April 18, 2023

Q&A with WARP Co-Founders

What prompted you to start WARP?

Daniel: When e-commerce sales exploded in 2020, parcel delivery direct to consumer’s homes’ replaced store commerce almost entirely at first and shipments became more fragmented, and as a result, LTL began to grow in tandem with the need for middle mile optimization. But no one could successfully use legacy LTL solutions to meet critical injection times at last mile carrier’s sortation centers, including ours at AxleHire. Missing a delivery time by 1-2 hours could mean a customer will get their package a full day later. After experiencing this firsthand, we knew there had to be a better way to move goods through the traditional hub and spoke model, and we were going to invent one.

Troy: It makes no sense to have so many empty trucks and empty space in trucks running around. Shippers have different freight needs on a daily basis. Even if a truck is doing a route daily, there’ll be different pallet/carton/case counts based on the dynamic demand from consumers. A “pay for what space you use” model is needed to best match their specific shipment requirements and load sizes. In addition, visibility throughout the middle-mile supply chain generally sucks. Traditionally, shippers spent more time moving pallets to stores. That meant they only tracked the trucks. Today these pallets on trucks often contain hundreds of parcels with hundreds of tracking numbers connected to individual customers needing updates on their parcels’ whereabouts.

There was a huge blank space about where a shipment was as it moved through the traditional hub and spoke network of the middle mile. Many shippers’ WMS technologies lack the ability to scan many parcels to one pallet, meaning shippers and end customers receive zero visibility from when it leaves the origin location to reaching the last mile carrier destination. We realized that to increase efficiency, lower cost, and provide better visibility for customers we had to build a fully connected network of carriers and cross-docks WITH the right tech to provide this all-in-one solution.

Have you always been interested in logistics?

D: I’ve grown up in logistics. I worked for my family’s courier company as a young kid, went on to run a food delivery company in college, and spent the last 7 years before WARP building AxleHire, a last-mile logistics company for every company not named Amazon. So it’s safe to say that yes, I’ve always been interested in logistics, it’s in my blood. The inspiration for AxleHire came first-hand as part of my parents courier business and seeing the inefficiencies up close and personal. I knew even as a young kid there must be an easier way to handle doorstep delivery. Now we’re taking what we learned with AxleHire and applying it to WARP.

T: Yes, born from a love of food delivery. My parents separated when I was around 8- years-old and I went to live with my Dad full time. He didn’t cook, and as a third-grader I didn’t know how to either. We ordered food delivery just about every day, collecting actual physical menus and over time I became interested in how it all worked.

So when I was 18 during my first year in college, I started my own on-demand food delivery service. Got distracted being an 18-year-old, stopped, but came back to try again two more times in the following years! After three failed food delivery attempts, I soon became obsessed with making local delivery more effective. This led me to found Covet Shipping, one of the first hyper-local, micro-fulfillment companies specializing in same-day delivery services for direct-to-consumer and CPG brands. By leveraging a network of urban micro warehouses located in shipping containers, parking lots and basements, Covet Shipping handled the picking, packing, and shipping of goods (most popular SKUs) for expedited urban delivery. Covet was acquired by AxleHire which was how Daniel and I originally met.

What’s in a name?

D: WARP is as much about the new era of commerce as it is about reinventing middle-mile logistics. Our vision is to create a fully optimized end-to-end commerce ecosystem that enables brands to exceed customer expectations. How do we do that? By WARPing the way we think about logistics, WARPing the way we connect the supply chain, and WARPing our customer’s minds as we provide a fully connected, more efficient, cost-effective way to move freight.

T: It’s provocative, gets the people going.

What was your very first venture as an entrepreneur?

D: In the 4th grade I spent my summer in the park near my home in Los Angeles selling candy bars, ice cream, and Gatorade at the basketball court. If you asked me as a kid what I wanted to do when I grew up I’d say, “I want to have my own business”, not even really knowing what that meant at the time.

T: I ran a school store shop out of my desk in fifth grade. My mom was a teacher in Flushing Queens NY and she would get these really cool Japanese-style lead pencils and erasers and I would sell them to my classmates. I loved transacting with people and providing them with something cool and unique they couldn’t find elsewhere.

What is WARP doing differently than other 3PLs or brokerages?

D: WARP uses proprietary algorithms that sort the best way to move goods based on affordability, speed, or service preferences​ using truck-sharing, back-hauling, and multi-vehicle options to right-size capacity on a per pallet basis. Our team has already successfully built a last mile solution, a space that requires more responsive technology, API integrations for the shipper and greater visibility of real-time parcel movement. WARP’s platform gives users capabilities and control — to design, analyze, and manage networks like playing a video game.

T: We’re optimizing the supply chain for customers based on their preference for speed or cost and anything in between and we’re pooling a variety of assets within our network to do so. Optimization doesn’t stipulate that certain strategies must be part of the solution but makes the best decision mathematically based on rates and service. It doesn’t require that LTL be used at all. If other answers produce better results, that should be part of the middle-mile equation, depending completely on the shipper’s specific situation. It might reallocate inventory between two nearby retail stores, using a last-mile delivery network instead of LTL. What might seem unconventional doesn’t matter if it works to deliver most optimally in terms of money, time, and performance metrics.

What do you see as the next big thing in logistics?

D: The logistics of space. There are already companies that are building out an entire supply chain for outer space assets like the international space station and as consumer-facing space travel grows there will be an even greater need to get things where they need to go from earth to the moon and back.

T: The logistics of space. Our species is going to colonize space in our lifetimes. Right now things like blue origin or Virgin galactic are novelty and reserved for the uber-wealthy. However, as issues + tensions on this planet rise, there’ll be a “space rush” similar to the 1800s gold rush in the Western US.

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