French start-up Pickme has raised a $3.7 million (€3.5 million) funding round to build a network of new pick-up and drop-off points for e-commerce retailers and logistics companies . With Pickme, customers can place an order and have their neighbor pick up the package in person. That’s what many have done, but with a more formal relationship. The customer can then receive the package after they have time.
OneRagtime is leading the funding round with Founders Future, FrenchFounders, Kima Ventures and several business angels participating.
If you’re usually away from home during the day, chances are you’ll get a lot of missed delivery notifications. That’s why many people choose to have their packages delivered to a pickup point near their home.
Pick-up points tend to be general stores that want to increase sales by becoming small logistics hubs. Popular pickup point carriers in France include Mondial Relay, Relais Colis and La Poste’s Pickup division. Some of them also operate automatic lockers.
These networks have thrived for many reasons. In addition to the growing volume of online orders, peer-to-peer marketplaces like Vinted, eBay, and Leboncoin are also doing well.
The pick-up location can also act as a drop-off point. Shippers can collect outgoing packages when they deliver some packages. In addition, the use of pickup points reduces CO2 emissions because deliveries are shorter and more efficient.
Pickme wanted to offer a third way. Instead of choosing between home delivery and a regular pick-up point, they can choose to have their package delivered to a neighbor’s house.
To date, 96,000 people have created Pickme accounts and the startup has signed partnerships with DHL, GLS, Colissimo and Geodis. Individuals decide when they are at home so they can process packages. They can also define a maximum package limit depending on the size of their house — for example, it could be 25 packs or 50 packs.
When the customer receives a package, the neighbor will receive a small amount of money (under 1 € per package). Currently, Pickme processes 30,000 packages per month. It competes with welcomeanother startup with similar positioning.
In crowded urban areas, there are already many retail stores that act as pick-up points. But startups like Pickme and Welco may be more useful in rural areas, where there are fewer stores. Currently, 30% of Pickme’s network members live in the countryside.