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PickMe Business Model: Success story of a customer centric strategy

PickMe is a food delivery and ride-hailing application from Sri Lanka. It was founded by Jiffry Zulfer who is also the chief executive of the company. 

PickMe was designed in 2015 with a desire to address the transportation problems of Sri Lanka. This new technology, was built from ground up at the time. 

PickMe now is a multi-cloud platform that powers in the excess of 5000 CPUs and handles as many as 1,000,000 events per every second by using a distributed event driven system.

Some basics of the PickMe app

PickMe is Sri Lanka’s very own platform for ride-hailing. This platform can be used for,

  • Ordering taxis: There is a range of taxis you can hail starting from Tuk Tuk to Luxury sedans, to Mini Hatchbacks.
  • Ordering food: You can order from a huge variety of restaurants and PickMe riders will deliver the food right to your doorstep in Colombo.
  • Ordering trucks: You can use the services of light or heavy trucks on demand for your logistics requirements.

Development of the PickMe business model

Mobility is significant in driving growth. Any thriving economy will need a transport system that will connect businesses with people seamlessly. This is where the PickMe marketplace business model began to take shape. 

  • IFC made an investment of $2.5 million in PickMe for helping the company in expanding its outreach across Sri Lankan Island. 
  • The money was also provided to improve their access to safe, efficient, and affordable transportation. 
  • Besides their food delivery and ride-hailing services, the company also launched a B2B and B2C delivery service, PickMe Flash, and a truck-hiring service that was intended for smaller businesses. This service connected the vehicle owners with the thousands of users across the country from Dondra Head to Point Pedro.

Impact of Covid-19 on the PickMe business model

The global covid pandemic caught everybody by surprise. All the prolonged lockdowns for containing the spread of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka disrupted the lives and businesses of people at an unprecedented scale. This crisis also proved the worth of the PickMe business model. It also showcased its potential for the good of the people and the power of technology. 

On the evening when the first COVID-19 case in Sri Lanka was reported, Zulfer gathered his team for a brainstorming session. Even before everybody was talking about social distancing and lockdowns, teams devised safety and health protocols as per WHO guidelines for protecting their massive network of drivers and riders and the millions of registered users.

Being Customer centric

PickMe Flash was started as a delivery service at the time of the lockdown however, it has more to it than just that. It has established itself as a fast, safe, and smart way of maintaining physical connectivity for companies that opted for distance working. The truck hiring service from PickMe is 2 to 3 times less expensive than conventional methods. This is a huge boon for smaller businesses that are struggling to cope with a sedated economy. 

The PickMe business model and PickMe Flash more specifically allow various businesses to track their goods. It is an extra and indispensable bonus. These measures are aimed to provide a much-needed boost to the economy. 

But, PickMe is gradually uplifting economic freedoms and it will have a more profound impact. Consumers have more choices and they can even travel on a bike pillion, chauffeured vehicles, or ride a truck. They can order food from higher-end restaurants or use a luxury sedan to drive downtown.

PickMe business model gathers pace with its new round of investment

  • In the recent past, Digital Mobility Solutions Lanka Ltd, a company that operates PickMe completed Rs 1 billion of cumulative capital-raising. 
  • There was an infusion of a big chunk of Rs 693 million in the company. This money will be utilized for venturing into high-potential logistics and food delivery operations. This latest fundraising round also resulted in attracting the private sector investment arm of the world bank called IFC Group
  • They also took up Rs385 million of the company share. It is their maiden venture capital investment foray in Sri Lanka.
  • In their earlier fundraisers, the PickMe business managed to garner Rs 44 million, Rs 170 million, and Rs 100 million in amounts. 
  • According to the latest capital raising reports the post-money valuation of PickMe is estimated to be around a whopping Rs 12.7 billion. 
  • This qualifies the organization to be among one of the top 50 listed organizations for market capitalization. 
  • Based on the performance evaluation of PickMe, the investors during the current round are expecting the company to reach a valuation of more than Rs 60 billion within three years.

The company’s chairman and one of the co-founders Ajit Gunewardene has indicated that the fresh capital raised will be channelled into funding the PickMe foray in last-mile food delivery. 

It will fund mom-and-pop enterprises, self-employed individuals, home-based entrepreneurs, and logistics such as goods transportation services, particularly SMIs. 

One of their successful crowd-sourcing models will be adapted for the newer ventures. 

For their food delivery service, the company is envisaging a network of 1000 motorbikes. These will be rolled out within the upcoming 6 months.

Good governance and treating their customers as patrons

Although PickMe is not a very old organization, their governance framework and operating philosophy do not reflect the usual start-up mentality. They have transparency as a significant pillar of all their operations. 

They have ensured that they are complying with all the government regulations that are in existence for the transport sector and financial reporting. They are a regular tax contributor as well. 

They strongly endorse a culture of collaboration that many times allows a driver to connect with a software developer and learn from each other. 

Although the PickMe director board and their workforce strongly reflect Sri Lanka, they are a diverse set of people that represent several communities belonging to the country.

PickMe treats its customers as their patrons and this is the inspiration and backbone of its ecosystem. They are committed to pushing their limits to make sure that the customers are getting a seamless service delivery. 

This gives them the strength to take on all the challenges as they keep on evolving and making sure to scale for meeting the unique requirements of the customers.

The trust that is bestowed on the company by its drivers is a recognition of their efforts in integrating them into a formal sector. PickMe together with LOLC offers life insurance coverage to their partners. This is one of the more important benefits any employee working in the formal sector receive but people such as taxi drivers are deprived of it. 

All these drivers that work for the company are put through rigorous training to get them motivated and make them experts in using the device and better finance management.

Conclusion

There is much more than meets the eye when you take a close look at the PickMe business model from Sri Lanka. This food-delivery and ride-hailing organization thrived during the pandemic and proved that it can develop a better-connected economy.

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