As cities struggle to cope with increasing congestion, the transport sector contributes the highest single share of greenhouse gas emissions globally.
AI and commercial mathematics in the cloud can help offset a significant portion of these problems. According to software company Adiona CEO, Richard Savoie, the average delivery vehicle utilization rate is about 50 percent.
“Technology companies like Amazon have created competitive moats by using machine learning and operations algorithms to create hyper-efficient delivery fleets, but the rest of the logistics industry is lagging behind,” Richard says.
“We've developed a platform that enables any fleet, especially large ones, to become efficient, maximise profit, and reduce their environmental impact."
Adiona, named after the “Roman Goddess of the Return Journey”, has spent the last year developing a software service that automates and optimizes large numbers of deliveries to create more efficient fleets.
The technology is currently powering millions of efficient global deliveries for parcel, retail, FMCG, grocery, and even furniture manufacturers.
Prior to working on Adiona, Richard designed and commercialised cardiology medical devices for 15 years.
“Luckily my co-founder is a PhD in optimisation AI. One of the keys to our success is our ability to commercialise academic research into practical, beautiful logistics tools that are intuitive and scalable,” Richard says.
There were a few challenges faced by Adiona in the early stages, as Richard explains:
“This is our third pivot in as many years before finding product market fit. While our north star has always been about improving sustainability in cities, we had to continually refine our learnings until we figured out what was creating a lot of value and also very sticky,” Richard says.
“I think we've heard every objection that I can imagine during that process, so perseverance and the support of my amazing family has been critical. We also started raising a seed round just before the pandemic and had to lower our expectations and velocity due to investment dollars drying up."
" On the flip side, the pandemic has now created 10x growth in home delivery services which has benefitted us greatly in the last few months. Another challenge for companies like us is access to engineering and research talent that understands deep technology.”
Adiona has celebrated several recent successes.
“Just last week a new customer excitedly crowed that our platform is going to crush an entire day's worth of work in five minutes. I also remember our first week processing over 10,000 deliveries and then shortly after, 100,000 deliveries,” Richard says.
“I think of the measurable reduction in urban congestion and greenhouse gases that come with each of those, every day. It also feels incredible to have built a team that supports and carries each other with our unique abilities and spirit.”
“We need to go faster and get into other markets such as the US, so we are planning for a capital raise. We also just received a some substantial grants to continue building collaborative logistics features into our platform. This will allow our customers to use spare capacity across each other's resources to reduce costs and increase efficiency. So, we'll be busy working on that."
Richard has some wise advice to share with other startups:
“The best advice is to make sure you get advice from as many people with real, relevant experience to your business and look for the repeated patterns in it. Another reluctant piece of advice is that startup life is 80 percent sales. You really need to be able to brand, market, and sell your vision as much as you need to build it. I wish we'd embraced that fact earlier in our journey.”
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