There was a time when next-day delivery seemed rapid, but the race to speed up logistics is reaching fever pitch. Ecommerce king Amazon has obviously been in the vanguard, developing autonomous delivery drones and launching one-hour delivery in the City of London back in June, but smaller challengers have been keeping it on its toes.
British start-up Shutl, launched in 2008 (and since acquired by eBay), offered to deliver orders within 90 minutes, and others have followed hot on its heels. Today Quiqup (pronounced quick-up), which says it can deliver 'anything' within one hour, announced it has landed a 'multi-million' dollar Series A investment, which it will use to accelerate growth.
Where Quiqup differs from Shutl is that, as well as allowing you to buy from retailers and restaurants it has a partnership with, it also allows you to submit a custom order for something a little more unusual. Then its team of couriers (awkwardly named Quiqees) will go in search of what you're after and get it to you within 60 minutes. No longer will you have to hunt out an umbrella on an unexpectedly rainy day or pop out for that last minute gift you forgot to buy. Quiqup says it has fulfilled more than 100,000 orders since being launched this time last year.
The investment comes from Global Founders Capital (the investment fund of Germany's Rocket Internet) and Delivery Hero, which owns Just Eat competitor Hungryhouse. 'Our partnership with Quiqup will enable us to extend our key product, Hungryhouse Express, and ensure that Hungryhouse extends its already high growth in the UK market,' said Hungryhouse CEO Scott Fletcher.
At the moment Quiqup is just available in central London, and growing its reach further will be a big challenge. The density of both customers and retailers makes the capital easy picking for rapid logistics in a way that the Yorkshire Dales and deepest Cornwall simply aren't. It's a competitive market too – fellow start-up Jinn offers a similar service, while Deliveroo delivers food from mid to high-end restaurants. It seems there could be a lot of money to be made in speedy logistics.