I’ve been on the tech news beat long enough that I remember the rise and, more importantly, the fall of Kozmo.com. At the time of Kozmo.com’s demise in April 2001, I wrote of the online snack, video and grocery delivery service: “Never before had a company so openly promoted our penchant for laziness.”
Well, guess what slackers, a Kozmo-like service is coming back, looking to overhaul how people order everything from tacos and tea to batteries and bike tubes. It’s called Postmates, and it just arrived in Seattle.
“We are now testing Postmates in Seattle, but we’re not quite ready to fully launch,” noted a message when I installed the app this evening. “That means that you will not always get a Postmate and sometimes we may screw things up. But you can test the service at a discounted rate.”
Postmates has been available in San Francisco for about a year, with customers able to browse 20,000 products from more than 3,000 different stores in the “Get It Now” app. It promises delivery within an hour in a certain geographic areas, with delivery fees starting at $6.99. (Fees are calculated in a dynamic fashion, depending upon distance, time of day and other factors).
The company in many ways operates like Uber, with customers able to track their personal courier (your “Postmate”) via the smartphone app. That means you’ll know if your cheeseburger or chewing gum is five or 10 minutes away.
Backed with $2 million from angel investors David Wu, Russel Simmons, Naval Ravikant, Jeff Clavier and others, Postmates in some ways competes with TaskRabbit, and, at least in Seattle, with AmazonFresh (though the Amazon.com grocery service doesn’t offer deliveries within the hour).
I played around with the service a bit tonight, perusing a list of a dozen restaurants. (Since this is Seattle and it is after 11 p.m. nearly everything was closed). But I did walk through the process with one of my favorite Mexican restaurants here in Ballard, La Carta de Oaxaca.
If I really had wanted a late-night taco (which I don’t at this point), I could have placed an order and had a Postmates courier deliver it to my home within the hour.
The delivery fee was listed at $8.50, but with discounts that was dropped to $4.25. Not bad, considering I am in my PJs and not really in the mood to get off my couch. If I were hungry, I might actually consider pulling the trigger.
So, what do you think? Is this Kozmo 2.0? Are you ready for this Seattle?
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