Tuesday, November 13
DALLAS — Pickup, an Uber-like last-mile delivery service for furniture and other large items, has completed a $5 million round of venture capital funding that will speed up expansion of its operations including entry into new markets.
The funding round was led by TDF Ventures and Noro-Moseley Partners. Engage, an Atlanta-based venture fund, also participated. The expansion, it said, will support national retail partnerships, giving brick-and-mortar retailers a leg up against Amazon in the battle to provide speedy final-mile delivery while employing thousands of military veterans in the process.
“Last-mile delivery is especially difficult for oversized items such as furniture, where retailers face challenges with rising customer expectations in speed, flexibility and quality,” the Dallas-based company said in a release.
Pickup works with what it calls vetted “Good Guys,” independent contractors, including military veterans, firefighters and others, who deliver large items from stores and warehouses to the customer’s room of choice. Its mobile platform dispatches the nearest driver in as little as 30-seconds.
“Our focus is to help our retail partners create ‘wow’ delivery experiences that are a seamless extension of their brand, so they can win more customers and keep them forever,” Pickup CEO Brenda Stoner said.
“The Good Guys are the best in the business, and we continue to partner with top retailers as we strive to reach our goal of creating the leading last-mile delivery service.”
The company currently operates in 26 markets in 14 states and Washington D.C. It plans to use the new funding to accelerate market expansion, grow its product platform and add staffing.
It did not disclose the next markets it intends to enter.
Darren Waxman, Pickup’s “chief customer guy,” said the company has partnered with some Furniture Today Top 100 brands, although declined to name retailers. He said many of its retail partners have integrated Pickup into their cash registers and pay for the service for customers. It also has an app and toll free number for retailers who prefer customers “self-serve and pay Pickup directly.”
“In either case, the customer receives a consistent service level with mobile updates from their Good Guy,” he said.
On its website, Pickup calls attention to one retailer, Cost Plus World Market, which is offering free delivery with qualifying $500 purchases.
On the operations side, Waxman noted that Pickup’s delivery network is “elastic and scalable” and closely monitored so retailers can set expectations for instant, same-day or schedule deliveries, giving them a competitive advantage over Amazon. The owner-operated trucks and drivers are vetted and “trust verified,” and they include military veterans, first responders “and other handy pros.” he said.
“Retail supply chains are rapidly shifting to accommodate local inventory driving a need for new options in delivery,” Jim Pastoriza, managing partner of TDF Ventures said in the release. He said Pickup’s partnerships with leading retailers who want to see the service expand to other markets represents “a wide open growth opportunity.”