Technology startups are changing the way consumers are living life, solving everyday issues and altering the way we interact with our daily technology. These rising tech companies are disrupting the innovation economy, one app, hardware item and software service at a time. The innovators behind these tech tools, products or organizations have followed through with their concepts and established noteworthy startups. BlackEnterprise.com is recognizing these pioneering startups in its Tech Startup of the Week series.
If for no one else, tech entrepreneur Jimmy Odom does it for his customers. Customer experience is pivotal, the cornerstone for WeDeliver, a Chicago-based startup that provides an on-demand delivery platform for local businesses. WeDeliver allows local merchants to offload their delivery needs to them, providing both software and man power to ensure every customer receives their goods in a timely fashion.
“It’s so important to control the experience that each customer that interacts with the platform has,” says Odom, who left his job of five years at Apple to work on WeDeliver full time. The 31-year-old launched WeDeliver in October 2012 and the same-day delivery provider has been operational since February of this year. Starting with one client, Lincoln Park florist Dilly Lily, WeDeliver’s list of brick-and-mortar businesses continues to grow including another Lincoln Park florist, Bunches, and Magnolia Bakery, and testing its platform with several companies include gourmet chocolatier Godiva and Chicago startup Trunk Club.
Sticking to its mission of ensuring a high-end experience, WeDeliver has enforced a tight vetting process when it comes to adding new retailers to its pipeline. Odom believes in order to provide a seamless delivery experience the company has to be selective. He wants to guarantee retailers won’t ever have to see a waiting list, or have to change their business model to fit in with his service.
It’s that dedication to customer service that landed WeDeliver first place during Startup Weekend last November and the title of Chicago’s Hottest Startup by Tech Cocktail. Not to mention, the company received IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Mentor Day award and, most recently, a $100,000 prize at LAUNCH Techweek Chicago. With technology changing the way the courier industry operates, WeDeliver’s co-founder talks to BlackEnterprise.com about how he’s been able to keep the customer first and what the future holds for the innovative startup.
The BIG Idea: After Odom’s mother interrupted an episode of The Walking Dead to ask her son to pick up her medication from Walgreens, the entrepreneur started looking into developing the local delivery service. He was willing to pay for the delivery and shocked to find the option wasn’t available.
How WeDeliver Works: “The technology is a way for a business owner—no matter where they are, if they’re within our delivery radius— to access delivery on-demand,” says Odom. “We don’t charge a premium based off of that demand which is not typically done in the courier/messaging industry right now.”
When a delivery is placed to one of its customers, WeDeliver allows for packages to be tracked by the business and its customers in real-time. The dashboard is customized to meet the needs of the business, so scheduling deliveries and viewing deliveries en route, special notes and delivery confirmations from customers is simple.
Calls, which are dispatched algorithmically through WeDeliver’s complex system, not by a person, get sent to either a delivery specialist or expert—and, yes, there is a difference. While a delivery specialist delivers your package, an expert fulfills any set-up needs or additional pre-approved duties requested by the customer. After garnering feedback from merchants, Odom made the distinction.
Listening to Customers: Odom attributes the early success of WeDeliver to understanding the needs of his customers. On a weekly basis, he goes to the merchants’ locations and sits with them for around 30 minutes, garnering feedback on the current system. “It gives the merchant the opportunity and the chance to actually change the business, and that’s how you build that sort of integrated technology.”
Next Up: “We want to be the best delivery infrastructure platform to ever exist. That’s what the goal is and that’s what we focus on,” Odom says.
Check back next week to see what rising company becomes Tech Startup of the Week.