Home Health Home deliveries, the founder of Milkman: “You don’t innovate with industry experts”

Home deliveries, the founder of Milkman: “You don’t innovate with industry experts”

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“The best innovation is done with non-domain experts. If I had hired people who came from the world of couriers, I would have killed my startup, because they would have brought us back to the existing canons and prevented us from finding new ways “: so Antonio Perini explains how in the last 10 years he has managed to radically change the world of home delivery, first with Viamente and then with Milkman, and how he is preparing to do it again with Milkman Technologies.

“Not knowing is an advantage, because it allows you to see things from a new perspective and without that culture that dominates the reference industry – he told us – The risk is to make many mistakes, but the skills you have to look for after you have validated. the disruptive model you are working on. But it also takes a lot of brainwashing work on the people you take from the industry ”. For about a year, Perini works on a new startup, Milkman Technologies, almost a spin-off of Milkman, an innovative courier that takes care of the last mile, organizing deliveries based on the requests of the recipients.

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The courier was acquired by Poste Italiane through the foundation of a new company, Mlk Deliveries, while the technology remained in Milkman, which is now called Milkman Technologies: “Couriers have always snubbed the last mile, often left to owners, but with the explosion of e-commerce everyone has realized the importance of a guaranteed delivery “. Sky and Nespresso were among the first to believe in the new courier, and this according to Perini showed how strong this need was. Poste has reserved the exclusive rights for Italy of the technology developed by Milkman, acquiring 70% of Mlk Deliveries for 15 million euros (the rest is owned by Milkman) and investing 5 million for 6% of Milkman in a 10 million euro round which also involved Italia 500 and previous investors (P101, 360 Capital and Vertis). Perini is now free to sell the technology developed by his startup across Europe to couriers and stores.

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It is not the first time that Perini engages in such an operation: in 2015, after meeting Tommaso Baù (with whom he will found Milkman), he had done the opposite. Milkman was created using the technology that Perini had developed with Viamente, founded by with Marco Porcaro and acquired by the Americans of WorkWave in 2012 for 5 million dollars. The goal was to create a newly developed courier. Viamente had developed a technology to optimize the logistics routes of deliveries, a service initially designed to serve companies such as Cortilia, another startup founded by Perini and Porcaro, who then shared the responsibilities of the two companies. Milkman was a bet: Perini wanted to demonstrate that an innovative courier could be created with the developed technology. Milkman Technologies is a gamble again, according to which Milkman’s platform can be put at the service of stores and couriers to cover the last mile: “In 2009, distribution was too expensive and was not lean, because the technology was unsuitable. We thought of Viamente per Cortilia, but a second later we realized that it could be useful to many others. It was the venture capitalists we spoke to at the time who made us understand that they were two different businesses ”.

Milkman in realtà it was a losing bet, is Perini’s admission: “I thought Viamente was enough to do the kind of courier I had in mind. Then, trying to create a courier, I ran into difficulties that I had to solve. So inside Milkman we started developing a proprietary platform, from which Milkman Technologies was born ”.

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The competition is not lacking: the biggest rivals are Bringg, Israeli startup which has already raised $ 184 million, and FarEye, startup indiana which raised 150 million dollars, both founded in 2013: “We are very experienced in managing a direct fleet, while Bringg is on click & collect and FarEye on commercial couriers – Perini told us – It is a market that is growing a lot, but it is also very recent, because the world of e-commerce has understood with the pandemic that the last mile is the most important battle ”.

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However, it is necessary to have the courage to say no, sometimes: “In my previous experiences, at the beginning I was often compliant with the first customers because we were flexible and needed to bring them on board – recalled Perini – Three years later, with a structured company, those contracts backfired on me. When you are a startup, you always want to close the contract, but it is necessary to have courage and go to understand how important your offer is for the customer and how much his requests could place constraints on your future growth “.

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