Meet the man who has grown a comparison website to a multi-million pound technology business

MPD Group has grown from a parcel delivery comparison website to a multi-million pound turnover retail and logistics technology business in just six years. Behind that story is the grit, unwavering belief and absolute determination to make it work by founder David Grimes.

“I want to be able to say ‘I changed how that industry operates’,” says Grimes, the founder and chief executive of the Manchester-based group.

 Before setting up – the website that would disrupt the courier industry – in 2010, Grimes had never worked in the delivery, retail or logistics sectors before. In fact, he had never worked for any other business before.

Straight out of Cambridge University, Grimes set up his first business at his parent’s kitchen table. Selling corporate branded merchandise, he’d get the goods shipped in from China to sell on.

“I spent all day, every day on the phone for that first six months, trying to sell to corporates. At times that was tough when I knew my friends were in the city earning whilst I was in thousands of pounds of debt from university,” he said.

 That’s where Grimes’ determination first showed itself. Eventually that first deal landed, and then the second…

It was whilst stood in the Post Office queue to send off the latest package for that business, that Grimes had his real lightbulb moment. works with the major delivery companies such as DHL, DPD and Hermes to provide businesses and eBay sellers a cost effective and reliable means of shipping their parcels.

Grimes said: “You have a black book next to your bed and you end up with hundreds of ideas. You do have to pick one and for me you have to whole heartedly believe in it, because if you don’t, who will and it is very easy to get derailed.”

Never having worked in a business before gave Grimes had the freedom to make up his own rules.

“I didn’t understand what it was like to be an employee – so there are lots of instances where I have made mistakes because I’ve not had that experience of working in a business.

“But also it’s a strength that I have been able to build the company as I think best, without having preconceived ideas,” he said.

The company took angel investment early on – that was as much about having access to advice and support as it was about the cash.

“I didn’t have much experience but knew what I wanted to achieve. I was very David Grimes secret diaryfocussed on sales and completely ignored the finance side. [My mentor and investor] highlighted the importance of that as he had done the same and it cost him hundreds of thousands to put it right when the time came,” he said.

As the business grew that one advisory voice became a board of people, each with very different experiences and expertise. Taking on venture capital was also an opportunity to grow the team of expert advisers Grimes had around him.

“We did a VC fund raise quite early on. We could have grown organically but I wanted to turbo charge it. My advice is don’t just take the cash but think about who is behind that and how they can add value and help you to grow,” said Grimes.

That first fund raising round was transformational for the business and allowed Grimes to recruit ahead of the curve and bring in experienced people so that he could be free from the day-to-day detail.

The group has raised a total of £7m since 2013 – investors and funders include NVM Private Equity, Praetura Capital and Seneca Partners.

Last year he bagged the chief technology officer of, John Crowther, as a non-executive director to advise on all things technical.

“As we have grown we have needed more experienced and more high profile advisers – which also helps when looking to raise money,” he said.

MPD Group is no longer one business – Electio, MPD’s delivery management platform, which has cost more than £2m to develop, has joined the delivery comparison site in the group as larger retailers wanted direct access to its delivery management and shipping platform.

“You have to believe in that original vision but don’t be afraid to pivot on that – if you become too tunnel visioned that can be your undoing. Take a helicopter view and see if you need to adjust what you are doing,” said Grimes.

The latest venture is a start-up peer-to-peer parcel delivery app called Postio. It takes Grimes, who has dubbed it ‘the Uber of parcel delivery’, right back to the start of his journey, but this time he’s the one passing on some of the knowledge he has accrued.

“That again is a new challenge, with [the company’s CEO] calling me at midnight with their problems. I’m doing the execution but am also now able to help people.”

He is, slowly, learning to let go.

“Last year I climbed Kilimanjaro – it was the first time ever that I had no contact with work because of phone signal. It was tough to completely let go but I got so much clarity. Nothing went wrong because of the strength of the team behind me.”

David Grimes was interviewed on stage by editor Joanne Birtwistle at the Hale Grill, as part of a series of Secret Diary of an Entrepreneur events, sponsored by accountancy firm Alexander Knight & Co and RMS PR.


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