Below is our recent interview with Seb Robert, CEO & Founder of Gophr:
Q: Gophr was founded in 2014, could you tell us the Gophr story?
A: I’ll give you the short version. I spent my career previous to this working in the music and media industries. They both used courier services quite a bit, and the experience was patchy at bost. At the time I worked in those industries they were being heavily disrupted by digital platforms – music through peer to peer file sharing, and media by YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I figured it was worth trying to fix the courier industry with a digital platform approach.
I had the idea in 2013, got the seed funding in 2014 and got the service live in 2015, and here we are six years later still making improvements.
Q: How can your technology help businesses and couriers?
A: Well, sending a package from A to B is more complicated than you’d imagine. How you execute on the business side can depend on industry sector expectations, the service the customer needs, the time they need it by, the consignment size and characteristics, even the type of background and skillset the courier has.
How you execute for the courier depends on what vehicle, equipment, work preferences, skill set, price of the job, time to do it etc … while taking into account any current pickups and drops and the space they might have left on their vehicle to actually take the work on.
What our technology does is take all these factors into account in order to find the most optimal solution for both sides. Then we try and cement that relationship between both parties.
Q: You’ve recently raised £4 Million in Series A funding; can you tell us something more?
A: I think the main thing to say in relation to the funding is that – right from the very beginning of having the idea in 2013 – we’ve been obsessive about researching how to actually solve this problem for customers and couriers of all shapes and sizes, taking into account the widest range of needs possible.
Trying to build a platform that solves these problems isn’t as easy as getting a bunch of people who’ve worked in the industry before to tell you how to do it. It’s an industry that is still manually executed in many cases – that is to say, dispatchers send couriers out on jobs. Often, the skills are held by people, not ingrained in process – and their skills are deeply ingrained in their subconscious or muscle memory or whatever. That process of making the decisions is not formalised, or even easy to articulate.
Getting to the bottom of that takes time, and it’s time worth taking because once you’ve scaled the platform across multiple territories it gets harder to go back and fix things. Like building an annex halfway up a skyscraper.
We’ve taken a more pragmatic and sustainable approach compared with others in the space. So we were already profitable when we raised, which for us proves that our approach is long term viable.. And £4m is more than enough to deliver on our objectives at this stage.
Q: What’s the best thing about Gophr that people might not know about?
A: We’ve always put the courier at the centre of everything we do. Happy couriers lead to happy customers. There may be a day when robots will deliver everything but we still think that’s a ways off. In the meantime we’re interested in taking care of people. That means couriers, customers and employees.
Q: What can we expect from you in 2021? What are your plans?
A: Right now we’re in planning mode. We’re getting a huge amount of inbound requests from all sorts of very exciting customers and we’re focusing on executing as well as possible straight out of the gate.
The top priorities for this year are making Gophr sector famous for great delivery, and realising the long-term vision for the product roadmap, whilst still meeting the needs of current and new customers through our work every day.