Consumers have depended on the convenience of delivery services for decades, knowing that a pizza or a visit from the plumber is only a phone call away. But the emergence of on-demand applications has shaken up this hallmark of the local economy — setting a new standard for convenience that has left existing companies struggling to keep up with on-demand startups.
For traditional delivery services without the technology to tell the consumer where the deliverer is with the click of a button, Bringg is seeking to bridge the gap. Bringg provides a platform for any company with delivery to function like an on-demand startup, and businesses in a number of different local verticals have turned to Bringg to soup up their delivery service.
Street Fight recently caught up with Bringg’s CTO Lior Sion to talk about the market opportunity for local on-demand, and where the company fits into the wider delivery ecosystem.
Give us a brief overview of Bringg’s take on local delivery.
My business partner actually came to me with a simple question. He said, “I fell in love with Uber. I no longer have a car. I take a taxi everywhere I go. I love the experience; I love everything. Why is it not happening when I order a pizza? Why when I order a pizza … do I not know where this driver is? If I call the pizza place, they don’t know where the driver is. Nobody knows anything.”
So we started looking into that. We found that delivering an on-demand experience, which is on the one hand a customer experience as we’ve seen with Uber, and on the other hand managing the logistics part of it — knowing where the driver is going, communicating with drivers, assigning orders — basically, it’s a new problem. It’s never existed before.
Heavy technological tools are there to solve the different problems. We are talking about same-day, even now delivery, so there are those solutions, and the only people who manage to solve them are heavily-backed, technological people. And all of those not technological people — your family pizza down the street, your plumber, and even the cable guy, the transportation — all of those who don’t have the technological capabilities and funding and attention to create an on-demand service — are left without an answer. We said, “Let’s create an answer for them.”
Tell me about what had to happen for Bringg to be possible.
Let’s talk about the ecosystem first. We have the customer, who is the person ordering and waiting for something. We have the merchant or the business, who might be dispatching; they are the entity that sells something. And we have the driver, who is doing the actual delivery.
We provide an off-the-shelves solution for everyone. The driver, they see their orders and the details of the order, they can accept, they can decline — everything they need to manage their day. The merchants receive a way to get their orders and dispatch in a seamless way, so they can dispatch manually; they get a lot of information from the system. They can see where the drivers are. We recommend the best driver for the job according to distance and availability, or we can just allow them to auto-dispatch just like Uber. We find the best driver for them, if they want.
The customer doesn’t need to do anything, so if you order, you can call the phone like you do for a pizza place, you place your order, you receive a text message, so you know the driver’s on the way. It might say he’ll be there in 20 minutes. If you want to click on the link, you click on the link with all the details … with the map, with the driver coming to you in real time, with a picture of the driver and safety rankings.
Smartphones with location services are pretty ubiquitous at this point. Was that a limiting factor for delivery in the past.
Yeah, for sure. … As customers, we want “now.” We don’t want to talk to people on the phone. We don’t want to ask the driver or the salesperson, the cable guy. We don’t want to call them 30 minutes before and see when they’re coming. We want to use an app, order something, and have it within the hour. We want to do what we want when we want it.
Customers demand that, and they are willing to pay for it, so technology will find its way.
What industries do your clients come from right now, and do you anticipate expanding into any new verticals in coming years?
All segments and everyone can use our app, and they are. We have service people. We have dry cleaners; we have refrigerator-service people, technicians; we have food delivery; we have transportation; we have everything.
In terms of marketing, we’ve targeted food delivery in the beginning as a low-hanging fruit and we’ve slowly moved into home delivery. We’ve targeted the U.S., but now we’re seeing a lot of inbound from Europe and the Far East.
Would say that Bringg distinguishes itself from other services by being a platform for all verticals whereas other platforms tend to be specific to a certain industry?
It’s a very dynamic area — this is what we love about it. Everybody is looking for their niche or exactly where they are. Our play is unique in that we are a platform — less a very specific solution for something.
If you look at Postmates, for example: they do on-demand delivery first. They are not like us, so they are not competitors, but they also have an API and they want to expand their delivery force to be wider, so I am giving them as an example of somebody who went out of the product play and into the platform play. And we do a platform play, so they are not our competitors; they offer solutions … and we are an enabler. But in terms of how we look at ourselves in terms of a platform — an operation system of delivery — yes, we are not like others exactly.
How does the current state of the tech industry affect the market opportunity for Bringg?
It’s amazing because even though we have a few startups that are building themselves on our technology, we are mostly targeting the small businesses that are not startups — that have an existing business. And for those people, when a delivery startup is coming, they just don’t have a reply. So what Uber is doing around delivery, Postmate … those [existing] companies are coming to us because they need a solution; they need to step up. Because for you, the customer, if somebody is offering you a delivery within the hour or a delivery in thirty minutes that you can check the time on, you’ll go with the second one.
Joe Zappa is an intern with Street Fight. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.