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Relay raises £8m to bring ‘delivery into the ecommerce age’

Relay founders Nicole Mazza and Jonathan Jenssen Relay founders Nicole Mazza and Jonathan Jenssen. Image credit: Relay

A parcel delivery startup used by brands such as THG and JD Sports has secured $10m (£8m) in seed funding.

London-based Relay describes itself as an “end-to-end parcel delivery service” – meaning it transports goods from the first to last mile.

The service is currently live in London, with plans to use the funding boost to expand across the UK over the next year.

Last-mile delivery – transporting items to the final destination – is a competitive market. It includes established incumbents such as DPD and Royal Mail, along with newer players such as Hived.

Relay says it is improving efficiencies not just in this last mile, but through the entire delivery process. It has created software to match couriers to the most efficient route for multiple deliveries in real time.

“In Asia, delivery companies were built specifically for ecommerce – in Europe and the US, it was the exact opposite, with delivery companies built for a pre-internet world,” says Jonathan Jenssen, co-founder and CEO of Relay.

“Relay is bridging the gap between rapidly evolving ecommerce and old-school delivery.”

The B2B startup also claims it can reduce logistics overheads by using “hyper-local partners” in urban locations instead of suburban depots.

Investment firms Project A Ventures and Prologis Ventures led the seed funding round.

“The parcel delivery landscape remains rooted in the pre-digital era,” said Philipp Werner, partner at Project A.

“It’s time for a delivery solution built for the ecommerce age. We believe this can only be achieved by addressing the entire value chain, rather than just innovating the ‘last mile’.”

In a move away from many gig economy delivery roles, Relay said it classes its couriers as workers, which entitles them to sick and holiday pay.