Everyone has, at some time or another, experienced the frustration that comes from missing a delivery – that is, coming home only to find a delivery notice stuck to your door. A company called Doorman is trying to solve this problem by allowing customers to schedule their own deliveries as late as midnight, seven days a week. Now Doorman has $1.5 million in seed funding to continue to grow its business, and is also now launching its first API.
The API will allow partners to integrate Doorman’s scheduling functionality directly into their own websites and applications.
The funding was led by Doorman’s advisors, Motus Ventures, and included participation from WTI, MicroVentures, and VGO Ventures. Prior to this round, the company had raised $375,000 from smaller VCs and angel investors.
Doorman was founded by Zander Adell, a former Pixar Technical Director, who felt the frustrations of missed deliveries first-hand, he said. Though today there are a number of options for same-day deliveries from retailers like Amazon or via courier-based services like Postmates, deliveries from other online shopping destinations are still routed through package delivery companies like UPS and FedEx. With these companies, consumers have less control over the timing of a delivery’s arrival.
For years, consumers have worked around the problem by having orders sent to them at the office, but that’s not always an ideal option. Some items are too large to transport via bike or public transit, for example. And even when they’re not, it’s still inconvenient to have to haul things around this way.
With Doorman, the idea is that consumers can provide an online retailer with their “Doorman address,” which is a location in the company’s warehouse. You can then specify when, exactly, you want that order sent to you at your home or elsewhere via Doorman’s app, which also notifies you when the courier is in route. Doorman currently offers hourly scheduling from 6 pm to midnight, catering heavily to office workers who can’t be home during the day for deliveries.
To date, Doorman has delivered over 25,000 packages in its first market, San Francisco, and is preparing to expand to Chicago and New York this summer. The company declines to say how many customers is has at this time.
Doorman is also now launching its API, built largely by co-founder Kapil Israni, with its first partner, ShipCompliant, a software platform that serves over 1,000 different wineries with compliance and deliverability APIs. The first winery that will be taking advantage of the Doorman API through this new integration is NakedWines.com.
Online shoppers who are in Doorman’s delivery zones today have the option at checkout on NakedWines to schedule an evening delivery right from the website itself.
While with its consumer-facing product, Doorman’s customers would pay a flat $3.99 for this delivery scheduling option or subscribe on a monthly basis, many of the company’s API partners will instead offer the service for free to their own customers.
Explains Adell, e-commerce companies are willing to pay to for Doorman because it eliminates re-routing fees and reduces their customer service load. “Fifty percent of customer service calls are in the retail industry are ‘where’s my package?’ It reduces a lot of inefficiency and expense on their end,” he says.
Doorman is in testing with several other API partners, but is not able to announce those at this time.
Longer-term, Doorman hopes to be able to contract with the larger delivery companies to handle the last mile on their behalf.
“One of the questions we get a lot is how are you going to compete with FedEx?,” says Adell. But these companies are focused on moving things quickly across long distances, he explains. “They have contracts with the US Postal Service and others to deal with a lot of their last mile packages. Contracting out their last mile is nothing new to these companies,” Adell notes.