E-commerce has not only changed our shopping behaviour but also accustomed us to the idea of same day and next day delivery. As people around the world warm up to the idea of climate change, they are also realising the true cost of this obsession with same day and next day delivery.
While same day and next day delivery are great perks and uplift the shopping experience, they also come at the cost to sustainability. To tackle this, Dutch startup Trunkrs is reimagining same day and next day delivery service without any compromise to sustainability.
With a goal of a completely CO2 neutral parcel delivery, Trunkrs is paving the way for a truly green last mile product delivery. Since being founded in 2015 by Dimitri Balai and Jan Wijn, Trunkrs has come a long way and has matured from possibility to promise. Here is how they did it.
Born in traffic
The idea of Trunkrs was born in traffic near the city of Utrecht when Jan Wijn saw many delivery vans being stuck with him. At that moment, he got the inspiration to make logistics better and create a shared transport capacity to make deliveries more sustainable.
He says the idea was not just about a sustainable delivery system but also a delivery moment tailored towards the agenda of the receiver. “This would be the first step toward a customer-centric, flexible, fast and sustainable delivery service,” says Wijn.
This experience and market feedback drove Wijn and Balai to create a delivery startup that puts sustainability ahead of everything without compromising the delivery experience. “Parcel delivery is the first physical contact moment between customer and webshop,” reads Trunkrs’ company description.
Once they realised their idea was working, they started working on a shared asset model and began offering e-commerce companies a fast and flexible same day and next day delivery platform. The customer is so central to this delivery cycle that Trunkrs allows customers to change their delivery address up to 20 minutes before scheduled delivery time.
“This increases delivery success and customer satisfaction,” says Wijn. “By offering a best-in-class service with flexible, reliable and fast delivery, Trunkrs aims to create the best possible customer experience for its clients, the e-commerce businesses.”
Another feather in the cap of Trunkrs is the fact that it is asset-light and is not in the business of adding more assets to the logistics market. One of the ways it does this is by using the already existing assets in the market. It uses distribution centres that are otherwise only used at night and delivers packages using partners who deliver packages for other delivery services during the day.
Finding the right balance
Trunkrs is a marker of success in the Dutch startup ecosystem and its growth from startup to scaleup shows how an existing idea can be turned into a sustainable business model.
For Wijn though, this hypergrowth has come with the challenge of searching for the right balance. He says it is a constant struggle to decide what needs his attention, what can be passed on to others, and what activities can wait.
However, despite all the challenges, there is a profound focus on IT infrastructure, which proved not only robust but also capable of handling pandemic-driven demand. “It did, however, mean that our employees still felt an increase in workload. As CEO you need to address that, before it gets out of hand and people start to stumble and fall,” he adds.
Challenging to rethink with the Rise programme
Trunkrs was one of the nine scaleups to join the batch #8 of Techleap.nl’s Rise programme this year and arguably, it’s most popular. Wijn says building a company is a real life MBA, where “you try and fail and learn or succeed every day.”
He adds that new challenges come up every time and there is a need to tackle them or anticipate them as well as one can. With the Rise programme, he says Techleap.nl offers great insights and networking opportunities with like-minded business leaders.
“It challenges us to rethink our plans and the ways we want to reach our goals,” he says. “At Trunkrs, we like being challenged and meeting new people to exchange thoughts with. This is exactly what Rise does for us.”
Wijn also acknowledges the opportunity to share experiences and learnings with peers, especially when guided by seasoned entrepreneurs who have already been there. While they all have to build their own business, Wijn says there is a lot of value in sharing and it even accelerates speed of learning.
100 per cent fully electric delivery fleet
In June 2022, Trunkrs raised €15M in Series B funding for further growth. Wijn says they will use this new funding to expand their delivery business in Belgium and reach a 100 per cent fully electric delivery fleet. Trunkrs also plans to help its partners become more sustainable by helping them invest in electric vehicles, co-investing in those vehicles, or leasing them out to partners, making the transition easier and faster.
Trunkrs also plans to raise a new round for further international expansion and support other innovations. However, Wijn says the real success for them will come from seeing a transformed package delivery market that is not only sustainable but also has less vehicles on the road.
“When the delivery market is honest, customer-centric, and sustainable, with all electric vehicles on the road and no idle assets being added to the market,” he says about Trunkrs’ impact.
Looking back at its success so far, Wijn attributes it to their ability to keep challenging themselves and not being afraid to pivot. “As long as you keep your sustainable goal in mind, there are oftentimes more ways to reach the same goal,” he says.