You know that South African retail giant who can deliver groceries to your home or office in just 60 minutes? Well, they have Kimberley Taylor and her team at Loop to thank for it. She wrote an algorithm which later turned into a delivery management platform that it utilised by those drivers…
Loop empowers companies to cleverly optimise and scale their delivery systems. It operates on three platforms: a web-based control where logistics are monitored, an iOS and Android driver app, and a customer tracking app.
No ad to show here.
Taylor tells Ventureburn it all started with a third-year chemical engineering assignment at Wits university in 2015. As a high-potential student, she was tasked with developing an algorithm that shortened the possible distance between cities for a travelling salesman.
One year later, a conversation with a friend in the logistics space helped her connect the dots.
“I asked if logistics companies use some sort of route optimisation algorithm to help drivers know what’s the shortest route they need to travel,” she recalls.
As it turned out, there was a massive need for a digitised platform that connected providers with their supply network and customers in an efficient, cost-effective way.
“I saw such a gap. Drivers don’t have something to help plan their routes. There’s no visibility for the business or the consumer. The communication channels were very complex. That was the basis for what I thought we would build.”
Landing the first client
Taylor spent her final year at Wits finishing her honours degree while also constructing what would later become Loop. This was based on meetings with potential clients to find out what they needed to provide a faster, smarter service.
Through sheer determination, courage and good old-fashioned street smarts, she landed her first customer on the novelty of her idea. “You just need a few seconds of bravery to cold call someone or speak to someone in a coffee shop,” she says.
Her business portfolio now includes major players in the delivery and service space like Nando’s, Checkers and Servest.
She believes that Loop is a game-changer for these businesses.
“It’s a fully integrated system that connects delivery companies with all the players in their operation, from suppliers to customers,” she says. “It allows dispatch managers to make delivery decisions based on efficiency and cost, guided by data from daily operations, which Loop cleverly scrutinises so that businesses can save time and money. It’s a completely customisable app that supports each operational tier from the top down.”
The best part is that all of Loop’s functionalities are individually configurable for different business models, and according to Taylor that is really what sets Loop apart: its ability to respond in real time to the evolving needs of its users.
The tech space, traditionally dominated by men, can be intimidating but Taylor’s unconventional entry into this fast paced, unpredictable environment shielded her a little from what might have scared others off.
“I didn’t know anything about business. I didn’t have adults in my life that were in that corporate space. In some ways, I actually think that helped a lot,” she admits.
Making things better
She draws inspiration from her mother, a Brazilian immigrant who also built a business from scratch. “My mom is an incredible woman in her own right. She has such an amazing story. She’s an incredible example of a brave woman who’s lifted herself up.”
The same innate strength of character and consistency that Taylor used to bring Loop into the world is the fuel that she uses to keep her creative juices flowing. It’s this powerful mix of passion and ingenuity that she is harnessing to make it better day by day.
She’s always thinking of ways to make the experience of using the app better for everyone involved in the supply chain, from a driver on the back of his motorbike dodging rush hour traffic to make sure a delivery arrives on time, to the CEO lying awake at night worrying about how to maximise business efficiency.
From those first small seeds planted in 2015, Loop has grown in leaps and bounds as Taylor and her team learn more about specific client needs. “In the beginning, it’s like playing checkers. But eventually you need to play chess. It’s about understanding where the market is going.”