Stamford is among the latest markets into which DeliveryCircle, a same-day delivery service that matches its drivers with clients in need of a pickup, is expanding.
Based in New Castle, Delaware, the business through its website and mobile app allows companies and shoppers to schedule deliveries of goods. While somewhat similar to ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft and food-delivery services like Brookfield-based Vroom, DeliveryCycle prides itself on being able to transport practically anything from businesses that would like to offer fast deliveries but lack the manpower or money to do so in-house.
According to founder and CEO Vijaya Rao, DeliveryCircle offers business-to-business, business-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer deliveries. The “circle” in the firm’s name refers to its connecting established drivers with companies looking to provide deliveries, on a par with Bay Area-based Postmates and Deliv. Rao, though, noted that those companies do not operate in Connecticut and do not “go the extra mile” when it comes to paying drivers.
“With the larger logistics companies, 45 to 50 percent of revenues go to the top C-level executives,” she said. “With our model, 70 percent of what we collect goes back to the drivers. That helps build loyalty to us and ensures that they do their jobs very well so that we, and our merchant-customers, want to work with them again.”
Unlike UPS, FedEx and other courier or delivery companies but like Uber and Lyft, DeliveryCircle’s drivers are independent contractors. They include retirees and otherwise stay-at-home moms in addition to taxi and limo drivers. Customers can review local drivers’ ratings by other users on the company’s website; Rao said that all have undergone background checks. DeliveryCircle now has over 400 drivers, she said.
Package sizes are matched with drivers with the appropriate vehicle type. Customers and merchants can also track orders in real-time through the mobile app and rate the drivers. The firm’s customers range from national enterprises to small- and medium-sized businesses in a variety of industries, Rao said.
Feedback is collected “constantly,” she added, so that any issues with drivers, products or the delivery itself can be addressed quickly. “We always want to know what needs to be refined or changed in the field,” she said.
“The idea is that everyone is doing their part to help the local economy. Our very transparent business model attracts drivers who usually want to stay with us and our customers can focus even more on offering added value to the consumer. And as word spreads about our company, we benefit as well.”
Established in early 2014, and having expanded into several major metropolitan markets including Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., DeliveryCircle’s move into Stamford, Hartford, and Windsor coincided with its expansion into Atlanta on Dec. 6. The Stamford move was made in part due to its proximity to New York City. “It’s not necessarily like Manhattan,” Rao said, “but it shares quite a few attributes that are relevant to us. People are very busy, they want things delivered quickly and the demographics work in our favor.”
Rao, whose resume includes stints as technology director at JPMorganChase and at Google-owned Motorola Mobility, is a former Stamford resident, though she said that had little to do with the decision to establish a presence there.
“Our model plays extremely well in any space,” she declared. “When we go into a new region, it usually takes us one week to set up. We use kind of a cookie-cutter playbook.”
Although DeliveryCircle works with companies of all sizes, she said, “If I had to pick one sector to work with, it would be small businesses. They generally cannot afford a lot of extra costs, like those associated with having full-time delivery drivers, and our pricing varies as they grow. We’re really looking to help give local businesses a shot in the arm.”
Rao said the company expects to expand to three more markets in early 2017.