Entrepreneur

The Entrepreneur: Seb Robert, Gophr

The Business

Describe your business model and what makes your business unique:

Our mission has been to reimagine same day delivery to make it work better for everyone involved; more efficient for businesses, more convenient for their customers, and more profitable for couriers. The delivery business, particularly last-mile, is still a people business. We created a platform that enables each courier to perform ‘better’, because better couriers deliver better outcomes.

We have built the Gophr business model around professional couriers and thinking about what we can do to make their lives easier. The quality of the courier is crucial; there is a perception that anyone with a car or a bike can be a courier, but that’s not the case and not who we work with.

We constantly ask ourselves, what tools can we provide that reduce the admin for our couriers and how can we add rocket fuel to enable them to be successful and access the kinds of business opportunities that would not be available to them if they were working alone. It’s taken a long time to crack this because managing the delivery process alone is highly complex, but we’re getting there.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

There are probably two: one is staying afloat and alive when so many other tech start-ups in the delivery space with way more funding than us have come and gone.

The other, which maybe sounds more ephemeral but has huge value, is the amount of knowledge we’ve gathered from being so operationally ‘close to the metal’ so to speak. The knowledge we’ve gathered is what will stand us apart for the coming years.

How did you fund your business?

We raised a seed round of £150k, then £350k and around 5 years after that we did another £500k, before doing our Series A of £4m at the start of 2021.

Not insignificant amounts of money but peanuts compared to some of the companies who we’ve competed against over the years.

One of our values is being resourceful so we’ve always aimed to be super capital efficient. It’s always been a low margin business so if you’re highly capitalised it can cause a few problems:

1. Money covers for a multitude of sins and bad habits within the business that become somewhat invisible and in aggregate stop it from ever becoming financially viable.
2. Taking big investment cheques comes with the inherent understanding that you need to grow fast, sometimes at all costs which takes you back to 1.

What numbers do you look at every day in your business?

Job numbers, revenue and Net promoter score (NPS).

To what extent does your business trade internationally?

Right now, zero.

Where would you like your business to be in five years?

It would be great to have turned the narrative around the current gig-economy platforms on its head and back to the idea we were all sold at the beginning of the emergence of the sharing economy. One of fairness and opportunity for all, and in Gophr’s case supporting our couriers to build their own rewarding businesses.

We’d want to be in a position where we have a presence on multiple continents and have become the partner of choice for similarly minded businesses wherever we happen to have a presence.

What software or technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

We’ve built everything from scratch for ourselves and that’s because we’ve built it directly from courier and customer feedback. It covers the gamut of enhanced package and behavioural data, more efficient routing strategies and gamified incentives.


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