispatch location. You real-time track the movement of your items all around the city. There is auto-matching, where you get connected in like less than maybe 45 minutes to the nearest dispatch rider within the location, irrespective of where you are in Lagos. You can rate our dispatch, there is feedback communication and our support line is open almost 24/7. At the click of a button, you can always be connected to dispatch personnel to move things around from phones to electronics.”
Delivery Bros has been fortunate to receive some grants (for instance, from She Leads Africa). It is also making profits and acquiring new customers, but it is yet to get external funding from venture capitalists. “We are open to investments and have been talking to some investors, but building the business is more paramount,” added Abiodun.
For Adaora, once the company does not deviate from its core mission of providing solutions to logistics problems across Africa, other things, including revenue, will naturally follow.
She also hinted there are plans to drive scalability and expansion of the startup. One of such plans is the launch of an app which should make things easier for customers using the platform.
Deji Aroloye48 Posts
a graduate of Linguistics and a staff writer at Outrepreneurs, Deji's forte includes tech, startups and innovations. Years back, Deji wrote on Entertainment and Lifestyle for a tabloid. If he wasn't a writer, Deji would be a photographer or teacher.