Relay, a tech-enabled delivery network for eCommerce leaders, has raised an £8 million seed financing round to expand around the UK.

The company provides an end-to-end parcel delivery service – including the first, middle and last miles – from eCommerce retailers’ warehouses to consumers’ doorsteps.

Relay’s disruptive service is built on a network of asset-free hyper-local partners, made up of urban pitstops and couriers. Relay says it is able to significantly reduce traditional logistics overheads, such as suburban area depots and sorting centres, that incumbents still rely on, making parcel deliveries quicker, more efficient and more sustainable.

The company’s routing technology matches couriers to routes in real time and is able to combine deliveries and returns in one route. Additionally, end-customers can expect guaranteed next-day delivery and real-time tracking.

Local couriers benefit from a more flexible work environment and increased earning potential. They are also entitled to sick and holiday pay, as well as other key benefits.

The round was led by existing investors Project A Ventures and Prologis Ventures.

In its first year, Relay has already partnered with eCommerce leaders such as JD Group, THG – which includes brands like Cult Beauty, MyProtein, Lookfantastic and Glossybox – and other enterprise retailers. 

By the end of the year, the business will be annualising millions of deliveries per year, just 15 months after launch. Its service is live in London and plans to expand across the UK over the next 12 months. 

Relay platform

“In Asia, delivery companies were built specifically for eCommerce – in Europe and the US, it was the exact opposite, with delivery companies built for a pre-internet world,” said Jonathan Jenssen, co-founder and CEO. 

“Relay is bridging the gap between rapidly evolving eCommerce and old-school delivery. Not only are we enabling better delivery in terms of speed and cost for retailers and end-customers, but we are also doubling down on making sure our ecosystem of delivery drivers and the planet benefit.”

HumanForest to ride into Europe as Series A hits £17m

Philipp Werner, partner at Project A, added: “The parcel delivery landscape remains rooted in the pre-digital era. It’s time for a delivery solution built for the eCommerce age. 

“We believe this can only be achieved by addressing the entire value chain, rather than just innovating the ‘last mile’. Relay’s lean operational model, coupled with the team’s exceptional industry knowledge and technology-centric approach, promises to radically disrupt the status quo in parcel delivery.”

Retail AI startup SeeChange appoints Silicon Valley chair