GeoPost, the international subsidiary of the French Groupe La Poste, has acquired “last-mile” delivery startup Stuart.
Terms of the deal remain undisclosed, though it should be noted that GeoPost already held a 22 percent stake in the French startup, having led its €22 million Series A round in late 2015 before the company had even launched.
Founded the same year by Clement Benoit (who previously founded restaurant delivery service Resto-In), and Benjamin Chemla (co-founder and previously CEO of Citycake.fr, which Resto-In acquired in late 2014), Stuart set out to disrupt last-mile logistics with better technology and a fleet of couriers to enable merchants to offer customers same-hour delivery.
It does this through the Stuart web and mobile app and via an API that means merchants of any size, including major chains, can build the service into their existing consumer-facing offerings.
The idea was to offer something akin to Amazon Prime Now for local stores and merchants. But unlike Amazon, Stuart doesn’t have to contend with delivering goods from out of town warehouses or logistics hubs, but is solely focusing on the last-mile and delivering goods from within a city.
Also of note, the startup offers multiple modes of transportation, from pushbikes to motorbikes to vans, so it can deliver different-sized packages.
Operating in France, U.K. and Spain, the company says it facilitates “thousands” of deliveries per day for more than 500 customers, including Carrefour, Franprix, Burger King, The Kooples, Pizza Hut and Cdiscount.
In July last year, Stuart also signed a partnership with Just Eat in France to let the take-out marketplace’s restaurant partners outsource delivery, although that doesn’t even get a mention in today’s accompanying press release, so make of that what you will.
Paul-Marie Chavanne, GeoPost’s CEO, says in a statement: “This decision logically follows our investments in Stuart over the past 2 years. Stuart completes our delivery service at a local level and embodies the future of express urban delivery, a rapidly expanding strategic activity for us.”
Stuart founders Benoit and Chemla add: “We are extremely proud of the journey that we and our more than 100 employees have taken over the last two years. GeoPost’s acquisition will enable Stuart to maximise its potential and become the leading player in last mile delivery in Europe.”
Meanwhile, GeoPost says the acquisition of Stuart will “cement” its position as a leading provider of express urban delivery throughout Europe. “Stuart adds the final piece in the delivery value chain formed by GeoPost subsidiaries Chronopost, DPD, SEUR and Pickup,” the French company notes.
I’m also told that Stuart will remain an independent brand and GeoPost subsidiary, and that Damien Bon, COO at Stuart, is being promoted as CEO of Stuart.
In addition, Diego Magdelénat and Paul-Ambroise, the founders of Pickup, a startup specializing in alternative delivery that GeoPost acquired in 2009, will co-chair Stuart.
“Stuart’s co-founders will ensure a smooth transition over the next few months,” says GeoPost, which, I also suspect is a coded way of saying they aren’t sticking around for too long post-acquisition.