A Peek At Postmates — The Uber For The Courier Industry

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Postmates, the so-called Uber for the courier industry, debuted at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco this September. The service aims to transform this niche industry by offering an on-demand delivery service that connects local couriers and bike messengers to anyone who needs a package sent (anything from a toaster to a stuffed elephant) within the confines of their city. Postmates is speedy, and it’s cheap. (Check out our initial coverage of the startup here.)

The service also offers a same-day shipping API for brick-and-mortar retailers, so that for less than $20, retailers will enable local customers to order goods online and have them shipped the same day. And not only the same day, but Postmates Founder Bastian Lehmann tells me that the average delivery time is 37 minutes. (The startup has already facilitated 600+ deliveries.)

And couriers and bike messengers are going to love this because, according to Lehmann, they spend the majority of their day in down-time, waiting for the next call. Couriers are, by and large, independent contractors — unlike most cabbies — so Postmates gives them the ability to deliver far more packages than they would under normal circumstances. That means more income, happier couriers, faster delivery times, and thus happier customers.

I sat down with Postmates Co-founders Bastian Lehmann and Sean Plaice to ask them a few questions about Postmates, how it works for messengers and end users, and whether or not they’re disgruntled former FedEx employees. Postmates is up and running with 50+ merchants in San Francisco, and the team plans to begin rolling out in other cities over the next year. Check out the demo and let us know what you think.

Mom, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry I was slouching.