Published On: Tue, Feb 24th, 2015

Marc Gorlin’s Roadie Looking to Take Down FedEx, UPS

Roadie app

The startup Roadie, taking a page out of Uber’s playbook, approaches package delivery with a community-minded strategy. It comes down to asking someone to deliver this package someplace for you, since they’re headed that way anyway.

Using the Roadie app, travelers with a little extra time on their hands (college students and housewives come to mind) can earn a few bucks for picking up and delivering a package. In essence, this app removes the need for big time storage, and delivery fleets. It’s actually back to the way humanity delivered packages before there were roads and stage coaches.

Roadie Inc. was launched in late January by CEO Marc J. Gorlin, who was co-founded of Kabbage Inc. in 2008 and serves as its Chairman.

Kabbage lends money to small businesses and consumers, simplifying the lengthy, manual loan application process to one that is 100% online and automated. Businesses and consumers can use their own data to submit an application online and receive an immediate answer.

Roadie has been downloaded about 7, 500 times, and so far there have been about 50 items delivered. But big investors have already figured this to be the next bigf thing, and have signed on for a $10 million initial investment round.

These investors include Square Inc.’s co-founder Jim McKelvey, TPG Capital founder David Bonderman and — UPS.

Techcrunch.com reported on how the Roadie idea was first flashed:

Marc Gorlin was having work done on his place in Perdido Key, Fla., and the guy doing his tile work called to say the tile he had ordered came in all broken. Replacement tiles would take three days to ship to Florida from their source in Birmingham, Al., making the job that much more expensive.

Driving on the overpass of I-65 heading out of Montgomery, Al., Gorlin said, “I think to myself… somebody is leaving Birmingham right now and heading to Florida. That person, would probably be willing to pick up some tile and drop it off at Perdido Key for the promise of a little extra money, especially since they’d be making the trip anyway.”

And so, Roadie was born.

“There’s somebody leaving everywhere going everywhere all the time, ” is Gorlin’s strategy in a nutshell. “There’s this massive heat map that’s hidden under our feet that Roadie is going to reveal.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that Waffle House Inc. is planning to unveil a partnership plan Tuesday, becoming part of the network of pickup points for the Roadie service, where drivers can rendezvous with senders at the start of their trip, and with receivers at the other end.

The 1, 750 Waffle House joints are open 24 hours a day — they can bank on all the participants in the Roadie transaction to order something, while waiting for the other guy to show up.

Is this not ingenious?

Stay tuned.

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