Tom Allason: eCourier
Focus: Same day couriers
haysmacintyre TOP GUN 2007
Tom Allason, 26
Fuelled by frustration when a courier lost 10 tickets, our inaugural Top Gun Allason soon discovered that the £1bn UK market was under-served and fragmented, with the largest player owning a single-digit share. Realising that having people assigning couriers to jobs was an inefficient model, Allason and business partner Jay Bregman hired a team to build “an ultra-smart computer”. AIBA (advanced information-based allocation) was born.
The system – which removes the need for human allocation of bookings – connects with couriers’ mobile GPS units, which feed back their exact locations every 15 seconds. It knows everything that could impact on delivery time, such as weather, traffic, and even customer-type, and picks the most suitable driver for the job. It then compares the actual delivery time with its estimation and gets smarter, giving a better and better service.
The business has raised £8m and acquisitive growth is just one aspect of its ambitious expansion strategy, which should vastly increase the firm’s £7.2m turnover. Others include its recent journey into new markets, such as food delivery, and international expansion.
2012 update: By 2008 eCourier was #6 in the UK’s fastest growing technology businesses over a five-year period. Allason partially exited that year when TNT acquired a majority stake in the business. He founded e-commerce delivery solution Shutl in 2009 and launched in 2010, since averaging more than 50% month on month sales growth and today serving 70% of the UK with retailers ranging from Argos to Karen Millen. Expansion to the US beckons following its $3.2m fundraising.