DPD develops new start-up hub for delivery industry

A new start-up accelerator is given innovative delivery companies an opportunity to access £100,000 in funding and gain mentoring from industry entrepreneurs.

UK parcel delivery provider DPD and technology investment fund L Marks have teamed up to create 'Last Mile Labs', which has the goal of investing in technologies that will help secure the future of the delivery industry.  

The hub is open to early and growth stage start-ups, and ten teams will be chosen to join an eight-week programme starting in April 2015. Each selected business will receive mentoring from industry entrepreneurs, including L Marks chairman Stuart Marks, who played an integral role in the recent John Lewis JLAB technology incubator scheme.

Those involved in the accelerator programme have been promised "unparalleled access" to DPD data, £12,500 in initial funding and access to £100,000 long-term funding.

"Last Mile Labs is an initiative that will invest in the 'science of delivery', working with start-ups in early and growth stages to provide customers with the best possible service for years to come," explained Marks.

"We're not looking for qualifications or creating hoops to jump through. Last Mile Labs is open to anybody who has a great idea. If you have a solution that can save money, drive efficiencies, enhance the customer experience, or maybe something that we haven't thought about that can take this business to the next level, then we want to hear from you."

DPD and L Marks are seeking innovations in the following areas: delivery experience; use of data to improve communication between drivers and receivers; and operational efficiency. Last Mile Labs is also looking for wild card entries that enhance the last mile of the delivery process in ways different to the above.

A joint statement from the companies running the scheme said that the new initiative comes at a time when the rise in UK online retail sales "shows no signs of abating" and during a period of increased pressure on parcel delivery companies in light of the recent City Link administration and widespread delivery delays over the Christmas period.

City Link administrator Ernst & Young this week announced 230 further redundancies at the delivery firm, following on from the New Year's Eve revelation of 2,356 redundancies across the company's UK sites. The news comes after the business's collapse on Christmas Eve.

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