Postmates is an urban logistics platform that operates a fleet of more than 65,000 members that complete more than 2 million deliveries per month across 44 major metropolitan markets. In 2017 the company is on track to make more than $1 billion in sales.
April Conyers, director of corporate communications for the company, talked with RewardExpert about an idea that was conceived in the pre-smartphone boom.
Going and staying local
Postmates co-founder and CEO Bastian Lehmann derived the concept for the company in the early 2000s, before the iPhone and the App Store ever existed. He was living in Germany, where low-tech ride-sharing was popular.
“Bastian thought there should be ride-sharing for stuff,” Conyers said. “He wasn’t sure how that would work, but he wrote it down in his notebook of ideas.”
By the time 2010 rolled around, he noticed cities were losing once-thriving local businesses. He approached co-founders Sean Plaice and Sam Street, saying it was the right climate to launch Postmates.
The site launched in 2011 with the mission of making local merchants more competitive with internet retail incumbents.
Membership deals and visitor advice
Utilizing logistics in an economical way is part of the company’s appeal. While some companies to try to build warehouses and such outside cities and funnel good into it, Postmates adheres to its own philosophy: “Our cities, our communities, they are our warehouses.”
Each of more than 200 of Postmates’ cities are home to unique talents and creative expertise that craft and curate high-quality goods that power local economies.
The company aims to understand inventory available in a given community; it indexes each of its product offerings; and it connects customers directly to that experience via the Postmates platform.
Conyers said that since the company’s inception, Postmates have been paid more than $300 million. Also, more sales occur for partner merchants — with some even seeing four times the increases in to-go orders.
“Postmates are positively affected by the platform as they have the freedom to work as little or as much as they want,” she said.
Good deals and a bright future
The company unveiled its first subscription service last year, called “Unlimited.” For a flat fee of $9.99 per month, users get free delivery on all orders from partner merchants when $25 or more is spent. If they order a couple times per week, it essentially pays for itself.
Also, Postmates introduced its alcohol delivery service called simply Drinks. It is currently live in 14 of 44 markets.
The company’s growth has been exponential. Throughout the past six years, it grew to 550 employees in three offices: San Francisco, California; Nashville, Tennessee; and Bellevue, Washington.
Being the first and largest company in its space has allowed investing in the innovation realm.
“At the beginning of this year, Postmates was the first in the U.S. to begin testing ‘sidewalk class’ delivery robots,” Conyers said. “Partnering with Starship Technologies and a number of other robotics companies, we have started measuring how robots may be able to optimize delivery times.”