13th June 2016

Reducing air pollution in London one bike at a time

Nicholas Lawrence

Congestion from delivery vehicles rose 3.4 percent from 2008 to 2014, driving pollution levels past EU limits. Plus, more than 60 percent of the delivery vans on the streets are less than a quarter full, according to Transport for London, the city authority governing streets and railways. Source from Automotive News Europe.

Pedals Delivery is a fully green, affordable, on-demand bicycle service for London who were recently picked as one of Geovation’s top three startup companies to join this years Programme along with two other startups, Shipamax and Podaris. From as little as £6.70, customers can hire cyclists for bespoke distribution of goods by simply inputting a pick-up location, drop-off destination and precise time slot; no pre-booking required. Pedals already works with some of London’s most exciting startups including healthy snack producer Pip & Nut, miracle hangover cure Ohaya Tomorrow and luxury bicycle gear producer, Apidura.

One of Pedals Delivery's cyclists

Since the launch of the Programme in May, Pedals have been researching into potential ideas, opportunities and issues. We got a chance to speak to Richa, founder of Pedals Delivery about her idea, the biggest challenges she’s faced so far, some of the most exciting things that have happened since the launch and what the future looks like for Pedals.

 What inspired you to start Pedals Delivery? 

Petal & Cycle is the first company that I started from scratch. I knew nothing about the flower business going in, and quickly discovered how difficult it was for new startups to get their products around the city in an environmentally friendly, affordable way. In order to run a consistent, eco-conscious service, I had to hire a cyclist to be on staff full time which was inefficient when I was in the process of ramping up sales as orders were sparse. Pedals was set up as a way to provide companies with flexible and affordable way to be eco-friendly. 

What have been some of the most exciting moments since starting Pedals and joining the Programme? 

Everyone that we’ve worked with so far has been great at helping us spread the word. The first time we got a delivery request in from a referral left us feeling brilliant! We knew then that we had a service that people were talking about and thought was worth recommending. That was a great feeling! Getting into the Geovation Programme validated our idea even further and gave us access to a really well rounded team of people excited to get stick in and help us. 

It’s always been challenging to keep a handle on everything as we grow. We are constantly trying to deal with the day to day issues that arise as well as steering the company in the overall correct direction strategically. We’ve recently decided to take someone else on in a business capacity to help us handle the general day to day running.

 What plans does Pedals have for the next year on the Programme? 

Building out: API to make us an option to checkout on consumser facing websites. We face many decisions with regards to the best architecture to use when building out our API, so having a team of experienced engineers to discuss these issues with will be really valuable for us. 

Apps: Another great project that the Geovation Team will find interesting. Mainly its becoming increasingly expansive to use the Google Maps API to track fastest, most optimul route for our miltiple deliveries option, so it would be good to find another innovative way to do so using some of the resources available through the organisation. 

Ian and Richa, Founders of Pedals Delivery

What are you working on at the moment? 

Merging the two products to make it even more seamless for customers.

Currently, we allow the customer to decide upfront how many hours they require a cyclist and the final cost can go in either diection depending on how long it takes. Lots of room for error here though, from both customer and the cyclist. We can eliminate this by deciding route and cost up front for multiple deliveries. 

As it stands, cyclist get paid by the hour (£11) or per delivery (between £5 and £24) and customers pay per delivery. (£6.70 and £32) or by the hour (£15). Eventually, once the volumes of deliveries go up we can batch up deliveries going in the same direction at the same time and then reduce costs even further for the customer. We are looking for clever ways to make this as seamless for the cyclist too, allowing them to fit in the deliveries around their daily lives. 

 

www.pedals-delivery.com

More Programme blog posts coming soon. 

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