Many of the biggest success stories in business in the recent years are startups that are crowdsourced.
Uber lets ordinary people use their own cars like taxis to transport strangers wherever they are going. Airbnb lets ordinary homeowners use their houses and apartments like hotels, renting them out to strangers. Even Facebook uses content posted by ordinary people to fill their popular social networking website.
Now the new app Roadie hopes to use the same model for package delivery.
How Roadie Works
Roadie founder Marc Gorlin, who also serves as the startup’s CEO, said Roadie works sort of the same way as Uber.
People use the Roadie app when they need a package delivered anywhere. It could be across town or across the country. Drivers who sign up with the app can receive notifications whenever there is a package that needs to go to the same place they are traveling. They can then pick up and delivery the packages, collecting a fee for each delivery they make.
Gorlin described one situation in which a man purchased a 10-foot long rug at a local home improvement store only to realize that it wouldn’t fit in his car. He used the Roadie app and within minutes another driver with a larger vehicle showed up to deliver the carpet to his home.
App Growing Quickly
Roadie was only launched in 2015. But already more than 20,000 drivers have signed up for it. And with more than 250 million cars, trucks, and other vehicles traveling places all over the US each day, that number is sure to grow quickly, according to Gorlin.
Like Uber, Roadie drivers are rated and reviewed by users. This helps the app determine whether or not to keep using people.
Unlike Uber, Roadie customers also are able to request specific drivers. So when you find somebody you like and who is dependable, you can use that Roadie driver time and time again.
If Roadie takes hold the way Uber and Airbnb have, it could change the way products and other packages are delivered through the supply chain. With more and more businesses following the Amazon model and shifting their focus to online customers, it’s also highly likely that copycat companies will soon sprout up.
While Roadie probably won’t soon take the place of long-haul trucking or rail freight services, it could erode into the market share of higher cost package delivery services like FedEx, DHL, and UPS.