DUBISTR: Smart logistics

Package delivery made easy, for both consumers and delivery companies. DUBISTR is working on an app that deals with the frustration and logistical issues of not being home, on both sides. Founded by Tom Steffens, his idea won the pitch competition of the Beta Business days and is currently a finalist for the EBG Pitch & Go Competition, with €5000 being awarded by a panel of judges, and €15,000 by the audience through live crowdfunding.

DUBISTR (local dialect for you’re there) is an app where parcel deliverers can let consumers know that they’re in the neighbourhood, with a single press of a button. The person expecting the package can let the parcel deliverer know whether or not they’ll be home, or if the package can be delivered to a neighbour or nearby store. This saves both parties a lot of time and frustration.

In first stage of DUBISTR, the main focus is on individual deliverers, regardless for which delivery company they work. “We don't focus on the companies above these individual deliverers yet, because this allows us to remain open and independent, for early adopters and users”, Tom explains.

Rat Race

With more and more web shops and other companies promising lightning fast delivery and shipping times, there’s an ever increasing pressure on delivery services. The exact time of delivery is always a problem, because sitting around at home and waiting is not always possible, when there’s kids to pick up from school for example. “But it’s also a real problem for parcel deliverers”, Tom explains. “Especially freelancers usually get paid for the amount of packages they deliver per day and having to drive to the same address the next day, is not very efficient and certainly not very sustainable or eco friendly.”

“It’s a real rat race, with very low profit margins”, Tom continues. “So DUBISTR is essentially a way for the consumer and driver to communicate directly, in a fast and efficient way. They can solve and settle it together.”

Tom worked as a project leader for the University of Groningen for 4 years. “We were working on an innovation project for smart logistics”, Tom explains. “We talked to a lot of big companies and I really had the feeling the market was kind of deadlocked and a top down approach didn’t work. So I decided I could have a lot more impact by starting my own company and work in a bottom up way, and create something that’s proactive instead of reactive. That’s basically where the idea came from.”

EBG Pitch & Go

Tom enrolled in the VentureLab program in 2016, to develop the concept and a solid business plan around it. He signed up for the Pitch & Go competition, organized by the Economic Board Groningen and made it to the finals, which will be held on June 15. “This is really an awesome opportunity and very exciting. I’m currently at that stage where I’m working with a programmer, and things are getting real, really fast.”

“But we’re also at that stage where you’re just not interesting enough for investors to take you seriously”, Tom continues. “That’s because there’s no proof of concept yet, but prize money aside, I really hope being in the finals of the Pitch & Go competition will give us the opportunity to start testing DUBISTR in the real world.”

Living lab

Tom hopes he can turn Groningen and the surrounding countryside into a living lab for DUBISTR. “Especially the countryside too, because people really tend to overlook people living there and just focus on cities, because that’s easier.”

“And hopefully, DUBISTR will not only solve the logistical delivery problems, but also create jobs in the process and strengthen communities. When someone’s not home, packages can also be dropped off at community centers. This not only saves the driver an extra trip, but it also opens up a lot more opportunities for work. Retired people living in the neighbourhood can earn some extra money for example, or people who are currently unemployed. And it also strengthens ties in the neighbourhood itself.”

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