There’s no shortage of grocery delivery companies promising to be the next big thing, but one Toronto-based company promises that it’s found the secret sauce to effective grocery delivery.
Urbery is the latest startup to be featured on The Disruptors, and offers a grocery delivery service that promises delivery in under three hours. It uses so-called “Grocery Gurus” — who Urbery founder Mudit Rawat says “understand the nuances of grocery shopping” — to pick out groceries from a user’s favourite store. Through an Uber-like feature, users can see their Urbery Grocery Gurus through the app, see their vehicle information, and contact them to confirm any special requests.
Urbery is also trying to differentiate itself from other grocery delivery services by offering alcohol delivery; for $10, users can have three bottles delivered to their home. “Urbery is disrupting grocery delivery services that typically use a massive warehouse, centrally-located in the city which is used to pick orders and delivered to customers’ doorstep,” said Rawat. “This model is not only capital-intensive, it doesn’t allow these companies to deliver alcohol at speed.”
While the service currently only operates in the greater Toronto area, Urbery is hoping to expand to the US, Ottawa, and Montreal this year.
“I love this for three reasons,” said co-host Amber Kanwar. “One: any grocery store. I’m not singled into a single one. They’re telling me I’ll have better groceries because they have people who actually care about the produce being picked out for you, and who doesn’t love a bottle of wine?”
But co-host Bruce Croxon countered that Grocery Gateway, a similar service which launched in 1997 and is now operated by Longos, became “symbolic” to him of the dotcom bust as the service started out strong but didn’t meet extremely high expectations. “It’s a big logistical challenge to get big in this business,” Croxon said.
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