Expeditus gets GBP1.5m

Expeditus, an online trading platform targeting the courier industry, has been launched with GBP1.5 million start-up funding from Consulta, a London-based asset management firm.

The founder of Expeditus, Mark Cairns came up with the idea while working as a despatch rider. Couriers complete the return half of any journey without a package, this represents up to 50 per cent wastage in a market estimated by the company to be worth GBP1 billion a year. Expeditus will allow courier firms to trade this spare capacity over the Internet, reducing “dead mileage”, improving customer service and increasing margins. Expeditus is powered by software specifically designed for the courier industry to match and track jobs, the system also handles billing and payment, which the company guarantees. The software can also be used to provide an Intranet to multi-depot courier businesses.

The investor has $1.25 billion under management, although it’s private equity activity is limited. This investment was made from the $18 million Consulta Private Equity Fund. Launched at the beginning of the year it has so far made six early stage investments, in sectors as diverse as broadcasting, finance and engineering, where it takes an involved approach to management. Nigel Pilkington, fund manager at Consulta, said Expeditus was unusual as during the due diligence the courier industry expressed a unanimous demand for the concept.

He says: “We only invest in a company if it’s something the industry needs to buy within two to three years.”

The chief executive of the Despatch Association (the UK trade body for the same day courier industry), Phillip Stone, said: “The Expeditus trading platform is a real tonic for the same day courier industry. It should enable courier firms to build and grow their businesses, generating more jobs, more capacity and more revenues and profits without increasing their overheads.”

The company will generate profits through an enrolment fee and annual subscription fee paid by couriers using the system. Expeditus also takes a 10 per cent commission on all transactions carried out through the database.