Delivery platform WeBringg is wheelie going places

4 Feb 2019

From left: Alan Hickey and Sean Murray, WeBringg. Image: Martina Regan Photography

Our Start-up of the Week is Dublin’s WeBringg, whose platform is powering deliveries in more and more locations worldwide.

WeBringg started life as a last-mile delivery company with dispatch software to help manage hundreds of self-employed delivery drivers,” said WeBringg co-founder Sean Murray.

Necessity may be the mother of invention but for co-founder Alan Hickey, it was all about his wife and forgetting to buy a present for her birthday. That’s when Hickey and Murray thought up the idea for their same-day delivery service.

‘The ultimate goal is to have as many food delivery companies as possible using our software to improve efficiencies and drive customer engagement’

That was four years ago and today the business has a team of more than 38, more than 1,000 independent drivers worldwide, and provides services such as crowdsourced deliveries. It has partnered with retailers such as Musgrave to provide dispatch technology, as well as data-driven consultancy. As well as Ireland, the company operates in the UK, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.

Murray and Hickey participated in Local Enterprise Office (LEO) management development programmes to get them up and running and investor-ready. The Hi-Start programme introduced WeBringg to Enterprise Ireland, which identified it as a high-potential start-up. The company subsequently went on to raise €850,000 in seed funding.

“We’ve won a few awards along the way, Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur Aer Lingus start-up award and a National Enterprise award,” Murray said. “Over time, our technology evolved to become a tool that clients depend on to automate delivery, improve restaurant efficiency and provide visibility to our customers.

“More recently, we have developed additional features which allow clients to market directly to customers with special offers, video content and friend referrals. The competition amongst restaurant chains and marketplace brands to acquire and retain customers is intense, and we believe we are well positioned to help in this regard and at a fraction of the traditional cost.”

The market

Murray said WeBringg is predominantly focused on the takeaway food delivery market, which is estimated to be worth €83bn.

“We work with a range of clients, from third-party delivery providers to restaurant chains, from Burger King to Bombay Pantry and marketplace brands such as Just Eat. We currently operate in Ireland, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and plan to roll out in Spain and the US shortly as part of our continued international expansion in 2019.”

The founders

Murray grew up in Castleknock and attended Dublin Institute of Technology. He has worked for various companies such as Google, Microsoft and Allcare Pharmacy. He also founded Locate Digital.

Hickey also grew up in Castleknock and he attended University College Dublin, where he studied economics and later did a graduate diploma in financial planning. He started a successful financial brokerage with his father and worked as a financial adviser for more than eight years. He also founded International Golf Advisors.

The technology

The WeDispatch platform connects restaurants to delivery fleets via its drivers’ app and engages customers through live tracking.

“Our platform is built in Kotlin, React and JS, and our R&D team utilise the newest development techniques to ensure that WeDispatch is the most reliable and scalable service possible.

The ultimate goal is to have as many food delivery companies as possible using our software to improve efficiencies and drive customer engagement. We are confident that our product can generate significant competitive advantage for our clients and we love playing a small part in shaping such an enormous global industry.”

Meals – and deals – on wheels

Murray said that the business is seeing triple-digit, year-on-year growth. “And we are in talks with some amazing international brands who are interested in licensing our software to help manage their delivery network and/or engage new customers.

“We closed a funding round recently, which will go toward strengthening the team and developing the product even further. We are not planning to raise more money in the short term but will most likely need to again in the future if the pace of international expansion continues as expected.”

He said the company had its fair share of the usual growing pains in terms of when to raise money and which markets and sectors to invest in. “But we are in a good position now and very focused on the delivered food space. Ironically, challenges are the bread and butter of our business in that it’s responding to client challenges, which provide the greatest platform for growth.

“A good example is the wave of recent press about gig economy workers within the food delivery space. Our clients came to us with big concerns about illegal drivers, potential tax exposures, and asked us how we could help. In response, we built a compliance feature within our software which helps clients to improve driver compliance and goes a step further to offer one-of-a-kind, on-demand insurance for drivers and their vehicles.”

Take that first step

In terms of the start-up environment, avowed entrepreneur Murray said that the scene has never been healthier and pointed out the work of the LEO network and Enterprise Ireland.

“We have a huge pool of talent in this country, an entrepreneurial mindset and significant funding available. In terms of what could be improved, I think our education system, from second level up, needs to respond appropriately by teaching more relevant and practical content to prepare students for careers within the tech sector.

“Perhaps just as importantly, I believe the Government need to provide greater tax incentives to encourage people seeking to start their own business to take that first step,” he recommended.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years