Dubai-based last-mile delivery startup Fodel (Forward Delivery) has raised $2.6 million pre-Series A from different “prominent investors” including members from Saudi’s Al Rajhi family and Fedex’s former Senior VP Hamdi Osman, the startup announced today.
Founded last year by Soumia Benturquia, Fodel partners with merchant stores all across the United Arab Emirates to turn them into pick-up points for last mile delivery, providing them with an additional revenue stream and increasing their footfall. For ecommerce players, Fodel is offering an alternative to home delivery by utilizing the network of these pick-up points, enabling them to cut costs and provide same-day to next-day delivery to their customers who don’t have to worry about coordinating with the delivery drivers or being at home/office to receive their orders.
Ecommerce platforms using Fodel enable their customers to choose from different pick-up points at the time of order, track the delivery and collect their parcel whenever they like to after it arrives at the pick-up point. The customers also have an option to pay by cash on these pick-up points for their orders.
Soumia Benturquia, Founder & CEO of Fodel, said, “Delivery is the most stressful part of the online shopping experience. Customers have to change their schedule to be home to wait for the parcel, they usually get multiple calls from the drivers asking for directions, and in the worst cases, they miss their delivery and it gets postponed to another day. Fodel puts an end to the uncertainty associated with last mile delivery in the GCC by making the process simple and convenient.”
“Consumers can now select a store nearby like a grocery, pharmacy, laundry, or a gas station. Their products get delivered there and they can then pick it up whenever it’s most convenient, at any time they want. Also, all parcels are tracked in real-time, and customers have full visibility and control over their shipments,” she added.
The startup currently has a network of over 1,000 pick-up locations across all seven emirates and has some of region’s biggest ecommerce players including JollyChic use their services. Among it’s pick-up network partners, Fodel has names like Choithrams and Al Maya.
Hamdi Osman, Fedex’s former Senior Vice President for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Indian Sub-Continent, who joined the round, said, “Fodel will gradually transform the last mile delivery model for the entire logistics landscape in the GCC. Courier companies can use the expansive pick-up network of Fodel to deliver absolutely anything their customers need, and not just e-commerce parcels. Fodel’s disruptive technology and proven business model add great value at every step of the supply chain, while providing flexibility and peace of mind to the end-users of courier services.”
The startup plans to use a part of the investment to launch in Saudi where it has already secure 800 pick-up points.
“Fodel also empowers merchants to diversify their revenue stream and attract additional footfall at no extra cost. We provide the training and the technology, store owners have little to do to integrate. The solution is built on existing space and staff. No costs, all benefits for merchants,” the founder Soumia Benturquia noted.
Fodel’s solutions enable ecommerce and logistics providers to easily expand their delivery capacity, which could be a big advantage esp. during peak seasons.