What does it mean to make it in the north? This is part of a series of portraits of local people, organisations, and companies working to further internationalise Groningen, Friesland, and Drenthe. This time we spoke to Trang Nguyen, Founder of innovative start-up SendByShare, which is based in Emmen. SendByShare hopes to revolutionise the transport industry with a more green, social, and people-based way of moving packages and parcels.
By Hans de Preter
Trang Nguyen first moved to Tilburg in 2014 to complete a master’s degree, but she is now living in Emmen and has started up a delivery company called SendByShare that could forever change the transportation in inner cities.
What SendByShare does is to give cyclists in the city the opportunity to earn money by delivering parcels or packages using their own bicycles. So, they earn money while riding, and also help the city to remain clean and green.
The SendByShare system consists of three parts, a courier app for despatchers, an order management system for senders and a tracking platform for receivers: a sort-of ‘crowdshipping’ business model that connects cyclists with retail shop owners.
Nguyen, originally from Vietnam, is full of ambition and enthusiasm. She wants so much more than just getting people to install her courier app: “I want to make SendByShare a habit, so that one of the first things a person does in the morning is to open the SendByShare (SBS) courier app to see if they can help reduce traffic jams and air pollution, by picking up a few packages and dropping them off on the way to work or to school”, she says.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Nguyen’s master’s degree is in Supply Chain Management, and her business idea even won a prize in 2017: “I have been nurturing my businessplan for SendByShare since winning first place in UPS’ Business Case Competition in 2017, held at Tilburg University. The competition challenged its participants to come up with a solution for the transportation industry to face a new law regarding the ban of petrol and diesel fueled cars and motorcycles from 2030 in an effort to clean up the air”, Nguyen says.
Her winning idea at that time was to create an app for cyclists that shows packages in need of delivery close to where the user is. If the person finds it convenient to deliver the packages on their daily commute, they will pick up the packages and deliver them for a decent rate. Her business idea was soon recognised and facilitated by Zero To One – an organisation tailored to help innovative startups in the North of The Netherlands hit the ground running.
So, what has Nguyen made of her move to Drenthe? ‘When people starts a new company, they usually feel the need to do it in a big city. However, in the digital age, if the core of your business is the technology behind it, it really doesn’t matter where you are based. Emmen is definitely an interesting region for start-ups, because you get so much help and facilitation for making it happen in such a small town. You don’t really get that kind of encouragement in big cities’.
Trang Nguyen’s SendByShare is part of a growing ecosystem of innovative start-ups and scale-ups in the transport industry in the Northern Netherlands. To find out more about SendByShare, just visit their website. To find out more about innovative companies in the North, head to Make it in the North.