When Uber unveiled its same-day delivery service, UberRush, it was supposed to be the FedEx killer, dominating local business deliveries and changing how businesses move goods around a city.
Two years later, UberRush is still only in the three cities it initially launched in, while a new name has been quietly growing around the rest of the country.
Dropoff, an Austin-based startup, has expanded into five different states and 12 cities in the last two years, CEO Sean Spector told Business Insider.
“There was no national brand for same-day delivery,” Spector said.
So far, the company is largely expanding throughout the southern US in big (and car-friendly) cities like Miami to Houston to Los Angeles. While Uber has wanted to be that brand, its Rush business service has stagnated in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York.
Meanwhile, Dropoff has been encroaching on its turf. Spector says the startup is already profitable in its first few markets, and it counts Whole Foods, JW Marriott, and Neiman Marcus as customers who use its service.
While Dropoff does a lot of the traditional courier work that you’d expect of businesses, it’s also focused specifically on attracting healthcare, grocery, and retail clients. Its “Agents,” as it calls its contractors, do everything from deliver jewellery to a customer to set up catering for Whole Foods at an office. As healthcare shifts more to the home, Dropoff has trained its drivers in HIPAA compliance and started delivering medical supplies for a national client. When it comes to retail, Spector says the shift is inevitable over the next few years and it will be rare for a business to not have a deliver-that-day option.
“The majority of retailers will have to offer a same-day solution,” Spector said. “Most are not wanting to build it themselves, and that’s what we want to be.”
To attract the national clients it needs to beat the heavily-funded Uber, the startup built the Dropoff Tracker, which allows businesses of any size to see any of the deliveries it has going on in the system. That way, if a brand like Nordstrom wants to see how many deliveries are out at the moment, they can look at it on any level from national to regional to store-specific deliveries.
Spector thinks Dropoff is threading the needle between a FedEx that is great for speedy overnight deliveries and a service like UberRush that’s more peer-to-peer delivery. Businesses are wanting the level of instant tracking that Uber has made ubiquitous, but they need professionalism on the other end, not a delivery driver who is pulling double duty as a courier, he said, citing a recent survey the company conducted.
“Those services are great for bringing me a burrito,” he added.
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