Everywhere you look there are delivery lockers. Grocery stores, apartment buildings, office lobbies.
So why not at our home?
If you’re Jeremy High, the idea makes lots of sense. As a luxury home builder in the central California market of Monterey, High works closely with clients spec’ing out features customized around their lifestyles. A recurring ask he hears from his customers is they want a way to ensure that food delivered to their home is safe and kept at the right temperature.
The more he heard this, the more High wondered if a solution existed to help his customers. When he realized there wasn’t, he decided to build it himself.
High’s product, eventually called the Fresh Portal, is a food and package delivery locker built into the side of a home. It has temperature control zones for either hot or cold food and would be accessible both from the outside and inside. It would be managed by an app and integrated with third-party delivery service providers like UberEats or Amazon Fresh so they can access the outside of the locker and insert a delivery.
For High, who first thought of the idea in 2014 and filed for a patent a year later, the product needed to be installable both in new builds and retrofits. To make that possible, he designed the Fresh Portal to use an install concept similar to that of a retrofit window, where the installation process pierced the building envelope, and then the installed product is integrated with the home’s existing waterproofing.
“The design allows us to install this rapidly,” said High. “We can install this and not do any patchwork. No paint comes out. Nothing like that.”
High, who is raising money for his company, plans to have a shippable product by sometime in 2023. He estimates the pricing for the system will be $3,450 installed.
If this all sounds a little first-world problem-ish to you, it is. None of that should be surprising since High’s typical customer has enough wealth to buy a new multimillion-dollar home.
But the luxury home builder turned tech entrepreneur does have a plan to make his food delivery lockers more accessible through subsidization. One such scenario could include a Fresh Portal included as part of a food delivery subscription service. Another is one in which the Fresh Portal earns revenues from third-party delivery service providers.
“DoorDash can deliver to a First Portal versus your porch or knocking on the door and waiting,” said High. “Efficiency and the first time delivery success metric goes up because they’re delivering to a product.”
In exchange, High believes that the delivery companies would pay his company 1% of the sale if it’s delivered to a Fresh Portal. This is all in the idea stage at this point, as High has yet to strike any deals with third-party delivery companies, and I have to wonder if they’d willingly part ways with even a thin slice of their margin.
I think High has time to figure out his subsidization models later, mostly because I see the Fresh Portal as primarily a solution for new homes or remodels for the next few years. I can see the home delivery locker becoming a trendy new homebuilder amenity, where the product’s price is rolled into the monthly mortgage payment.
Longer-term – think a ten-year time horizon – I can see a future where home delivery lockers become commonplace. Like the milk box of a bygone era, only these boxes will be refrigerated, connected to the cloud, and – if you own a Fresh Portal – built into the side of your home.