Last mile tech start-up FODEL aims to solve GCC’s parcel delivery problems

FODEL offers a network of pick-up locations as an alternative to home delivery, enabling customers to receive orders when it suits them.
Soumia Benturquia (right) with Hamdi Osman.
Soumia Benturquia (right) with Hamdi Osman.

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Last mile delivery tech start-up FODEL has launched its operations in the UAE to provide a better solution to the delivery problems faced by online shoppers, e-commerce and logistics companies.

FODEL’s proprietary technology gives customers the option to collect their parcels any time they want, from a location most convenient to them, putting an end to the endless waiting windows consumers have to endure in expectation of their deliveries.

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“Delivery is the most stressful part of the online shopping experience,” said Soumia Benturquia, founder & CEO of FODEL. “Customers have to change their schedule to be home to wait for the parcel, they usually get multiple calls from the drivers asking for directions, and in the worst cases, they miss their delivery and it gets postponed to another day.”

“FODEL puts an end to the uncertainty associated with last mile delivery in the GCC by making the process simple and convenient,” Benturquia adds. “Consumers can now select a store nearby like a grocery, pharmacy, laundry, or a gas station. Their products gets delivered there and they can then pick it up whenever it’s most convenient, at any time they want.”

This is made possible thanks to FODEL’s fast-expanding network of pick-up locations, currently consisting of more than 1,000 pick-up locations across all seven emirates.

Deliveries done via FODEL’s network are more affordable to end-users as they are more cost-effective for e-commerce and logistics companies. They are much faster too.

FODEL achieves a much higher same-day delivery ratio than traditional courier services, helping e-commerce companies add even greater value to their customers.

“Also, all parcels are tracked in real-time, and customers have full visibility and control over their shipments,” added Benturquia.

FODEL helps e-commerce players and logistics providers massively expand their delivery capacity.

This is possible thanks to the scalability of the solution which provides crucial operational advantages during peak seasons such as White Fridays.

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It’s a proven concept with many successes around the world, like Kiala in the UK with over 7,000 locations, or Cainiao in China with over 40,000 locations.

The supply chain also benefits from the significant reduction in return to origin (RTO) deliveries, which currently account for 18% of all UAE e-commerce parcel dispatches.

The start-up raised US $2.6 million by a number of prominent investors and advisors including Al Rajhi family members from Saudi Arabia, and FODEL’s chairman and ex-Fedex senior vice president Europe, Middle-East, Africa and Indian Sub-continental, Hamdi Osman, a 33-year logistics industry veteran and a strong figure in the region’s express delivery sector.

“FODEL will gradually transform the last mile delivery model for the entire logistics landscape in the GCC. Courier companies can use the expansive pick-up network of FODEL to deliver absolutely anything their customers need, and not just e-commerce parcels,” said Osman. 

“FODEL’s disruptive technology and proven business model add great value at every step of the supply chain, while providing flexibility and peace of mind to the end-users of courier services,” he added.

FODEL’s pick-up solution is already integrated with some of the region’s biggest logistics and e-retailers such as JollyChic, and its pick-up network includes many large chains such as Choithrams or Al Maya.  

“FODEL also empowers merchants to diversify their revenue stream and attract additional footfall at no extra cost,” said Benturquia. “FODEL provides the training and the technology, store owners have little to do to integrate. The solution is built on existing space and staff. No costs, all benefits for merchants.”

Soumia Benturquia is leading FODEL’s operations across its offices in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and China, and is a rare female entrepreneur in a male dominated industry.

Having established its first-mover advantage in the UAE, FODEL will soon launch its operations in Saudi Arabia where it already has secured over 800 pick-up locations.

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