Interview With Niklas Tauch, Founder Of Local Green Delivery Platform Liefergrün

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Your HQ is in Muenster (Germany), which is not the most common location for a tech company. What’s the story behind the company being there, and did the place influence your services?

We three founders, Robin, Max, and I, all studied in Münster and got to know each other here. As a well-known city of bikes, Münster was the source of inspiration for our business idea. In Münster, you can do everything by bike. So why not complete the last mile environmentally friendly like that?

Our second mainstay is in Berlin. However, over the past few years, Münster has also increasingly proved to be an outstanding start-up location. It turned out that Münster University is a talent pool from which we can recruit high potential people.

That’s why Münster remains our HQ.

Niklas Tauch

Since founding Liefergrün – looking back – did everything go faster or slower than expected?

Time flies when you think directly about the next steps. The team grows every month, the volume gets bigger, the customers are more demanding. Founding means celebrating the highs and learning from the lows. Sometimes you forget to reflect on how far you’ve come. But looking back I would say it definitely went much faster than ever expected.

Your mode of delivery has a considerably lower CO2 footprint. Can you explain how you achieve this and what it could mean at scale?

Liefergrün is a shipping service provider for sustainable, innovative, and customer-friendly deliveries. To achieve this, we connect e-commerce with a green urban delivery fleet network. Our local partners deliver within the city using electric-powered cargo bikes or electric cars so that the delivery can be completed with zero emissions.

But sustainability alone is not the reason why Enterprises choose us. Also, the way doing the last mile is more convenient by promising to be the most precise delivery option, also providing time-slot delivery is the reason why. Our credo was always that end-consumers always prefer the most convenient products; so when you build the most convenient product in an environmentally way, you can really generate an impact!

Just expressed in numbers, parcel delivery in Germany causes an average roundabout of 600g CO2eq. Having 12 million parcels delivered each year in Germany shows which huge potential we have to save emissions. We are currently certificating our impact on an LCA.

What other improvements are possible to even further reduce CO2 emissions per delivery?

Efficiency is key! Emissions can be reduced even further on the last mile through route optimization and the micro-mobility approach. Our delivery concept is not only based on delivering parcels with the most environmentally friendly vehicle possible, but also on making the route a highly efficient one. The Liefergrün software provides our drivers with maximally optimized routes in terms of time, distance, and stop frequency.

Furthermore, micro hubs are the solution for sustainable inner-city logistics, so that deliveries are no longer executed from a central warehouse. These are usually located far outside the city, making it impossible to deliver by bike. Micro hubs, on the other hand, are distributed throughout the city center.

This decentralized last mile solution bundles the delivery traffic so that the large combustion vehicles are no longer needed.

How is your product better than the competition — if you had to explain in simple language?

Firstly, we are far ahead of other parcel delivery companies in terms of sustainability. There is only one way to deliver parcels in an environmentally friendly way: Emissions must be radically reduced to a minimum. While the large conventional shipping service providers compensate for emissions, we avoid them in the first step.

Secondly, we asked ourselves “why can I get a Pizza within minutes but not decide when my parcels should be delivered?” Following this approach, we made parcel delivery not only greener but also more transparent, precise, and more flexible: You decide in which time slots your parcels should be delivered and simultaneously getting real-time statuses via our App to always be aware of the journey.

What are currently the main challenges you have?

Currently, our main challenge is to let our partners scale with us (the supply side). For this, they need a higher number of e-cars and cargo bikes. We will expand our platform in the future by offering our delivery partners the possibility to lease the vehicles directly from us.  

Are there any cleantech companies, or cleantech pioneers, which particularly inspire you?

Like probably most of your readers, I am a big Tesla fan. Tesla has revolutionized the industry as a tech company rather than a classic car manufacturer. The software is always the heart of the car. The company is popping up with innovation and creates a whole world with, charging stations, entertainment around the product, etc.. That really excites me.

Where do you hope Liefergrün is in 2 years and in 5 years?

We want Liefergrün to become the main player for convenient green deliveries in DACH in the next two years. The more companies shift to sustainable deliveries, the greater our impact on meeting the two-degree target for a more sustainable future.

Our goal is to revolutionize the last mile by building a European network over the next 5 years. 

Are there any trends in cleantech and climate you feel are overlooked, or should receive more attention?

Too little attention has been paid to the individual offsetting of one’s own ecological footprint. We all live with a guilty conscience all the time because we produce too much carbon dioxide in our daily lives. The feeling of being powerless to do anything that has a real impact can thus disappear to some extent. With the company Wren, individuals can calculate their personal footprint and find projects to offset the emissions.

What would you try to be working on if you weren’t running Liefergrün?

There are so many industries that have a big need for innovative sustainable solutions. Besides the logistics sector, I see huge potential for change in aviation. So if I hadn’t founded Liefergrün, I could see my career path here.

If you could enact any policy changes, what would those be?

Make our cities more livable and ban cars from the streets! Honestly, looking at the ratios of how much space is planned in a city for cars, living, biking, or walking, it’s ridiculous to see that the cities are built for cars and not for people.

The policy should expand cycle paths and distribute charging stations for e-bikes throughout the whole city.

Are there any companies or organizations you’d love to work together with, and why? Maybe one of our readers can help you get in contact!

We are looking for a company with which we could cooperate regarding charging stations. Of course, Tesla comes to my mind, but maybe one of your readers has an insider tip for me.

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Benjamin Schulz

I'm investing in positive companies and am passionate about climate action and long-term human challenges. Early partner at BEAM (United People of Climate Action) and CleanTechnica (#1 cleantech-focused new & analysis website in the world), among others.

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