CEO and co-founder, Bassel El Koussa, reveals all about Quiqup

Take a look at this delivery service business

We spoke to Bassel El Koussa, CEO and co-founder of Quiqup, to find out all about the delivery service the company has to offer. Maybe its something you could use?

Three reasons you should be watching them

  • Quiqup stands out from the crowd because we deliver across all verticals. This means that we will deliver anything from retailers of all sizes, ranging from large retail chains to smaller independent businesses on the high street.
  • We offer a range of services to our customers to make on-demand delivery as efficient and straightforward as possible. For example, our web app, Quiqdash, allows businesses to order a Quiqee immediately, and businesses can track the journey in real-time, to ensure their product gets delivered in good time. We also offer retail partnerships and API integration, allowing retailers to access our on-demand logistics infrastructure, either through our own app or on their own websites.
  • We work with a wide range of businesses across London, including fast food chains like Burger King, major hotels like Sheraton Park Lane Hotel, and premium grocery store chains like Whole Foods. We also partner with independent retailers ranging from florists to pharmacies, forming the basis of each partnership based on the individual business needs.

VITAL STATISTICS

  • Company: Quiqup
  • What it does, in a sentence: Quiqup offers on-demand delivery services to businesses of all sizes, as well as individual consumers
  • Founded: 2014, London
  • Founder/s: Bassel El Koussa (CEO), Federico Ferraro (Marketing and Communications), Danny Hawkins (CTO), Rami Idriss (Operations), Tim Linssen (Head of Product)
  • Size of team: 90+ and growing
  • Your name and role: Bassel El Koussa, CEO and co-founder

THE NEED-TO-KNOW

What problem are you trying to solve?
The demand for faster, cheaper and more efficient shopping and delivery experiences has soared over recent years. Shoppers today expect instant gratification, and this has been a real logistical problem for retailers, many of which have found it a challenge to keep up with the rapid pace of change in consumer behaviour.

Quiqup strives to make on-demand logistics available to the mass market, and we’ve tailored our technology to streamline our services to be as quick, economical and strategic as possible. Ultimately, we strive to create a more productive and proactive relationship between retailers and consumers, and to ease the flow of goods in urban areas.

How big is the market - and how much of it do you think you can own?
On-demand delivery will become increasingly important to the shopping habits of consumers this year, particularly in large urban areas. The rise of ecommerce services offered by big players such as Amazon have heightened customer expectations. The value of the UK Retail Market last year was over £340m, with internet sales making up over 12 per cent of that sum, demonstrating the incredible opportunities in this space.

Smaller retailers now appreciate the need to respond, and there’s been a surge in SMEs partnering with on-demand delivery firms, as businesses turn to digital technology and smarter thinking. We aim to become the market leader in London, and eventually to expand nationally, and want to become the first port of call for consumers and retailers alike.

How do you make money?
When we deliver goods to consumers, we charge them a fee for pickup and drop-off. This depends on the distance that our courier has travelled to make the delivery, and the option for business partners to subsidise, or indeed pay for entirely, these deliveries are also available. Partner pickups can cost as little as £1.50, with a custom pickup usually starting around £4.50.

Our app allows retailers to make the most of our on-demand logistics infrastructure and technology, and when a purchase is made via the app, we take a percentage of the value of the sale, via this platform.

For retailers, we charge a fee based on the distance and the amount of stops made on the journey. These businesses can then decide whether to set a fee to their customers to lessen some of the costs.

Who’s on your team that makes you think you can do this?
The founding team have known each other for years, having all left our previous jobs together in order to set up the business. We all bring different experiences, personalities and skills to the table, and work productively together to ensure that we can make Quiqup as successful and recognisable as possible.

Quiqup delivery

Source: Quiqup

Who’s bankrolling you?
We raised a Series A funding round in September 2015 from Delivery Hero and Global Founders Capital alongside private investors.

What advice would you give other entrepreneurs trying to secure that kind of finance?
There is no rule to how you raise funds. What is important is to focus on the type of investors that see a long term value in what you are trying to achieve and share your vision. You will get a lot of “no’s”, but you should focus on the few that say “yes” or are likely to. There are many sources of capital, so expand your reach and don’t get caught up in the traditional funding routes. Finally, stay optimistic and be resilient. It will not come to you overnight.

What do you believe the key to growing this business is?
At the moment, our business services offer the best potential for growth, currently accounting for over 40 per cent of our orders. We believe it’s crucial to focus on honing and improving this particular service in order to maximise our potential for growth.

Diversification is also key to growing our business. When we started out, takeaway orders accounted for 80 per cent of all our orders, but this has decreased over time to 65 per cent. We plan to remain committed to our goal of providing any product to consumers from retailers via on-demand delivery, and this cross-vertical approach will enhance our differentiation further.

What metrics do you look at every day?
Order volumes, new customers acquired, complaint rates, average order time and Quiqee recruitment rates.

What’s been the most unexpectedly valuable lesson you’ve learnt so far?
We’ve learnt how to manage the operational challenges that come with running a business in last mile delivery. We deliver anything, within any urban area, and to do this successfully in a place like London, whilst also trying to scale the business, has proven to be a highly complex process. Variables ranging from traffic jams to seasonal changes mean that we have to be prepared for any eventuality.

We’ve learnt how to deal more effectively with such obstacles, and, through experience, really appreciate the value in getting this right.

What’s been your biggest mistake so far?
Acquiring users is an obsession for startups in the early days as they are looking to grow to a point where they put themselves on the map and become relevant. This puts a lot of pressure on the tech and the operation. We end up focusing on building features that drive growth rather than stability. The key is to be able to strike a balance and not have yourself in a situation where you’re addressing technical debt. We have found ourselves in this situation once and it’s not pretty. However, this was one of our biggest learning experiences for how we think about developing our tech and growing the business. It gave us discipline in how we manage development cycles and how we choose our priorities.

 

Quiqup office

Source: Quiqup

What do you think is on the horizon for your industry in the year ahead?
The industry will become more competitive as the year progresses. With delivery giants like Amazon continuing to dominate, and companies such as Uber ramping up their diversification, the value of standing out in an increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace will become increasingly important.

In addition, what used to be a niche offering is now in high demand by more and more customers, so small businesses will need to access the previously unaffordable resources necessary to compete with e-commerce businesses. This will contribute to on-demand delivery becoming a mass market service in the year ahead, changing the business landscape as SMEs move to meet consumer demand, by partnering with companies like our own.

Which London start-up/s are you watching, and why?
Homie is a very early stage property startup that is disrupting the way we rent homes. They are making the experience of finding and renting a home pleasant. I have always thought that this is an area that needs a serious overhaul and Homie seem to be onto something.

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