Last mile tech start-up iMile expands Middle East footprint
iMile, the Middle East’s fast growing last mile delivery company today announced its regional growth plans as it continues to invest in expanding its product portfolio, advancing technology and on boarding world-class talent in key areas.
These include sales, engineering and client success. A global one-stop solution from cross-border logistics to last mile, iMile is the delivery partner of choice for an array of Chinese cross-border e-commerce sellers and regional retailers and is now gearing up to expand into several new countries across the Middle East and North Africa, including Egypt and Morocco.
Launched in September 2017, iMile was founded by Rita Huang - the ex-CTO of the Alibaba-Meraas joint venture in the UAE and former Country Manager of Huawei.
Some year-to-date company highlights include:
Growth in bookings: approximately 10x increase in new bookings in 2019 and an average 8x growth in orders year-on-year
Perfecting Last Mile Delivery: First in the Middle East to offer a truly seller-friendly cash-on-delivery option with the lowest remittance time; enabling sellers receive payments within 7 days of delivery
Roster of Reputed Clients: Clients include best-in-class Chinese e-commerce brands such as Shein, Fordeal and Club Factory together with regional retail giants such as Noon, among others.
Regional Footprint: Delivery operations span the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia
Top Technology Talent: iMile’s 50+ engineering team is spread across China and the UAE and over 50 percent being former employees of Alibaba - the world’s largest retailer and ecommerce company - bringing with them the best technology and industry practices from China.
“We are passionate about the last-mile delivery frontier in the Middle East and see a tremendous unmet need in this part of the world when it comes to traceable, on-time shipment that offers customers a variety of options,” said Rita Huang, Founder and CEO of iMile. Citing the 2019 MENA E-commerce Report jointly produced by Google and Bain & Company, Huang noted that although the MENA e-commerce market - valued at $8.3 billion in 2017 - is growing at an average annual rate of 25 percent, a plethora of pain points are impeding the sector’s true reach including inaccurate addresses, insufficient logistics infrastructure, and heavy dependence on cash-on-delivery together with several other issues.
With the GCC importing much of its consumer goods, Huang believes a technology-driven last-mile delivery platform like iMile is integral in enabling the exponential growth of e-commerce in a region boasting savvy shoppers with skyrocketing expectations. “Our focus is to help businesses achieve accurate and timely delivery outcomes for their customers and to serve our customers an unparalleled delivery experience from the moment they place an order to the moment it lands at their door. Technology is fundamental in powering this possibility,” explained Huang. As a technology-driven logistics company, Huang explained that iMile regularly invests in improving its proprietary logistics technology which is capable of monitoring the delivery process from start to finish and offers real-time updates for seller and buyer alike. “Our proprietary solution addresses warehouse automation, operation digitization and data visualization and so much more. These are just some of the innovative hallmarks that place iMile in a league of its own,” said Huang.
Talent is also a vital part of the company’s value proposition and Huang - together with co-founder Naveen Joseph (a former Amazon employee) is steadily building a passionate and diverse team of operational leaders, product wizards, data scientists and transportation experts dedicated to reinventing logistics and delivery. Drawing a significant portion of its technology talent from the likes of Alibaba and Amazon, iMile’s team works out of tech hubs based in Shenzhen and Hangzhou in China and Dubai, UAE.
According to Huang, as consumers continue to demand more when it comes to delivery , the last mile proves vital in the e-commerce supply chain. “The last mile remains one of the main touchpoints in the customer experience, hence brands cannot leave this critical opportunity to chance,” she explained,adding: “At iMile, we are building collaborative partnerships to make our delivery network agile, investing in effective technologies to boost productivity, mining data to build better customer experiences and, most importantly, managing our inventory as efficiently as possible to better serve the dynamic e-commerce marketplace of tomorrow in the region and beyond.”