The pandemic has normalized shipping in the US. But even before the health crisis hit, delivery sales at restaurants alone were growing 7% to 8% annually, roughly twice the rate of sales for the restaurant industry as a whole. according to McKinsey. The problem is that delivery can be a nightmare for restaurants and retailers alike. Among other challenges, businesses often rely on a single partner to handle their shipments, making them highly susceptible to supply and demand fluctuations and service reliability.
Mahmoud Ghulman, with a mission to make the mission less of a headache, founded Nash, a platform that brings together delivery providers to allow businesses to choose the ones that make the most sense in terms of price and availability. Nash connects to third-party delivery APIs from DoorDash, Lyft, Uber and other partners, providing customers with software to manage and offer local deliveries to their customers.
“Over the past few years, my co-founders and I have watched consumers expect incredibly fast, reliable delivery at an affordable price, given what the retail, shipping and transportation giants have done,” he told TechCrunch. Ghulman. . “However, this has created a landscape where medium and small businesses struggle to meet consumer demands due to the complexity and high cost associated with operating last-mile delivery. So we were really interested in creating a software and logistics solution that would allow any business to easily enable reliable local delivery by creating custom workflows and leveraging a large network of delivery providers.”
Ghulman met Nash’s other co-founder, Aziz Alghunaim, at a science fair in high school, and the two attended MIT together. Alghunaim was previously an engineer at Palantir and helped with the launch TarjimliA Y Combinator-backed startup that aims to reduce language barriers for refugees while providing access to support services.
Ghulman and Alghunaim co-founded Nash in early 2021, and the company participated in Y Combinator’s S21 batch. Clearly impressing investors, Nash today closed a $20 million Series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz, with backing from Y Combinator, Rackhouse Venture Capital and “leaders in the technology and supply chain space.”
“Today’s newly announced $20 million in Series A capital brings our total funding to $27.8 million, as it follows our previously unannounced $7.8 million first round late last year, also led by Andreessen Horowitz Ghulman said. “This funding will be used to double hiring in engineering, operations, sales and other key business functions. We plan to more than double our headcount of 25 and triple by the end of the year to match our explosive growth.”
Using Nash, businesses can manually select delivery providers or have the platform do it automatically. Either way, they get price and time estimates, plus information about the shipper, including their contact information and location.
T:Thousands of merchants can access the platform for individual and batch (i.e. multiple pickup) delivery routes through the Nash partnership, Ghulman claims, reaching up to 94% of the US population in about 1,000 cities.
To optimize routes, Nash uses AI and machine learning to predict a courier’s on-time delivery performance, taking into account variables such as pick-up time, drop-off time, package value, distance and driving time. Nash supports a number of different shipping options, including scheduled and same-hour deliveries, as well as store-to-store deliveries and customer returns, Ghulman says.
“What we do for shipping is what Stripe did for payments; we’ve built a simple API and workflow builder,” Ghulman continued. “Businesses can create a customized delivery workflow using our API platform or access Nash directly through our technical partnerships with industry-leading marketplaces, aggregators and point-of-sale providers. This approach makes it easier for teams to reduce the technical overhead needed to maintain a high-performance delivery operation.”
An on-demand delivery marketplace that always worked capital intensive side, no especially healthy at the moment, as evidenced by massive layoffs at delivery startups like Gopuff. Ghulman declined to offer firm numbers on Nash’s revenue and customer base, but assured me that Nash has not been hurt by the broader slowdown and is “well positioned” for potential headwinds.
“The pandemic has brought an unprecedented increase in demand for local delivery across all sectors. Many companies couldn’t keep up. Some have even had to close. And starting or running a delivery business was more difficult than usual because of the reduced workforce,” Ghulman said. “By removing the technical, logistical and operational costs associated with offering a reliable delivery experience, Nash has helped hundreds of businesses access new customers and revenue streams.”
As for what’s next, Nash plans to further expand into verticals such as retail, auto parts, pet supplies, food and meal packages, laundry, flowers, print and framing, pharmacy and small parcels. It’s also setting its sights on new markets, including Canada and the UK, where Nash plans to launch by the end of the year.