First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Carla Ferreri: Like most of us, we’re trying to save the world by working from home and by binge-watching. We’re all healthy, and that’s most important, but the social butterfly (and maybe optimist in me) is already planning much more social 2021. Fingers crossed!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded TheGepek.
Carla Ferreri: Maybe it’s not so common, but the founders of TheGepek are my brother (Dario Ferreri) and me, so we have known each other for quite a long time now, or should I say I know him from day one?
We have all the data and numbers in our pitch deck, but this is a part where we will reveal how we got this idea in the first place.
It was a Friday afternoon, and our mother went to the seaside about four hours’ drive from our home town. She packed all the important stuff like shoes and dresses but forgot one small thing, yet crucial – her blood pressure medicine. The small problem turned out to be almost insolvable as post offices don’t deliver on weekends as well as big delivery companies. The delivery option we got on Friday afternoon was three (3) days as the best option. It was not an option for us at all.
We’re Italians, so of course, we solved mamma’s problem by calling a friend of a friend who happened to drive in that direction.
The day after the idea for TheGepek was born, and only after a few months, we have exponential community growth.
We have both been working in the fields of IT management and logistics for more than 15 years, so I’m quite sure that fact helped too.
How does TheGepek innovate?
Carla Ferreri: TheGepek is a 24/7 package delivery platform based on a carpooling model and same-day cross-city delivery.
The market model is our key innovation, but in technological terms we developed a platform ready for big numbers and scalability.
The platform solves the problem of high prices for sending smaller packages, long delivery time, or impossibility of delivery (weekends) while reducing costs for car owners.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Carla Ferreri: TheGepek promotes contactless package delivery. Drivers share their cars only for package delivery, not for passengers. COVID risks are minimal when compared with similar models like standard carpooling.
Additionally, this pandemics situation motivated us to raise public awareness about climate change and its socio-economic impact by:
* using existing transport offering with direct/first time success delivery
* encouraging electric/hybrid car owners to join our platform (we’re preparing a new campaign for December)
* promoting eco-friendly packaging – in carpooling services like our package can be wrapped in an eco-friendly manner without firm and plastic packaging
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Carla Ferreri: No, as we started this platform in pandemic time and designed it for this period while keeping in mind post-pandemic profitability.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Carla Ferreri: I’m not setting my own expectations higher than it’s comfortable for me to handle it at the moment.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Carla Ferreri: When looking out of the box, the only ones that are using our model are specific Facebook groups (carpooling groups for packages delivery). We don’t see those members as a competition but as early adopters.