Delivery service industry "massively under-serving" merchants says co-founder of robotic delivery firm

By John Reynolds on Thursday 26 August 2021

Delivery service industry
Image source: Coco delivery robots/ Coco
CommentaryFood DeliveryGrocery Delivery

LA-based Coco, launched in February 2020, has secured $43m in funding to date and pledges that its remotely controlled small robots will deliver to customers within 30 minutes or less.

The delivery service industry is “massively under-serving: merchants according to the co-founder of a robotic delivery service that has just sealed a $36m funding round.

Coco, the Los-Angeles based startup, operates 2ft high robotic vehicles which deliver food and beverages from merchants to customers.

A customer places an order, the robot drives to the restaurant to pick up the order,  is loaded up with the order, and then drives to the customer.

The robot, operated remotely, has multiple cameras on it as it makes deliveries on the sidewalk.

Coco, which currently operates in LA, promises to deliver to the customer in 30 minutes or less.

It has sealed a $36m Series A funding round, with former Y Combinator president and entrepreneur Sam Altman, Silicon Valley Bank and Founders Fund among the investors.

To date, Coco has raised around $43m.

"I strongly believe the delivery service industry in its current state is massively under-serving merchants. We have an enormous opportunity to create a better experience for hundreds of thousands of merchants and their customers today," said Zach Rash, co-founder & CEO of Coco.

"This is not a research program experimenting with technology to be productised at some unknown point in the future. With this new funding, we will accelerate our mission to bring Coco to every merchant and reshape how local goods are transported within a city."

Coco, which has a headcount of 120  is competing in a crowded field, said the funding would be used to improve its hardware and launch in the other cities.

To date, Coco said 97 per cent of its deliveries are on time.

"There's a massive opportunity today to change last-mile delivery. The Coco team has combined a customer-first product with rapid execution, creating a breakout startup," said  Altman, the round's lead investor and the former president of Y Combinator, which was an early investor in DoorDash and Instacart.

"I am amazed by the instant value that Coco has given our restaurants and more importantly our customers. Zach and the Coco team have given the market a truly disruptive tool for our national restaurants to have the best tech enabled last-mile solution," said Sam Nazarian, a Coco investor and founder of hospitality firm SBE.