Supply chain start-up in the spotlight: Urbantz

Urbantz was founded in Brussels, Belgium, by Jonathan Weber (photo), Michael Darchambeau and Melanie Applincourt in 2015. Their aim was to make the first- and last-mile delivery business sustainable in cities by improving efficiency, reducing costs and increasing the quality of service.

The application is built around an easy-to-use interface and technical tools to support efficiency. The cloud-based, pay-per-use SaaS platform optimizes the interaction between the industry stakeholders while allowing the efficient allocation of resources. This includes optimizing mileage, manpower, work time and others costs related to vehicles, making it possible to reduce the overall transport costs – from the initial order handling to delivery – by 20 to 25%, according to the company’s own estimates. Urbantz also provides complete transparency during the delivery process, and allows for parcel follow-up through the whole delivery chain.

Urbantz believes in collective intelligence for sustainable logistics by offering a global collaborative solution that is transparent, secure and open. In fact, the firm takes its name from a combination of the words ‘urban’ and ‘ants’ in a nod to the collective intelligence of ants in determining the shortest and most efficient path to a food source. It won the Rise d’Innoviris prize for innovative starters in Brussels in 2017.

Funding

Currently employing 22 people, the firm is active in countries such as France, the UK and the Netherlands in addition to Belgium. Urbantz is also present in 16 countries in the Middle East. The target industries include retail (both omnichannel and pure web players), transport, e-commerce, construction and healthcare, with the existing customer base including Carrefour Group, Metro, Auchan and CityDepot, a subsidiary of Bpost. Urbantz raised €3 million in a Series A funding round in April 2018, bringing the total funding to €3.7 million. The fresh capital will be used to accelerate the development of Urbantz by consolidating certain markets and by investing in others in the medium term. Above all, Urbantz will continue to invest in R&D to enable the integration of the latest machine learning, big data and artificial intelligence solutions.