Food delivery is a hot sector right now – from meal kits to grocery delivery and everything in between, the market still garners the most investment dollars in food tech despite a dip in 2016 from the previous year. But the convenience and ubiquity of food delivery have a long way to go. In most areas, outside of large cities, grocery delivery is monopolized by one or two major grocers, limited choices and options for consumers and third-party delivery apps don’t work with just anyone. The problem is mostly scale – startups and major companies start in larger markets to prove their concept and grow and then they’re able to spread.
But one startup may have a more grassroots, sharing economy-minded solution to the food delivery model. BringMe was founded by a group of students in Fairfax, VA who wanted to pair people’s wants and needs with other people’s desire to make quick and easy money. If you’re someone who wants something delivered, you place a request in the app for the thing you need. It might be your order at the Thai restaurant a few miles away or items from the grocery store. You pay for the items via the app and you list what you’re willing to tip.
Anyone who’s interested in becoming a deliverer can respond to your request, and upon delivery, get paid via the app. Sound familiar? It’s a version of the Uber model – give people an easy platform on which to connect, and let them negotiate the details. There is even less oversight with BringMe, who doesn’t seem to set minimum tipping although it does make suggestions. And if you want to be a “Bringer” as the company calls them, you do have to fill out an application which requires you have a smartphone, some mode of transportation and a “clean record.” And although it seems like the model Uber Foods is working towards, in some ways removing the regulatory and political challenges Uber faces in the transportation sector, BringMe has some advantages.
Right now, the model is secluded to the Fairfax area, where the students reside, but it has the potential to expand giving the grassroots nature of the infrastructure. And the delivery isn’t limited to food – though it’s possibly the largest use case – and BringMe says the only things it *won’t* deliver are illegal or restricted items like drugs, alcohol and prescriptions. You could imagine a strong use case for adoption across college campuses and in suburban areas where public transit is weak and the need for more convenience are high. The company says it has Bringers on hand to deliver 24/7, providing that the place you’re ordering from is also open during those hours.
Ben & Jerry’s delivery at 1 am from the local convenience store anyone?