The freight industry around the world is seeing the emergence of startups looking to digitize logistics processes involved in finding and hauling loads. iCanDeliver is one such startup. Founded in Russia, it is expanding across Western Europe by providing a digital freight marketplace platform where shippers and carriers can interact real-time.
“When people ask me to describe iCanDeliver, I say it’s the Uber of transportation with a B2B business model. We work only with full truckloads - our service is about big trucks hauling from point A to point B,” says Danil Rudakov, co-founder. “We take full responsibility for the cargo, the logistics process, and even the legal and financial aspects of freight hauling - unlike a classical marketplace where people make orders and the service that follows turns out to be incompetent.”
Rudakov has been involved in the logistics and supply chain industry all his life. “I was the head of the supply chain at Ravago Group, a distribution company based in Europe. During my time there, I realized that logistics is still stuck in the Stone Age,” he explains. “Freight goes through a lot of intermediaries and agents, and the processes are done manually. That was the reason I decided to start iCanDeliver.”
Though there is a lot of competition in Europe over digital freight marketplaces, Rudakov does not think it is a significant problem since the market to be addressed is huge. Also, he contends that the European market is a lot more conducive to technology in logistics than Russia. “And because we have been doing this for four years in Russia, we have a lot of experience with our product which is easy to roll out immediately, giving us an advantage over our competitors.”
The USP of iCanDeliver lies in it taking a 360-degree responsibility towards the load being hauled - be it damages, cargo loss, delivery delays, or legal issues that could crop up with a poor association. “People find it hard to work with someone over the internet, because goods in a truck cost a 100,000 euros on average. We tell them that when they come over to the website and press the button, we take full responsibility,” adds Rudakov.
The biggest challenge for the startup though comes from the skeptical views that people in the logistics sector hold towards technology - especially in Russia. “People find it difficult to change, as they are still conservative in their approach to business. Apart from this, another big challenge is that the cost of making a mistake here is huge,” contends Rudakov. “At the end of the day, we have customers who come to us for one or two deliveries, after which they begin to believe our system and work with us regularly.”
iCanDeliver’s mantra to create more traction is about taking their service level up a notch. “Imagine Coca-Cola gives us 100 orders. And to deliver at 100% service level, we need to find them 100 trucks. However, if we give them only 70 trucks, that is 70% service level,” explains Rudakov. “We are trying to raise the service level day by day and this is our main goal. From the client’s point of view this is an essential KPI of any kind of transportation service.”
Apart from working on improving service levels, the startup also strives to provide instantaneous confirmation to shippers for freight hauling. To make sure there is a ready availability of trucks, the company puts in a lot of thought before expanding to different geographies. “In logistics, there is always a problem with balancing between supply and demand. So we did not want to spread all over Europe right at the beginning,” concludes Rudakov.
Founded in Moscow, iCanDeliver now works in the Netherlands and has raised a seed funding of $8 million last year. The company is looking to build on its clients in Western Europe before expanding further inward.
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