SalesTechStar Interview with Felipe Chavez, CEO and Co-Founder of Kiwibot
Bots are set to change how last mile delivery challenges and logistics models in retail will function in the future, Felipe Chavez, CEO and Co-Founder of Kiwibot takes us through a few industry trends in this quick QnA:
Hi Felipe, welcome to SalesTechStar! We’d love to hear about your journey in tech through the years and how the idea behind Kiwibot came about?
Thank you for the space! My journey in tech and entrepreneurship goes a long way back to our first startup Lulo, a delivery service for university students back in my home country, Colombia. We started this initiative because we saw from firsthand the importance of providing convenience to different communities. After some time and selling that startup to a great Latin-American unicorn we founded Kiwibot with the constant support of UC Berkeley that was our sandbox, where with hard work and dedication we found the necessary support to make this idea a reality that at this moment is providing services in 3 continents and 5 states in the U.S.
We’d love to hear a little more about your recent autonomous bot delivery campaign with Wrapify and Gong?
This is definitely one of the most interesting opportunities that we as Kiwibot are developing right now. One of the interesting things of being the CEO of a start-up like ours is that you can see how fast a business and revenue model can be transformed and improved. In this case with these two amazing companies, Wrapify the performance driven ad-tech platform and Gong the revenue intelligence platform, we are proposing and implementing a new model of OOH advertising using our robots that — besides being attractive — are able to provide information to optimize the ad process and targeting of the campaigns.
What are some of the biggest thoughts you have surrounding the use of bots in B2C and Retail today? How will this grow in the future and redefine last mile delivery and logistics across industries in the years to come?
Especially during 2020, we were able to perceive the importance of creating new ways to approach the customers ensuring their safety and being able to constantly improve the time and cost of the delivery services. Right now, there are two main ideas that allow me to inspire myself and my team about the future.
- The internet of atoms — Meaning that, in Kiwibot, we believe that the next technological revolution in the world will not be a cellphone of 1000 USD but a meal with robotic delivery included of 5 USD. This sounds like a simple concept, but in depth it contains the idea of optimizing as much as possible the service of retail delivery and being able to provide at a really low even minimal cost, this service for any kind of community.
- Zero emissions logistics — I’m a firm believer in climate action on start-ups and companies, and I believe that with companies like Kiwibot that have in its DNA the idea of having zero emission logistics we could actually achieve the goals that we have as global society. Is not just a responsibility of governments, every organization should have a plan to tackle this problem and throwing away the idea that you need a fuel-based car to deliver a burrito is simple but incredibly powerful.
Can you share a few thoughts on some other top advances you are seeing change supply chain measures and last mile delivery challenges of today?
On one side I think that integration is one of the most important and exciting things that are happening today and that will increase in the future, having the opportunity to integrate for example Kiwibot with other great initiatives from SADRs and Drones to Social services is absolutely exciting and it opens opportunities for lots of other businesses. On the other hand, the information that we are able to get and provide to improve the life of people with the last mile delivery have unlimited potential. What I mean is that making this last-mile delivery a service that is done by a robot we are able to create new ways of engaging with the communities and even proposing ways of improving their quality of life-giving information about the state of the sidewalk, the danger for pedestrians and other relevant information.
As retailers and industries adjust to the new normal and create safer contactless deliveries; what are some of the biggest challenges you are still seeing affect smaller to medium companies as they invest and implement in technologies to face challenges?
Definitely cost is the challenge that worries me the most and is also one of the ones that I’m more committed to solve. SMBs are losing money every day when they use some services of delivery either through an extra cost that is too high for the customer or with an excessive cost for them related to the service, in that sense when you offer them a service that allows them to reduce the cost effectively and that also allows them to create a sense of community around their clients is great. This takes me to the second point that is the acceptance coming from the communities and clients, is self-evident that technological disruption is going to continue happening and every time at a faster pace so, SMBs need to be able to adapt, change and train their people and systems according to the required technology and this more than time or financial effort, requires a mindset shift, where we combine the strength of the essence of their business with the reality of ongoing progress.
A few thoughts on the impact of robotics across industries and what business leaders should watch out for in this space?
Firstly, robotics are here to stay, and I’m 100% sure that every single industry will be affected, disrupted and changed by it either on a small or big scale. So, the first thing to watch out is a close mindset, when you refuse to accept the fact that all businesses will radically change in the next 10 years you are affecting your business in the close and mid future, so I invite everyone to check what is happening in your industry, ask yourselves what is the latest advancement that is happening in the world in this field and how I can implement it in my business in the short, mid and long term.
Second, we need to remember that we use this kind of systems to improve the services to our customers so we should never forget that our most important responsibility is to ensure the safety and satisfaction of the customer, is easy to get lost in all the information and boom of a robotics implementation and to forget that at the end of the day we as business are serving people.
Lastly, I believe that all business leaders across industries should help to create the regulative framework that will bring these products and services closer to reality. Technology goes faster than law, but if we get involved, participate in the conversations and encourage the public sector to have a positive, innovative and forward-thinking regarding robotics, I’m sure that we will be able to create more and more disruptive solutions.
Some parting thoughts on your biggest leadership learning or goof up in 2020 and a few tips for tech founders!
The first one is the balance between resilience and flexibility, when you are faced with such a level of uncertainty you need to ground your feet on reality and make sure that things will continue happening despite the situation, but you also need to have the flexibility to adapt yourself, your routines and even your business and mental models to the reality that is facing you.
Second one, the team, the team, the team. It is cliche, but sometimes cliches are true. Taking care of your teams will allow you to move forward faster and effectively. In that sense my advice is don’t allow a momentary situation to deviate from the simple fact that when you are the leader of an organization or a team you work with people. Yes, of course, results need to come, but I can assure you that if you have the right people with the right mindset, results will come faster and strongly.
Kiwibot is a last-mile delivery service that uses cute little robots to communicate atoms within a community. Currently, Kiwibot operates in 3 continents and in 5 states of the united states and with more than 100.000 successful deliveries is leading the last-mile revolution through its innovative and powerful service and vision.
Felipe is a visionary leader that allows his work to share his ideas and vision for a better future, with more than 8 years of experience in entrepreneurship, He has challenged several paradigms of the tech startup ecosystem with 2 successful initiatives (Lulo and Kiwibot) and right now he and his team are revolutionizing what he calls the “Internet of Atoms”