UniUni is the fourth fastest growing company in Canada, according to The Globe and Mail’s 2023 Report on Business magazine ranking of the Top Growing Companies in the nation.
UniUni earned its spot with three-year growth of 12,854 per cent, transforming from a Vancouver start-up to a cross-Canada powerhouse in the last-mile logistics industry.
“This recognition by the Globe and Mail is an affirmation of the hard work of our talented and devoted team across Canada and the United States,” said Peter Lu, UniUni’s co-founder and CEO. “But we believe the best is yet to come as we expand across the United States after having proven that our model works in Canada. We are committed to delivering on our goal to provide e-commerce companies with an economical, reliable and fast last-mile solution.”
In 2019, parcel delivery was overdue for a radical transformation. Rising e-commerce, ubiquitous smartphones, and crowd-sourced models pointed to a solution, but the road to success took determination—and one particular driver’s awareness.
UniUni co-founders Peter Lu and Kevin Wang began their incredible journey by first joining the hyper-competitive Vancouver food delivery market. They believed the solution was to use technology.
“In those early days, with a team of five, we each did a lot of driving ourselves, in addition to charting a new course, bending technology to the challenge of fast, reliable delivery using an asset-light model. Being on the road helped us to always keep both customers and delivery drivers in mind and put us on a path of continuous innovation,” recalls Peter.
An example of this attention to doing things better is how UniUni’s Driver App uses route-optimization algorithms to ensure 70 per cent of a driver’s stops are on their right-hand side. This saves time, reduces fuel consumption, and avoids the hazards of crossing roadways.
But as they worked under the hood, it was a visiting logistics executive that helped truly turbocharge the business. He spotted a UniUni branded vehicle, and connected Peter and Kevin with international e-commerce giants, looking for alternatives to traditional delivery options.
“The dominant delivery companies had a lot of extra costs, capacity issues, and less flexibility,” explains Kevin, now UniUni General Manager. “With UniUni’s independent contractor drivers repurposing their own vehicles for work, there’s no need to maintain costly fleets. Perfect scaling with demand is possible, ensuring full vehicles and reduced mileage while increasing speed and efficiency.”
UniUni was rapidly expanding its network across Canada when the pandemic hit—accelerating e-commerce home delivery. Attaining ISO 9001 and Canada Border Services Agency’s Partners in Protection certifications helps sustain long-term stability. Innovation continues with state-of-the-art robotic sorting systems planned to increase sorting speeds, improve accuracy, and provide around-the-clock capabilities and efficiency.
David Adderley, partner at Celtic House Venture Partners, UniUni’s lead Canadian investor, said it has proven stubbornly difficult for digitally-native e-commerce players to master the last mile.
“Last-mile delivery is an essential component of the customer experience for any online retailer, as it takes the retailer’s brand from the checkout cart all the way to its customer’s doorstep. In the same way that Uber disrupted the taxi industry and food delivery, UniUni is disrupting the B2C last-mile delivery model with an asset-light delivery and logistics platform optimized for e-commerce.”
Now in over 180 cities in nine provinces, UniUni has embarked on a massive expansion in the United States. Los Angeles was chosen first for its challenging and dynamic last-mile logistics market. Hubs are now also fully operational in New York City, Dallas, Miami, and Chicago, with an ambitious roadmap to add dozens more cities in the coming year.
Powered by its commitment to continuous innovation and investment in proprietary technology and customer service, the road ahead looks bright for UniUni, and for e-commerce companies seeking a better route to affordable last-mile delivery.