A SaaS platform for last-mile delivery which already counts Ocado among its customers has raised £2.5 million.

Formerly known as Ryders, Ryde’s mission is to unlock hyperlocal last-mile delivery for every business in every industry through their all-in-one solution.

The round of funding into the London-headquartered startup was co-led by Forward Partners and Triple Point, with participation from current investors Seedcamp and Swiss Founders Fund.

Alongside the institutional investors, the company continues to build an impressive list of angels, including Michael Pennington (Gumtree), Will Neale (Fonix), Matt Robinson (Go Cardless) and Ines Ures (former Deliveroo CMO).

The founders, Tom Nimmo and Duncan Mitchell have considerable sector-specific experience. Nimmo grew cleaning marketplace Hassle across Europe before the team sold the company to German-based Helpling for €32 million. 

Mitchell developed TempTribe into a market leader in tech-enabled hospitality staffing.

The raise follows a pivot from their original platform – Gameplan – built to service enterprise clients in the events sector.

“When COVID hit, we had to think on our feet,” said CEO Mitchell. “100% of our customer base went into lockdown overnight, and we were under pressure to find a way forward.

“When we explored last-mile delivery, we discovered a few interesting things. Firstly, the workforce was hugely disenfranchised. Secondly, businesses big and small could not meet consumer demand effectively, and lastly, there was no fit for purpose solution that allowed companies to truly take control of delivery management. 

“We thought these were great problems to tackle.”

Ryde comes to market with a stated ‘rider first’ philosophy which puts its workforce wellbeing at the heart of all decision-making. This means rethinking everything from how gig workers receive and engage with their jobs to how the internal team supports them.

CTO Nimmo said: “We feel that at the moment, being an on-demand delivery worker sucks.

“Your job is essentially to sit on the street and hope for the best. Sometimes you get to work; other times, you don’t. 

“As we’ve built our rider app, we’ve focused a lot on improving this experience for them.”

Improving the experience has included better optimising their work offering so that a worker can blend scheduled and hourly shift jobs with on-demand work. As well as this, the app helps workers to map earnings and routes far more effectively than their competitors.

The company is leading an emerging trend of blending workforces. This essentially involves enabling customers to seamlessly combine internal and external delivery employees and contractors.

It is a solution whereby companies will upload and self-manage their own pool of workers whilst accessing an outsourced pool of thousands across the UK as required.

Mitchell said: “We want to unlock last-mile delivery for every business in the UK as we strongly believe hyper-localisation is the future. That means arming small retailers to compete with the Amazons through to driving efficiency in global eCommerce businesses.”

Ryde is growing rapidly and already counts Ocado, Gorillas, Dija and Slerp amongst an impressive client list.

Luke Smith, partner at Forward, commented: “Last-mile delivery is increasingly important for retailers and Ryde can enable seamless delivery for any business whilst improving the experience for gig workers. 

“We’re very excited to be backing them on their journey to become a key part of the eCommerce infrastructure.”