1Fetch is an on-demand motorbike courier service available at the push of a button via an app. It was founded in 2015 by Panico Theocharides and Jason Psillos, and commercially launched on 23 June 2016.
Theocharides, a qualified chartered accountant, began his career in investment banking in the late 1990s and spent close to 15 years in the investment banking and financial services space. He has been involved in several entrepreneurial endeavours across a range of sectors including financial services, property and technology.
Psillos, also a qualified chartered accountant, spent eight years in the financial services arena, including corporate finance, private equity and financial markets.
Theocharides and Psillos have been changing the traditional courier industry with 1Fetch.
“As opposed to traditional couriers, we are doing it quicker, easier and simpler; we’re a courier at the touch of a button,” says Psillos.
Launched after 15 months of development, 1Fetch is a novel concept born of a very real need for an effective, fast and secure courier service.
1Fetch is an on-demand motorbike courier service that’s available via the 1Fetch app. Just at the touch of a button you can book and pay for your delivery and have your package picked up within minutes.
1Fetch uses a fleet of motorbikes instead of conventional delivery vehicles (cars, bakkies and trucks), streamlining the delivery process and efficiently navigating SA’s traffic congestion.
It also delivers directly to the destination, immediately – no warehouse stopovers, no delays. 1Fetch is completely secure, using geo-tracking to ensure you know the whereabouts of your package from collection to delivery. All payments are handled via an external accredited payment processor.
“This service was launched in Sandton due to the location’s high utility and convenience spend. We live in a fast paced world where time comes at a premium and instant gratification is important to corporates and individual consumers,” says Theocharides. “Today’s consumer is driven by an ‘I want it now’ mentality, and we’re here to deliver exactly that. We guarantee a collection time of 90 minutes. To date we haven’t missed one.”
1Fetch will collect within a 20km radius of Sandton but will deliver anywhere in the greater Johannesburg area. “So for collection we’ll go up to Gold Reef City in the south, north up to Midrand, east until Germiston and west just past Randburg,” says Psillos.
HOW 1FETCH WAS BORN AND WHY
Psillos and Theocharides crossed paths during their investment banking careers and have stayed in touch over the past decade.
“The idea of 1Fetch was born as a solution to a personal frustration that we’d experienced over many years,” says Theocharides.
They spent years in the corporate and financial sectors in medium sized corporates that found it difficult to justify the cost of full time drivers.
“What would happen to us – and what generally happens in the workplace – is that staff (often highly qualified) would be sent out to perform ad hoc drop offs to clients, service providers, bankers, lawyers, shareholders, board members, etc and this will cost valuable company time and money,” says Theocharides.
However, they noticed a global trend towards outsourcing, with a drive by corporates to reduce fixed overheads and fixed headcounts, and essentially “take things off balance sheet”.
“The timing was opportune for us and when I approached Jason about 1Fetch he believed in the concept. Two days later we were moving forward together,” says Theocharides.
Theocharides believes that Jason’s background as a CA and savvy personality are suited to a business like 1Fetch.
“Jason has the technological bias and astute business acumen to back all that up. He has that well-rounded skill set that’s required to move this operation forward,” says Theocharides.
HANDS-ON APPROACH/MANAGEMENT STYLE
The 1Fetch founders’ business and management styles complement each other, with Theocharides’s forceful method and Psillos’s softer approach allowing them to temper each other quite well.
The key to the success of 1Fetch is the hands-on management approach, with both founders involved in the business and with Psillos responsible for driving the operation.
“The fact that we employ our own bikers and own our own bikes does tick a lot of boxes. We’ve got complete quality control – we do a bike inspection every single morning and we interview every single driver personally, together with running background checks via an agency. There is a difference between controlling that process and outsourcing that process,” says Psillos.
INVESTING IN PEOPLE TO BUILD THE BRAND
Psillos is proud of the fact that all 1Fetch bikers are hand-picked by Theocharides and himself.
According to Psillos, the bikers are the face of 1Fetch and they’ve been trained on how to present themselves and represent the business.
“Our bikers are part of our marketing team, actually – they are the direct marketers,” says Psillos.
“We’re investing in our people and building them up to build our brand,” says Theocharides.
CURRENT AND FUTURE GROWTH
One of the exciting recent developments is that 1Fetch is integrating its on-demand service offering into Afrihost’s ClientZone as an express courier option. Afrihost are very happy to incorporate a section powered by 1Fetch that will get the goods to their clients in the greater Johannesburg area within three hours.
“We’re now integrating into retail e-commerce back end systems which allows us to offer an express delivery option in the greater Johannesburg area,” says Psillos.
BigWorld Mobile is another of the company’s clients, and 1Fetch offers delivery at similar cost to traditional couriers but delivers instantly on an order being placed, as opposed to a few days. “We’ve changed the playing field. Immediate delivery means immediate customer satisfaction and spend, meaning greater revenue for our client. It’s a win-win”, says Theocharides.
1Fetch will be expanding across South Africa soon. “We’re planning to be in more of the major metropolitan areas in the first quarter of next year,” says Psillos.