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Contxto – Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, ride-hailing platforms like Uber and Didi are practically at a standstill.
Meanwhile, last-mile delivery and logistics enterprises are busier than ever. And in Colombia, Picap—a startup that initially launched as a motorcycle-taxi service—is rolling out a solution to make the most of these extraordinary circumstances.
For over the last year, it’s been busy developing another lineup of products to bring efficiency into logistics, while making the most of its pre-existing infrastructure.
The startup’s ace in the hole is Pibox Enterprise, a software product to help businesses, large or small, add a touch of tech to their own delivery services.
Picap’s Héctor Neira (co-Founder/CFO) and Andrea Lucero (Pibox Project Manager) recently shared with Contxto the new direction the startup is taking and how it will help reshape logistics in Latin America.
Making the most of what you have
Picap had faced a series of obstacles with regulators in Colombia and abroad regarding its ride-hailing platform on motorcycles. So, while simultaneously offering this service in 2019, it turned to the drawing board (of Post Its probably) to figure out what else it could achieve.
“We started researching little over a year ago trying to find a way to maximize our fleet that during peak hours transported passengers,” said Lucero over our phone call. “[And] we saw an opportunity to use that fleet for courier services.”
So emerged Pibox, a parcel delivery platform that was well-received even before the coronavirus outbreak.
- Related article: Picap picks up the pace, launches 2 new services in Mexico
“Prior to the pandemic, we were growing an average 30 percent month-over-month,” explained Pibox’s Project Manager. This was largely explained by Latam’s steady embrace of e-commerce.
However, once Covid-19 came along, operations at Pibox picked up even further. The startup reports its logistics service has been growing above 57 percent month-over-month throughout the contingency.
And that’s all fine and dandy, right? But it’s not anything new under the sun. However, now the startup is taking things a step further with its new line of business.
Pibox, logistics software for anyone
“We essentially have a normal courier service which can be done by Mensajeros Urbanos, or any company,” noted Picap’s CFO. “And what we’re seeing and doing is evolving our service to be more business-oriented.”
For the startup, that means building software that can match and integrate with a company’s own delivery system’s needs. This new product, Pibox Enterprise, would especially help businesses who already have their own delivery fleet, but lack the technology to coordinate these couriers.
This product would address many needs in logistics through tracking and management features, for example. The ultimate goal is to make Pibox Enterprise the only tech platform businesses require to oversee their deliveries.
Because the product is made to be flexible, the startup has already lined up some strategic partners such as Mercado Libre and Linio—an e-commerce platform from Colombia. These alliances have also served as a vote of confidence for other platforms in Latin America to seek Pibox Enterprise.
Plus, there’s a lot of scalability behind the software.
“Nowadays with our integration—and that’s the cool thing about technology—it’s possible to replicate it wherever you go,” explained Lucero. “If Mercado Libre wants to deploy it in Ecuador, Guatemala, or any country it wants, we’re ready to do it with our tech.”
Rightly so, logistics’ pain points are similar among Latam countries: disjointed and with poor visibility.
In that sense, Pibox Enterprise wants to be an all-encompassing solution that can be easily adopted.
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Why you should go big
By buddying up with platforms like Mercado Libre and Linio, Pibox made a lot of headway. Besides, gaining a vote of confidence to approach smaller e-commerce sites, the startup learned and perfected its product. And that’s because these larger players offered feedback on the logistics problems they faced. Then Pibox went on and tweaked its software accordingly.
Indeed, a startup can have a kickass team and product, but it’s equally important to partner up with the right people.
So be brave, and go big with those partnerships.
Related articles: Tech and startups from Colombia!