We talked to Anthony Viaene, founder of Dropon, about modern-day logistics and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Anthony Viaene: Yes we are all healthy. My sister living in Barcelona got the virus during the first lockdown, she suffered a lot but has fully recovered in the meantime.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Dropon.
Anthony Viaene: Here is our story as written on our website:
It all started in 2012. Anthony Viaene and his friends had the crazy idea to start an ecological delivery service in Ghent. They called it Bubble Post. They specialized in last-mile deliveries using cargo-bikes and electric vehicles. The company quickly got a lot of traction, which forced them to look for a quick and efficient last-mile delivery software to organize and streamline their daily deliveries.
The team couldn’t find anything suitable on the market, so they thought why not have another crazy idea and develop a system of our own? Dropon was born. While Bubble Post was expanding its operations across the Benelux, Dropon was running in the background as a sophisticated and elaborate planning tool.
In 2017, Bpost – the Belgian postal company – acquired Bubble Post. After a period of reflection, Anthony explored options to expand the applicability of Dropon to other companies and market segments. This is where Anthony asked his old hockey-teammate Jonathan Carette, previously working abroad for BNP Paribas, to join the new adventure. Together they founded a new company, Dropon.
It’s 2020 and Dropon is steadily flourishing into a mature company, with customers from different sectors across Belgium and the Netherlands. Its mission is to help companies optimize their last-mile deliveries and take control of their route-planning and monitoring. Above all, their smart and easy-to-use route-planning tools are built to ensure the best delivery experience for customers.
How does Dropon innovate?
Anthony Viaene: We keep building better tools to better serve our customers so that they can increase their customer experience.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Anthony Viaene: Because we are in the delivery business, the coronavirus had a mixed positive impact. We have customers selling furniture that needed to close but also has food delivery companies that surged during the same period.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Anthony Viaene: Starting a startup for the second time was indeed a difficult choice to make, but I’m very happy that I did it. We now have a great company with great colleagues and we are delighted every time we can help other companies with our software.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Anthony Viaene: Except for working from home we did not change very much about our approach.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Anthony Viaene: We focus primarily on customer experience and ease of use regardless of segment or sector a company is in.
Your final thoughts?
Anthony Viaene: Currently… It’s cold outside, but the sun is coming!