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1. Shutl

The start-up solving e-commerce’s greatest problem, giving customers greater control over deliveries

Founder: Tom Allason
Founded: July 2008 (launched March 2010)
Website: www.shutl.co.uk

Sitting at the top of our 2012 list is a start-up solving a genuine problem – as anyone who’s been told to expect a delivery ‘sometime between 8.30am and 6.30pm’ will attest to. Shutl enables online shoppers to receive goods when they want, either within a 90-minute or a one-hour window of their choice – and can even deliver goods within 90 minutes of purchase. In fact, with such a perennial pain-point, it’s surprising no-one has tried to solve this problem sooner.

Founder Allason is something of an expert when it comes to courier services. His previous start-up, eCourier.co.uk, became a market leader in the same-day delivery space. He realised that, since the UK courier market is fragmented, with most players operating on a regional rather than national scale, companies such as his were unable to serve the e-commerce market on their own – meaning national retailers couldn’t offer a same-day service without managing lots of different companies. His idea, therefore, was to aggregate capacity across multiple courier companies – Shutl was born.

The business, which charges commission on each successful transaction, is now working with online retailers including Argos, Oasis, Warehouse, Laithwaites Wine and Coast. Having shown continued and significant growth since launch, the company looks well-placed to expand sustainably and rapidly. Recent milestones, including last year’s £650,000 funding round and an exclusive distribution deal with Maplin, suggest the business is set for lift-off.