When it comes to food delivery, people want things fast and fresh and most of all, and increasingly they want to know when that food will get to them. Thanks to the Uber-ification of everything, being able to place an order and see when it will arrive (and even see a delivery in process) is becoming table stakes in the on-demand economy.
Then again, setting expectations for on-demand logistics is not easy. Which is why a whole bunch of math geeks created Fluc, which is a food-delivery service that tries to provide better customer service using complex routing algorithms to get food to its customers faster.
With that goal in mind, Fluc raised $2.3 million in seed funding to expand its business and keep moving into new markets. The new financing came from investors that include Sherpa Ventures, WI Harper, Charlie Cheever, Blake Ross, Zhou Hongyi, and other angels.
Fluc to date has mostly been operating in the South Bay, working to figure out how to most efficiently make deliveries in what is essentially a suburban market. Its key differentiator isn’t in the restaurants it signs up or the food it delivers, necessarily, but in the routing that it’s built on the back end, which makes more efficient use of its drivers.
In the same way that Uber or Lyft has a good idea of where demand will be based on factors like time of day or even weather, Fluc uses a huge amount of data to provide precise estimates of when food will be delivered to customers. But setting expectations around arrival is one thing — behind the scenes Fluc is optimizing routes and pickups for its drivers in real-time.
That means not only knowing where orders will be coming from, but also generally how long food will take to prepare based on venue and location, how long it takes to get from one place to another, and where items need to be delivered. Based on all the info provided, Fluc seeks to optimize driver routes to enable them to “stack” multiple orders in a more efficient manner, while also getting food to the customer in a short period of time.
Fluc calls its logistics technology “The Oracle,” based on the Matrix, and co-founder Tim Davis says the backend platform can typically predict a driver’s moves up to 3-5 deliveries ahead of where they currently are at any given time.
Fluc’s cost of delivery is at $6 per order now, but users can now split the bill when ordering multiple items, which reduces the individual price for each person. As a result, the company could draw more orders from office workers for lunch or for those hanging out and watching a Football game in Sunday.
Now that it’s received seed funding, the outfit is ready to expand its offering into new places. While Davis wouldn’t say which markets the company would be focusing on, showing that the service works in suburban areas, as opposed to highly dense cities, means it has huge potential in places where delivering $10 meals in 10 minutes wouldn’t make sense.