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The Elphinstone man was in the cleaning business when he learned that a quarter of all vans and vans were empty because they were driving home from a job, and the other half had only a few items. cargo on board with more space available.

“It was during the recession and I could see at the same time that people wanted to save money while moving their stuff, while transportation providers like me wanted to make more money. from existing jobs.”

It demonstrates a light bulb moment. The 39-year-old went on to found AnyVan, a technology platform tailored to customers looking to move, with transportation providers already moving in that direction: “save miles traveled and ability to offer lower prices to customers”.

AnyVan

Establish: 2009

Staff: 320

Sales: 85 million pounds

Headquarters: Blacksmith

In the early days of its startup, AnyVan adopted the tagline ‘we move anything, anywhere’ and, Elphinstone laughs, ‘two million or more moves after that, we can have peace of mind. say that some have certainly tested our resolve on it!”

The company moved chickens, pianos and paintings – “we could say we were the only business that could link horse semen, celebrity homes, bicycle gear and coffins,” says the founder. soak.

AnyVan has also moved an elephant with its custodian and veterinarian across Ireland, a 6-foot tall cabinet engraved with the Kama scriptures, a yurt, an inhabited garden, a giant phallic statue giant, an ice cream truck, and what Elphinstone subtly voiced the “gynecological chair in the dungeon.” Most of the moves are made by small companies and single traders – AnyVan currently has 90,000 registered drivers and companies.

It all started in 2009. “Creating a technology platform without a lot of experience is a big risk,” says Elphinstone, “but there are not many competitors with viable technology solutions to compete with. paintings, so it’s relatively simple.”

He initially used £150,000 in cash from a private investor, hired an office manager and hired an IT expert to design the platform.

The first major problem is a ‘chicken and egg scenario’: if there are no jobs listed on the site, truck and lorry drivers won’t register, but AnyVan can’t list jobs except when they have a driver ready to pick up. So Elphinstone convinced motorists to sign up (for free) to boost their revenue from dead mileage – “it wasn’t a hard sale”, he added – and built the page web from there.

“Doing so means that when we launch customers, the liquidity of the drivers is flexible enough to get the job done.”

Today, AnyVan will allocate around five jobs per car journey – someone wanting to move a furnace to Aberdeen will have to pay around £200, the driver gets 25% of that job plus a few others on the route.

AnyVan raised around £6 million in its first few years, but relied on organic growth at the start. It had about 45,000 customers by the end of its first year, and Elphinstone was worried a larger logistics company would adopt its concept.

“With technology, it’s hard to patent any idea,” he added. “You always worry about when the next competitor might show up and try to eat your lunch. The things we have to consider are the reputation, the product, and the complexity of the operation. “

Growth slowed during the shutdown, but AnyVan now hosts more than two million on-the-go jobs. It has faced driver shortages and freight issues in recent years – although Elphinstone adds: “We use our technology to consolidate work and keep costs down. to complete each job on a low level, so we don’t need many drivers and are not affected by the driver shortage. ”

AnyVan has now raised a total of £131 million, mainly from Vitruvian private equity, and expects the business to boom. Turnover reached £85 million last year; Elphinstone expects that number to rise to £130m this year.

“We wanted to double down on technology and accelerate market leadership,” he explains. “We are ready and funded to accelerate our rapid expansion across Europe, targeting an underserved and underperforming market that makes it ripe for disruption. and growing rapidly”.

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