Smartphone couriers sate appetite for speedy delivery services

CarPal was featured in Kyodo News, Japan’s leading news network. “The resource which is used for that is basically sharing. You have a lot of cars and bikes already out there, so if you’re going from A to B, why not take a package along?” said Maarten Hemmes, CarPal’s 29-year-old founder and CEO.

By Siti Rahil
SINGAPORE, June 15, Kyodo

Thousands in Singapore have recently signed up to become freelance or part-time couriers, collecting and delivering parcels for on-demand delivery companies that have sprouted up in the wealthy city-state in the past year.

These new courier companies employ high-tech platforms they have developed that can be accessed on smartphones, linking up clients’ orders for delivery services with the couriers, who can accept assignments using their phones.

They have attracted a huge pool of freelance or part-time couriers, usually those who own cars, vans or motorbikes and who are keen to earn some extra income as couriers while holding full-time jobs elsewhere.

Although the concept is new in Singapore and elsewhere in Asia, it has already become so popular that these companies are planning to expand their business to other cities in the region within months of launching the businesses.

The demand is fed by decades of strong economic growth in Southeast Asia which has created a faster pace of life in the region’s bustling cities, made consumers more sophisticated and led to the success of e-commerce. Yet logistics services in most cities in the region can still be improved.

“If you look at Southeast Asia, there are no strong logistics networks that are equivalent to the logistics network in the U.S., for example, from technology, quality of service and so on, and the logistics structure is very highly fragmented,” said Noam Berda, the founder of RocketUncle.

His colleague Sumit Mathai added, “What we find (is that) Southeast Asia is behind. Even in the big cities, there is still no same day delivery service that is available.”

RocketUncle, which describes itself on its website as “Singapore’s guaranteed same day delivery” service, has about 5,000 people who have recently signed up as freelance or part-time couriers.

Another on-demand delivery company, CarPal, which touts itself on its website as “your personal same-day delivery courier,” has about 3,000.

One of them is Tino Leong, 36, who runs a valet business at night. Leong had registered to work as a part-time courier with CarPal six months ago and has since been zipping about in his Mitsubishi Colt, delivering a variety of items such as flowers, cakes and fruit juices for CarPal’s clients.

One Sunday night last month, he got a beep on his mobile phone and responded to a job order to collect and deliver about half a dozen bottles of fresh fruit juices from the eastern part of Singapore before 9 a.m. the next day. That job took just 30 minutes and earned him S$16 (US$11.8).

“The resource which is used for that is basically sharing. You have a lot of cars and bikes already out there, so if you’re going from A to B, why not take a package along?” said Maarten Hemmes, CarPal’s 29-year-old founder and CEO.

“We use people like you and me who have their own car, and take something along while they drive, so we have more resources. This also means we can dispatch a driver (at the) very last minute, so we can have more volume.”

The Dutchman, a former lawyer in Amsterdam, said he got the idea to start the company after seeing with his own eyes an on-demand delivery service in action in San Francisco.

However, as this kind of service seemed to be already “mature” in the United States, he started exploring for opportunities in Asia.

“In Asia there are many countries where I believe I can apply this model, but Singapore is by far the most business-friendly country and Singaporeans are very open to try new things,” he said.

He arrived in Singapore in May last year and launched the company soon after. The company has been growing by leaps and bounds — about 20 percent each month — in the past year.

He believes he can apply the business model to other busy Asian cities like Taipei, Manila and Kuala Lumpur.

“People want things faster than they used to want in the past,” he said, explaining the demand for this kind of service.

The part-time or freelance couriers — who already have other jobs such as sales or insurance, real estate agents or cab drivers — tend to be aged between 30 and 60. There are also a lot of retirees. Most are locals and men, Hemmes said.

RocketUncle is focusing on expanding in Southeast Asia this year, in particular the Philippines.

“We will start to offer services in metro Manila soon, and then obviously go to other cities in Southeast Asia,” Berda said.

Muhammad Syahid Sarifi, 23, who delivers parcels five days a week for RocketUncle with his motorbike, says he can earn about S$1,500 to S$1,700 per week.

Syahid who has just finished his national service and has not found a full-time job yet, said the courier job with RocketUncle appeals to him at the moment as “it’s very, very flexible, I can choose my own working hours, I don’t have to take instruction from anyone and I can be my own boss.”

Angeline Tan, 57, joined RocketUncle last year after being retrenched from her sales job in 2013.

She was jittery at first about having to use the app provided by RocketUncle on her smartphone but now finds it addictive.

“It’s really very high-tech, all in the handphone. You just tap and pick up the job,” said Tan who drives her seven-seater multipurpose van all over the island delivering parcels five days a week.

“You have to be very fast to pick up the job. Sometimes in the middle of the night I also check my phone to see if any job comes in. The orders just keep flowing in.”


