On October 9, 2018, at Post-Expo in Hamburg, 16 startups pitched before a jury of postal and logistics industry experts, presenting their solutions and technologies which should have an impact on the sector, maybe even be a game changer. The Startup Day featured products and services designed to address some of the biggest challenges facing the post and parcel industry, such as last-mile and first-mile logistics; direct marketing and advertising mail; and operational efficiency, including automation, autonomous solutions and AI.
The Startup Day and the PostalPitch Startup Competition, organized by the Postal Innovation Platform (PIP) in partnership with PostalVision, was one of the main highlights of this year’s Post-Expo.
Fizyr – a Netherlands-based company that leverages AI, robotics and machine learning to improve parcel sorting in delivery logistics – has been selected as StartUp Innovation of the Year.
Herbert ten Have, CEO at Fizyr, underlined that “Robotics are scarce in logistics because they have difficulty handling variation. Every item looks different for a robot. We apply deep learning which allows robots to cope with variation. Our software classifies parcels and can determine the best grasp location. Our AI software is applied globally. This makes us unique and a perfect partner for the postal and logistics sector.”
In recognizing Fizyr, the judges noted that the firm’s robot handling capabilities enable identification, quality control, counting, picking and manipulating of a pile of items with different shapes or sizes. The flexibility and its handling capabilities brings robotics to a new level, allowing an integration into sorting processes for maximizing operational efficiency.
Bernhard Bukovc, chairman, Postal Innovation Platform, said, “Post and logistics companies have to be innovative, agile and develop services and solutions that correspond to the changing demands of their customers. It is increasingly important to survey the markets for new technologies and innovative solutions and identify the startups and game-changers that can provide them. This is the reason why PIP organizes startup events and brings together industry leaders with outstanding startups”
The panel of judges of the Startup Competition consisted of:
Dr. Clemens Beckmann, Executive Vice President Innovation, Deutsche Post DHL
Elmar Toime, Chairman, Postea Group
Sue Barton, Accenture
Khalil Daoud, CEO, Liban Post
Olaf Klargaard, Director Innovation, Geopost
Karlijn Krol, Startup Scout, PostNL
Janick Mischler, Program Manager Autonomous Delivery, Swiss Post
Tulsi Patel, Senior Ventures Associate, Plug and Play
Brody Buhler of Accenture commented, “It’s worthwhile to imagine what the world might look like in 10 or 20 years, given the tremendous ongoing disruption that has affected and continues to affect the post and parcel industry. There is immense opportunity for organizations with the foresight, discipline and creativity to think beyond today. These are the organizations that are not waiting to be disrupted by e-commerce innovation or other macro forces. They are exploring new ways to capture value.”
John Callan of PostalVision 2020, commented, “PostalPitch entries represent entrepreneurs from all across the global, postal-parcel-logistics system. We are pleased to be showcasing entrepreneurs from Europe to India to Silicon Valley.”