Their boxes in boxes grow like hot cakes. “One Boxy opens a week,” says even David Gabay, co-founder of Tom Hyatt. One of the last of these containers, converted into local shops, landed on April 29 at the Rue du Parque in Hainaut-Blair-Saint-Symphorien, about thirty kilometers from Chartres (Eure-et-Loir).
In 2019, the project of two 27-year-old senior school friends was born, respectively graduates of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales du Nord (Edhec), the National School of Bridges and Roads and the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS). More than half of the population lives at a distance of more than two kilometers from the store. That is, you have to take your car, says David Gabay. Demand for fast and practical local services is growing and some emergency purchases are in short supply. »
The first fundraising of five million euros, as well as the second of 25 million euros last year, accelerated the creation of enterprises, the recruitment of talent, delivery workers, the purchase of a fleet of trucks and more. The first store opened in August 2020 in Ile-de-France in a renovated 15 m2 container.
“They are equipped with refrigerators, dry shelves,” explains the young man. In a small shop from two hundred to two hundred and fifty essentials, “products, but also snacks, catering, confectionery and beverages.” But there is no alcohol on the shelves: “Mostly due to regulations and the age of customers. It is also a request from municipalities to avoid trouble. In addition, it is forbidden to sell alcohol in ordinary supermarkets after 22:00, ”said David Gabay, who explained that he was inspired by American models, such as 7-Eleven stores.
The drone is available at any time of the day or night thanks to a mobile phone and the latest technology. “You download the Boxy app to create an account with your name, credit card, and email address. And this is the customer’s phone used to unlock the Boxy door. “Once inside, you can put down your phone. A high-tech tracking system with cameras housed inside and sensors on the shelves will take care of everything else in these ultra-connected gondolas.
Three patents were filed. “The customer is in a state of self-service, for example, in a store or grocery store, but the system will understand when he takes the goods or puts them,” – says David Gabay. One or two minutes after leaving the store, the customer receives an invoice on his phone. It will be written off within 24 hours. Several people can come to the store at the same time. “The technology used is French, the data is managed in France,” said business leaders, who want to reassure them that they are operating under the control of the National Commission for Computing and Freedom (Cnil).
For municipalities with more than 1,000 residents without business
Replenishment suppliers then replenish stocks, and the tour can be continued to Eure-et-Loir. “We have other projects. Our goals are all cities with a population of 1,000 to 50,000 people who suffer or even have a complete lack of non-specialized food businesses. “The goal for those who appeal to all elected officials who would like to fill the gap:” Install at least half a dozen Boxy in the department. »
The company currently has 30 Boxys in the Paris region and neighboring departments. Young filmmakers plan to receive about sixty containers by the end of the year and 1,000 by 2025. “In France, we could install from two to three thousand,” – says David Gabay, who does not rule out that in the future to spread his idea to Europe, Belgium, Germany or Switzerland.