The Next Billion-Dollar Startup Opportunity: Ordering Something Online And Getting It Hours Later

Bastian LehmannPostmates CEO Bastian Lehmann is eyeing a huge opportunity.

Same-day delivery is the next most important problem for technology to solve. Some of the hottest startups in Silicon Valley are already working on ways to attack it.Some of the biggest, most innovative technology companies in the world are also working on their own solutions for it, too.

We’ve heard whispers that Google is reportedly working on same-day delivery, and Amazon has its own version of same-day delivery. eBay has its own version of same-day delivery, which lets you buy things and have them delivered in an hour.

It’s becoming more and more clear that—alongside a powerful discovery engine (Pinterest, valued at $1.5 billion) and finally creating a sexy solution for paying for things with your phone (Square, valued at $3.2 billion)—same-day delivery is the next holy grail for  technology-driven commerce.

FedEx is worth $28 billion today. UPS, nearly $70 billion. There will always be a market for logistics across all kinds of timeframes. But for e-commerce, the last big hurdle is matching or beating the convenience of walking into a store and walking out with the thing you want.

What if you could get the Kindle you ordered from Amazon, while you were at work, in about an hour—without having to leave your desk, drive to a store, park, wait in line, pay, and head back?

Same-day delivery is getting to the point it can no longer be ignored or written off as a simple experiment or an idea that is destined to fail. Here’s why:

  • Same-day delivery helps you do more, faster. By removing the need to go to the grocery store or run other errands, it cuts hours of transportation and menial tasks out of your day.
  • Startups like TaskRabbit, Instacart, Exec, and Postmates have already shown people are willing to pay for this kind of service. Instacart, for example, charges about $15 for a one-hour delivery of groceries, and it’s already delivered tens of thousands of goods in its first weeks of operation. Even Uber, the on-demand limo service, is thinking about branching out into deliveries.
  • If the largest, most innovative companies in the world are attempting to do the same, then they recognise it as a huge opportunity. Companies like Google and Amazon don’t go after new spaces lightly, so they have to be large enough to add something significant to their already hundreds of billions in market cap.

Consumer startups might be a little boring, according to our own Alyson Shontell, but that’s because they’ve stopped tackling real problems with real money to be made.

Here’s to the next billion-dollar startup: Whoever can finally master same-day delivery.

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