CarPal summer update 2015 

Summer is coming up, we are in business for about one year now and we feel it is time for another update on our delivery service.CarPal has been growing great in Singapore and we’d love to share our plans with you.

A Growing Fleet

Over the past few months we have seen an increased amount of drivers applying to be a CarPal. The Straits Times featured CarPal in a nice article on what it means to be a CarPal driver.

As a result we received over 2000 applications and we are going through all of them. Please hold on if you haven’t heard from us yet, note that we will get back to each and everyone of you.

New Features

Service for smaller items
As we saw a great demand for shipping items that weigh less than 3kg, we have decided to unlock this.
Shipping an item that weighs less than 3kg starts at 10 SGD for a delivery within 4 or 1 hour(s). (How do I place an order?)

Build your fleet of preferred drivers
Starting from tomorrow, our corporate accounts will have the opportunity to build their own fleet of drivers. Jobs will be offered to your preferred drivers first before they go to the general group.

Start rating your drivers
All customers will start receiving daily opportunities to rate their CarPal drivers. A not-so-good rating will lead to action on our end. A great rating will lead to a better ranking for the driver, which will give the driver the opportunity to take more jobs.

Integrate CarPal in to your mobile app or website
Our API is now available. We are unlocking thousands of vehicles that you can simply access by integrating our system into your own mobile app or website.Ask us if you are interested, we can provide both business and technical consultancy!

What about the response time?
The average job get’s picked up under 30 seconds. This means that your CarPal can be at the collection point within 30-60 minutes after you have placed the order.

A Growing Team

We are looking for rockstars and superheroes that can help us change the way we move around items and goods in cities. Check out the career opportunities.

And More To Come..

We will also keep you posted on how we will unlock CarPal in other cities soon too! First Singapore and then the world.

Car owners moonlight as delivery drivers

“The idea is that when you are going from point A to B for your work or any other reason, why not take a package along? From a couple of cars in a courier company’s fleet, we are expanding our resources to millions of people who have a vehicle.”

The Dutchman launched CarPal here last May. About eight in 10 of his orders involve perishables and fresh items, likes flowers, cakes, juices and food.

Read more..

Lawyer-turned-entrepreneur wants to change the way goods are moved around locally

It is an urban logistics and on-demand delivery service that delivers goods from any office, restaurant or store in the city.

In 2008, Maarten Hemmes was managing his own law firm in the Netherlands. Six years later, in May 2014, he started CarPal Singapore, a logistics delivery platform, with an aim to make delivery cheaper and more efficient for businesses.

So what triggered a self-made legal eagle boss to switch from litigating cases to, literally, delivering physical ones?

The Making of CarPal – Behind The Scenes

In May 2014, Maarten moved to Singapore where he singlehandedly built CarPal Singapore, an urban logistics and on-demand delivery platform which delivers goods from any office, restaurant or store in the city.

Maarten Hemmes is not a first time entrepreneur. Born in Amsterdam, he pursued a degree in law and upon graduation, joined a law firm. After nine months, he decided to set up his own with a partner. Together, they built up their reputation quickly and started acquiring their own clients.

While helming his law firm, Maarten advised many entrepreneurs on legal matters. One day, he had an epiphany. He realised that he was on the wrong side of the table ­— he wanted to be an entrepreneur himself. And this realisation was not unfounded. Maarten has a unique hobby — software development. Even while practising law, he kept himself updated with technology-related news and constantly improved his software development skills. His consultations with clients in tech startups also proved to be of considerable help.

Transport startup CarPal helps merchants deliver 18 hours a day

A delivery is but a few cursor clicks away, say local merchants, clients of three-month old transport startup CarPal.

Today, the company has a fleet of 100 drivers, and services clients including various well-known bakeries and confectionaries like Twelve Cupcakes, Little House of Dreams and Goobycakes. Additionally, it also serves non-food companies like local app company Pixaroll’s customised gift e-commerce platform Poppin Prints and curated dining and catering provider Clubvivre.

As a logistics startup, CarPal needs to be around even when most of its peers are asleep. It operates 18 hours a day (6 AM to midnight) every day. This is especially important since merchants might need to run last-minute same-day deliveries.

Read more..

Newly Launched CarPal Wants To Be Your Personal Same-Day Delivery Courier in S’pore!

Newly Launched CarPal Wants To Be Your Personal Same-Day Delivery Courier in S’pore! Due to the proliferation of online shopping sites and product delivery platforms in Singapore, there’s increasingly a demand for an improved logistics and delivery service in the country. Everyone who has shopped online or has ordered something to be delivered would desire the products to arrive at their doorsteps within the same day itself.

With more and more online shoppers setting up their shops in Singapore, CarPal certainly provides an alternative delivery option for these businesses. While logistics is a big challenge for many companies, if CarPal manages to get it right, it might just be the next big brand to watch out for in Singapore.

Read more..