In February 2014, Roadie’s founder, Marc Gorlin, had a renovation project go pear-shaped. He had a problem that a platform like Roadie could have solved… but it didn’t exist. So he decided to build it himself.
In October of 2021, UPS agreed it was a pretty cool idea, and acquired Roadie, becoming the first global parcel carrier with a crowdsourced delivery network.
2021 wasn’t the beginning of Roadie’s story, and it most definitely isn’t the end. Roadie is now part of UPS, where we have access to a huge global customer base that already sends more than 21 million packages every day! We can’t wait to see what we can create with Big Brown behind us.
To celebrate, we threw a (COVID-safe) closing party for the ages. We partied with Ludacris and 500 friends and family in our hometown of Atlanta. We loved getting to see so many of our favorite faces in one place, plus we’ll take any excuse to pop bottles… and our acquisition by UPS is a big one.
But it wasn’t just UPS that made 2021 a year for the books.
What does Roadie have in common with Jorge Soler? ⚾
We kept hitting it out of the park this year, just like the guys on our hometown baseball team. Which, incidentally, won the World Series this year. (Go Braves!)
If 2020 was the year home delivery became routine, in 2021 we doubled down on the habit. With the initial vaccine rollout, businesses reopened to foot traffic, but we still chose doorstep delivery like never before.
For example: Delivery companies and retailers alike know January and February are quiet months (after returns season, that is. That “Live, Laugh, Love” pillow isn’t going to exchange itself). This year, though, the post-holiday slowdown never came. Our Q1 delivery volume was up 434% over Q1 2020. When it comes to e-commerce, the horse has left the barn.
But even as some habits changed for good, in some ways, we partied like it was 2019. Travel is back! Last year, when the pandemic shut everything down, our delayed baggage deliveries for airlines dropped down to near zero. There were days when Piece of Cake (an independent bakery in our hometown of Atlanta, which is delicious, by the way) was doing the same amount of deliveries in a day as two of our top airline customers put together. But we’re hitting the skies again now — reunited bag deliveries were up 848% this summer over summer 2020!
Speaking of changes caused by the pandemic: Back in March of 2020, we went 100% remote, like a lot of other companies. Our office sat empty until we said goodbye to it for good in April of this year. We didn’t have enough space to get all our new folks in there anyway.
Read Roadie founder Marc Gorlin’s love letter to our first office.
We built some pretty cool stuff working from home.
As part of the UPS family, we’re already working to improve and expand our capabilities in 2-hour critical, big and bulky and cold-chain compliance. With new features like Bulk Upload and improved routing, businesses can use Roadie to make all kinds of deliveries.
But this year’s favorite feature? Batch Delivery. Both retailers and drivers are fans — and why not, who doesn’t like things faster and more efficient? If a business sends more than five deliveries a day, we can now combine deliveries that are heading in the same direction with a single driver. It’s cheaper for businesses and more lucrative for drivers, so everyone wins! Read more about Batch Delivery here.
Batch Delivery is just one of the reasons our business customers sent more stuff this year. And with more deliveries flowing through the network, it’s no surprise our nationwide driver network grew 29% this year. So why do they join us? What’s most important to gig economy drivers (besides earnings, of course)?
According to our annual State of the Side Hustle survey, it’s the ability to “choose when and where they drive” (82%) and the “flexibility to make their own schedules” (79%). Unlike other gig apps, we don’t penalize drivers for being choosy.
Drivers use Roadie to earn money in a way that fits their lifestyles. Most use Roadie as a supplement to their full-time or part-time jobs, or use it alongside other gig economy apps — only 19% of drivers on Roadie’s platform use it to earn more than half of their income.
We took care of our community… and made a lot of new friends along the way.
Our new customers run the gamut from hip local butcher shops to one of the biggest names in snacks. Roadie’s same-day, out-of-the-box delivery works for all kinds of businesses — of all sizes. (P.S. — If you live in Atlanta, check out our customer Cheese Me’s delicious charcuterie boards this holiday season!
Read: Check out Atlanta Magazine to read how Cheese Me’s founder, Neakyn Boroujerdi, tapped Roadie to help her small business thrive through a pandemic and beyond.)
And we delivered all kinds of stuff.
We spend a lot of time thinking about deliveries in terms of numbers (and NGL, the numbers are pretty great this year). But Roadie is powered by people!
From drivers to businesses to those of us here at HQ who work behind the scenes to make the platform work, Roadie is a huge community that works together to get stuff where it needs to go.
This summer, our Support team noticed a suspicious delivery. Someone was using Roadie to send Krispy Kreme doughnuts across multiple state lines! We understand going above and beyond for those original glazed, but there were a lot of Krispy Kreme locations way, way closer to the dropoff spot… and besides, everybody knows you want to eat ‘em when the Hot Light is on.
They monitored the delivery’s progress for hours. But when the doughnuts arrived, they learned that it had to be THAT Krispy Kreme because it was the sender’s anniversary, and that was where he and his wife had their first date. Aw.We make a lot of jokes about 2020 being a total dumpster fire… and it was, but 2021 was a tough year in a lot of ways, too.
We made food deliveries to YMCA of Metro Atlanta locations around our home city this year, helping to feed a lot of families. The drivers that helped get that food where it needed to go told us they loved being a part of it.
And with our partner Delta Cargo, we delivered COVID-19 testing kits from schools to lab locations all over the country. The logistics of getting kids back in classrooms is challenging enough; we were glad we could help simplify that part of the process.
2021 was a heck of a year — and the first mile of an exciting new journey! Thanks for coming along for the ride. We’ll see you around in the new year!