EIT Digital-supported startup Cosy Colis set to solve undelivered packages problem

It's a common problem: you request delivery of a package, but the parcel comes precisely during the five minutes when you had to step out. 

It's frustrating for you as the package recipient, and for the delivery company as well. They will have to send the parcel to your house again, wasting time and money in the process, and causing unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions.

When Héloïse Barbat looked at the problem, she saw a business opportunity and, with the support of EIT Digital, she launched the Cosy Colis startup to offer a solution.

Cosy Colis combines an IT interface with the delivery companies, an app and a sharing economy formula to allow a network of trusted people to get rewarded for ensuring that their neighbours receive their packages. 

People who want to be a "trusted neighbour" sign up online. When a courier brings someone a package and the recipient is not at home, the delivery person can leave the package with a trusted neighbour, who gets paid a small reward for holding the package until the intended recipient can pick it up. 

The system sounds simple but making all the parts work together was a big undertaking and the support of the EIT Digital Innovation Factory was instrumental in ensuring a successful outcome.

"This service was harder to launch than most startups: On top of building a tech product and selling it to customers, we also had to build a dense network of trusted neighbours." said Barbat, "We really started from scratch."

How it all began

The service was developed in 2021 as part of the Neighbourhood Drop Off innovation activity, with three partners contributing expertise and resources: Ingenico and Degetel in France and Bright Cape in the Netherlands.

An entrepreneur with a long background of working on supply chain and logistics, Barbat was in discussions with Ingenico, a leader in handling online payments, to find innovations that meet market needs. 

After some investigation, the partners agreed that missed deliveries were a challenge in need of a solution.

Along with leaving customers upset, undelivered packages cost delivery companies money. In France, a carrier gets about €1.5-€2.5 per delivery, but if they have problems when they attempt to drop off a package, it means extra costs of around €8, according to Barbat.

In fact, the most expensive and least fuel-efficient part of a delivery is the short distance from the package depot to the individual home of the recipient, because only one single parcel is making that part of the trip.

With about 12% of deliveries not reaching the recipient on the first try, the problem is prevalent. 

Development and launch

The Cosy Colis team set to work developing their ambitious solution.

There were two main tasks involved: building a software interface with delivery companies and developing and screening a network of trusted neighbours - people who are willing to accept packages in exchange for some money, as much as €200 a month. Bringing together these areas of work took a lot of time and development. 

Along with generating revenue for her startup, Barbat says the app will also have some benefits for society, including a reduction in wasted transport costs, which also translates into fewer CO2 emissions, and a chance for people who are at home to build social bonds with people living close by and access additional revenue, regardless of their education level.

Now, Cosy Colis is working with two leading European parcel companies, which are eager to incorporate the startup's "trusted neighbour" delivery option into their service.

The official launch, initially targeting six regions in France, from dense city centers to rural areas, is planned for the summer.

Meanwhile, the startup is looking to raise €500K to speed up the integration with further parcel companies and the development of the network of "trusted neighbours".

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Co-Funded by the European Union