As a collegiate track athlete and entrepreneur, Miles Mufuka Martin ’16 knows one thing for certain: relay teams are faster than individuals. Martin was a standout member of the Pride’s track and field team during his time at Trinity-Pawling, and continued his running career in college at Sewanee: The University of the South. It was his extensive experience running the 4×100-meter relay that sparked the idea for Relai, his start-up supply chain logistics company that is set to launch later this year.
“Why do we have to wait so long for online, non-food orders? How can we get our items delivered faster? These were the driving questions behind our idea for Relai,” Martin began. “When starting our research, my co-founders and I jumped down a supply chain rabbit hole and learned so much about the shipping and distribution industry.” Martin and the Relai team discovered that there are no digital outlets for consumers to buy products that are already in a nearby store. Even a brick-and-mortar store that takes online orders reserves warehouse space elsewhere for their online products. “There are a tremendous number of products already accessible in local stores — we want to tap into those resources. Relai allows a consumer to support a local business, reduce waste, and still receive their order in a timely manner,” Martin explained.
Here’s how Relai works: the company aims to deliver packages in less than an hour from stores located no more than seven miles away from the consumer who places the order. It does this by utilizing “sprinters” to relay packages directly from storefronts to homes by bicycle, scooter, or on foot. The delivery can also be broken up into segments, in which the first sprinter hands off the package to another sprinter at a strategically-located exchange zone. Then the second sprinter completes the delivery.
Relai is set to launch in Richmond, Virginia, later this year. After concluding a successful round of beta testing this past January, Martin and his co-founders are excited to be nearing the finish line. Now, the team is primarily focused on fundraising to complete the build and ensure a successful launch.
As Martin looks back on his years at Trinity-Pawling, the entrepreneur most appreciates the supportive environment and can-do spirit of the campus community. “There are so many resources at Trinity-Pawling for a student to do and try anything,” he reflected. “I am grateful for my parents teaching me early on how to advocate for myself, so I knew how to maximize all of the opportunities available to me on campus. I’m also thankful for my teachers and mentors who supported me during my time at the School, and helped to build my self-confidence.”
Martin’s best piece of advice for current Trinity-Pawling students? “Communicate fearlessly! Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and need. Be sure to master your email etiquette and you’ll find that everyone, even the CEO, is accessible.”
And speaking of accessible: “My co-founders and I would welcome the chance to share the value of Relai with anyone who wants to learn more. Reach out to us on our website or social media channels, or if you’re in Richmond, stop by! We’d love to hear from you.”
The Trinity-Pawling community wishes Miles and the Relai team continued success!
by Emma Christiantelli