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Locker King Rafal Brzoska: Meet Poland’s newest billionaire swiping Amazon’s thunder

InPost
Image credits: InPost

Rafal Brzoska, a.k.a, Locker King, is Poland’s latest billionaire! Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s prime minister, once jokingly said he was a ‘dangerous guy.’  

Who is he? How did he start his business? 

Let us have a brief look at Rafal Brzoska’s journey, who almost drowned in debt before becoming a billionaire.

Becoming a billionaire

Rafal Brzoska is the founder and CEO of InPost, a logistics company in Poland. The company offers automated lockers for customers to arrange delivery and collection of parcels.

In January, the Polish company made a successful debut on the Amsterdam stock exchange with 32% surge shares. 

According to Bloomberg, the IPO valued InPost at $9.7B, boosting the 12% stake of Brzoska’s foundation, thereby raising his fortune to $1.5B. 

How did it all start?

Founded in 1999, Brzoska took his first step in business, delivering leaflets for pizza restaurants and other similar ventures. After some time, he sold the company to focus on postal services. 

At that point, he decided to take on Poland’s State Post monopoly by offering cheaper delivery of electric and phone bills.  

“It was then that we came up with the one famous idea to add small metal plates to letters and break the national postal monopoly,” he said. 

In 2006, he floated the company, and by 2012, it had captured a 35% share of Poland’s letter business, becoming the fastest-growing private postal operator in Europe.  

However, competing against the government’s postal service was taking a toll. As a result, Brzoska had $65M in debt and was trying to find new investors, report Forbes. 

In 2016, he decided to pull back from the letter business and reorient it into a fully-fledged logistics company. 

In 2017, Advent International bought InPost and its shareholder Integer in a $110M deal, which helped him pay off debts. On top of that, Brzoska secured $125M funding to double the size of his parcel locker network. 

One simple idea

In an interview with ING, he says, “I took something that has been present in the market for 40 years – something as simple as a PO box – and automated it.”

The automated lockers offer customers an easy way to collect or return parcels. These lockers are flexible, environmentally friendly, and have a contactless delivery option that helps them avoid unnecessary queues.

Customers can open boxes either by digital keypad or through an app on their phone. InPost wants to place the lockers within 350 metres of shops, homes, and other convenient locations. 

InPost says around 49% of the population is within a seven-minute walk of one of its lockers. 

The company owns over 12,000 automated lockers in Poland and the United Kingdom, handling around 249M deliveries. 

Reducing CO2 per parcel

According to Brzoska, a single driver delivers around 80 to 90 parcels in an eight-hour shift, generating 1.4kg of CO2 per parcel. 

“Each of our drivers supplies ten different lockers with 100 parcels each, which means we deliver about 1,000 packages during one driver’s eight-hour shift,” he says

According to the studies by the University of Milan and the Polish University of Technology, InPost is 10 times more efficient than generating 0.14kg of CO2 per parcel compared to traditional door-to-door delivery. 

What’s up now?

Brzoska is trying to replicate his success in other countries, including the largest e-commerce market – the UK. 

In Britain, the company competes directly against Amazon, which has already installed boxes in around 5,000 locations. 

To gain an edge over others, InPost plans to set up around 2,500 automated lockers by the end of this year and 10,000 lockers by 2024. 

The company targets areas like London, Birmingham, and Manchester. Consequently, the Kraków-based company partnered with retail brands including Boohoo, Missguided, and JD Sports in the UK, along with landlords that include Morrisons, TfL, and Lidl. 

Besides the UK, the company is trying to expand its operations in France and Spain in the upcoming future. 

Brzoska wants to convert his company fleet into fully Electric Vehicles (EV) in ten Polish cities. Further, the company has developed a locker terminal with an inbuilt EV charger for customers and drivers to charge their electric vehicles, he says to ING.

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