My Week: Jay Bregman of eCourier

The technology entrepreneur on a new marketing trick, seeking new challenges - and saving lives...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I get up around 6.30 every day and I try to get to the office by 8.15 to 8.30. That's just where the commute begins – I spend a fair amount of my week travelling across London to attend client meetings. My role is now quite client facing – a lot of the things I do are evangelistic sales and marketing. Right now, driving sales is the number one priority, so despite the fact I’m the CTO, I’ve shifted my focus slightly towards helping out with sales and marketing. We are still constantly developing the technology, but we now have internal resources so I don’t have to do as much day-to-day management of that.

As part of our sales and marketing drive, we are considering hiring a copywriter to help us shore up our website. We used to enlist the help of an external PR company, but we’ve moved it all in-house now for the simple reason that it wasn’t cost-effective. We’re significantly well-known to high-profile journalists and we get contacted about stories a fair bit, so we don’t really have that need for PR.

Marketing, however, is a different matter. This week we have been working on a promotion where the eCourier drivers are given marketing material that they drop with the package, and then we'll track back any clients that sign up to an account as a result. The drivers will get some kind of incentive, so it basically gets them bought into selling the service to the client. We’re also working with a great new design firm. I remain very impressed with what people are able to do with our brand – it’s very strong, which makes it very easy for talented people to pick up on and to develop really innovative marketing pitches based on it. That still really excites me.

I have been talking to the NHS in the past couple of days about an idea I’ve had for a new product called 'Flu Buddy'. I was sick a couple of weeks ago, and I was talking to the doctor about what happens if you don’t have a friend to pick up Tamiflu for you. As a result I came up with the idea of launching Flu Buddy – a service where we'd take your details and reference number, get the medication and post it through your letterbox, so our couriers don’t have contact with the infected person. So it could see us saving lives in addition to making deliveries. Depending on how bad the pandemic becomes, who knows how important this service could become to the health of the nation.

I continue to learn a huge amount and I enjoy imparting this knowledge to others. Last week I spoke to my entrepreneurship course at LSE. When I did the course I said to myself, I’m going to be the guy who comes back and speak to the class. And I’ve managed to do that: I go back every year to speak to the class students and offer help or advice to those who want to start businesses.

Another way of putting my technology and logistics skills to good use is by getting a lot more involved in advisory and non-executive director roles. For example, this week I also had a meeting with two young entrepreneurs who I’d heard were starting an innovative new business. I wouldn’t say I’m taking a backwards step from eCourier, I'm just broadening my horizons. What’s really interesting about working with other businesses is that it gives you unique perspective into the challenges and issues that your own businesses face. And so I personally find it extremely valuable, as do the people I work with.

Jay Bregman is the founder and CTO of eCourier – a London-based courier company which uses innovative GPS  technology to provide a faster, better service. Bregman and co-founder Tom Allason originally came up with the idea for the business after becoming disenchanted with courier companies in the UK.

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