Passel, a Graduate of the Melbourne Founder Institute, is an Australian startup offering a refreshingly delightful crowdfunded solution for affordable same-day package delivery: shoppers delivering directly to fellow shoppers. The name of the company Passel is actually a reference to how the word ‘parcel’ sounds in an Australian accent. (Go ahead, say it out loud, you know you want to.) Passel recently closed an angel round totaling $300k from investors including Circuit Recruitment and Adept Projects Solutions.
Passel is a delivery service that uses regular people, such as shoppers who happen to already be in the nearby vicinity of a local store, to complete the last-mile delivery for someone else’s order: one that originated from an online customer, in whose direction the physical shopper is already heading, on their way home for example. The platform allows for shoppers visiting brick-and-mortar stores to actually make some money while out shopping, while simultaneously offering a fast and inexpensive delivery option for customers who choose to order things from the online store versions of those same physical retail store locations. Passel’s solution helps to affordably solve an ongoing problem faced by the many small and medium sized businesses that offer both traditional retail stores and online ordering options to their customers, which the face increasingly steep challenge of competing against the likes of Amazon and other big brands international warehouse distributors.
In an interview with Startup Daily, Passel Founder and CEO Marshall Hughes describes the genesis of his startup company this way,
So a few years ago I started telling people, ‘The time will come when you are wandering around a store, and you’ll get a message on your phone saying, ‘Hey Marshall, Mr Jones, who lives around the corner from you, has just bought a shirt online. If you deliver it on your way home, we’ll give you a $10 voucher.’ Obviously, that hasn’t happened, so here we are.
Founder Marshall Hughes had over 20 years of experience in the Australian freight shipping and logistics industry, including serving as the General Manager of Poste-Haste as well as the COO at MyFreight, before making the transition in 2016 from employee to entrepreneur in launching Passel through support of the Founder Institute Melbourne chapter.
The key frustration that Hughes identified was watching as the rise of online retail lead to ever-increasing numbers of home deliveries, while the shipping industry itself remained relatively stagnant, unable to deliver anything resembling a ‘delightful experience’ to its customers. Passel, on the other hand, actually does make receiving a package delivery into a delightful experience - so personal and geographically-centric in fact, one might even call the gig work of delivering packages on the way home to be a neighborly act.
In its own company lingo, Passel refers to its crowdfunded army of part-time local couriers as ‘Passers.’ But of course, Passers are compensated with more than just neighborly thank-you’s, and can elect to receive a $10 voucher of their choice for any package delivered within 3 hours of accepting the rest. The vouchers are often in the form of gift cards, offered by many of the very same local stores they for which they are completing the deliveries.According to Hughes,
Brick and mortar retailers have a substantial geographic strategic advantage over purely online retailers...If they get their online and Click and Collect models right, then the best form of defence against Amazon will be a strong offence that leverages these key advantages.
And after racking up some early wins through their native Australian market entry, Passel is officially going international, and launching their service into the Irish market in time to catch the busy Christmas retail season. Passel was highlighted in Ireland as one of the most successful companies taking part in the Smart Dublin Last Mile Delivery Challenge, a global search for innovative, smart, and low-cost solutions for optimizing freight and cargo deliveries in urban areas. Passel CEO Marshall Hughes sees Ireland as a highly strategic market step towards entering wider European and American markets, noting,
Ireland occupies a unique position in the global economy, central to the UK, Europe, and with close ties to North American companies and communities.
Passel plans to take the lessons it learns through the localization of their services into the Irish market, and apply those takeaways to next entering the UK market, as well as accelerating its platform development. Passel plans to raise another round of funding in the near future, ensuring they will have the capital on-hand to continue pushing forward aggressively with their planned expansion into further international markets, and taking advantage of the clear opportunities evidenced by the consumer and retailer demand that they continue to receive.
Who knows, maybe you’ll be earning some cash carrying a Passel home to a neighbor yourself before too long?
Graduates of the Founder Institute are creating some of the world's fastest growing startups, having raised over $800M in funding, and building products people love across over 180 cities worldwide.
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