18 Growing Delivery Startups (2021)

by Josh Howarth - September 13, 2021

If you’re reading this right now you’ve most likely used delivery or on-demand delivery service within the past year. From ride-hailing behemoths like Uber to mainstream food delivery with Doordash, COVID-19 has only accelerated the trend of getting anything we want, anytime we want it.

In the past 5 years, food delivery apps alone have grown their revenue by 204%. Major players have expanded into everything from prescription delivery to shopping at convenience stores and dropping off household items like toothpaste or toilet paper. Fun Fact: 59% of the on-demand market is in Asia.

Check out our list of the hottest on-demand delivery startups that are pushing the frontier of delivery with drones, software, and last-mile delivery in some of the trickiest places to navigate on Earth.

1. Beelivery

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5-year search growth: 1120%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: London, U.K.

Funding: $6.4M (Series A)

What they do: Beelivery is the United Kingdom’s answer to America’s plethora of delivery services, offering 15-60 minute grocery delivery via their 10,000 strong legion of drivers.

They currently serve over 90 cities and the goal is to have a driver within a half-mile of any customer on their platform, with delivery in 15 minutes or less.

2. Zomato

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5-year search growth: 76%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2008

Location: Gurgaon, India

Funding: $2.1B (Venture-Series Unknown)

What they do: Zomato functions as a classic food delivery platform similar to Uber Eats, Doordash or Grubhub. The difference is, they focus on countries outside the US. Turkey, the Philippines, Lebanon, and Indonesia are just a few locations where Zomato’s comprehensive food guide and delivery drivers are active.

One of the most interesting features created by Zomato is the ability to allow users to curate their own personal foodie network directly on the Zomato app for recommendations. In total, Zomato serves 55 million users across 24 countries.

3. Rinse

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5-year search growth: 32%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2013

Location: San Francisco, California

Funding: $23.5M (Series B)

What they do: Doing laundry is one of the most tedious weekly tasks that we face, unless you’re in a household with an in-unit washer and dryer. Rinse solves this with their on-demand laundry delivery service coordinated through their app. Subscribers can get monthly laundry service for a flat fee of $60/month, or a variety of customized solutions including dry cleaning.

Rinse claims to save users 3 hours per a load of laundry, with over 250 years of customer time saved already. Their workforce is entirely composed of W2 employees instead of relying on freelancers like many other on-demand platforms.

4. Loship

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5-year search growth: 4200%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2014

Location: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Funding: $12M (Series C)

What they do: Vietnam is a surprisingly large country of around 79 million people, leading to an incredibly high demand for delivery services throughout the country. Ho Chi Minh based startup Loship provides food, grocery, and medicine delivery along with ride-hailing.

With a fresh round of funding from Skype founder Jaan Tallinn, Loship is looking to revamp its app and add fresh capabilities. Loship’s current fleet is around 70,000 drivers and 200,000 participating merchants, serving 2 million customers. Vietnam’s eCommerce sector is expected to be worth $23 Billion by 2025, according to a Bain report.

5. Dunzo

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5-year search growth: 900%

Search growth status: Exploding

Year founded: 2015

Location: Bengaluru, India

Funding: $128.4M (Series E)

What they do: Dunzo’s taken the on-demand concept and hyper-localized it, focusing solely on Bangalore’s population of nearly 8.5 million people. Offering everything from pet supplies to gift delivery to grocery and medicine, Dunzo is similar to many other startups on our list as far as their services.

They also partner with small and medium e-commerce businesses to offer digital tools and streamlining for logistics and shipping throughout the city.

6. Airlift Technologies

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5-year search growth: 1700%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: Lahore, Pakistan

Funding: $109.2M (Series B)

What they do: Airlift is the recipient of the largest ever single funding round in Pakistan’s history, with a Series B of $85M. Airlift’s offering is a highly advanced network of fulfillment centers and “dark stores” (cater exclusively to online shopping) powered by a leading logistics algorithm and AI.

By predicting consumer trends across Pakistan through their algorithm, Airlift moves goods from fulfillment centers to their network of dark stores. The end result is 30 minute delivery of household essentials in 3 major cities inside Pakistan.

7. Trifecta

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5-year search growth: -6%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Sacramento, California

Funding: $23.9 (Series B)

What they do: Trifecta’s on-demand meal delivery service caters to the premium, organic-only customer and competes against established giants like Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, and other weight loss companies. Their business model and marketing are laser-focused on weight loss results rather than harp on delicious meal options.

8. Volansi

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5-year search growth: 4800%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Concord, California

Funding: $75.1M (Series B)

What they do: Volansi is a developer of autonomous delivery drones, shaking up supply chain logistics by providing commercial enterprises to handle the process from pick-up to delivery. They recently received an FAA Drone Waiver that allowed them to drop off emergency supplies in North Carolina.

On top of their commercial applications, Volansi is also branching out to providing drones to the Federal government.

9. Flexport

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5-year search growth: 175%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2013

Location: San Francisco, California

Funding: $1.3B (Secondary Market)

What they do: Flexport is one of the original delivery and freight forwarding companies to use tech as a tool for a traditionally very old-fashioned industry, which is commercial delivery.

Serving customers through airfreight, ocean shipping, or over-land, Flexport today counts more than 10,000 shipping clients and suppliers across 200 countries as their client base. Their ultimate vision is to build a global delivery system that crosses all borders and boundaries worldwide.

10. Darkstore

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5-year search growth: 171%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2017

Location: San Francisco, California

Funding: $30.2M (Series B)

What they do: Dark stores are small fulfillment centers or branches that exist only as local delivery points to drastically speed up the time customers receive their orders.

Darkstore has the grand idea of making all of the world’s products available to anyone no matter where they are in the world. Speed is their core value, with logistics guru Lee Hnetika (former startup WunWun acquired by Alfred) having narrowed down on 1 hour delivery as a key advantage.

11. Shippify

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5-year search growth: 192%

Search growth status: Exploding

Year founded: 2014

Location: Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Funding: $1M (Seed)

What they do: LATAM-based Shippify is a leading 3PL and last-mile delivery provider for Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Ecuador. They’ve developed an operating system for shipping that lets merchants track, configure, and create their own customized shipping process using local drivers called “Shippers.

Businesses often need on-demand logistics like restocking and same-day delivery and Shippify was built to bridge that gap. Over 160 companies in the LATAM region use Shippify daily.

12. NimbleRX

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5-year search growth: 155%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Redwood City, California

Funding: $60.1M (Series C)

What they do: Nimble is one of America’s largest and fastest-growing on-demand prescription startups. The process for users is pretty simple: You sign up, enter your insurance, order your prescription, and have it delivered to your house. Pharmacies like it because it boosts customer retention, patients because it simplifies an often tedious and annoying routine.

Nimble is aiming for 85% coverage of the U.S. by the end of summer 2021, and $1B in revenue by the end of the year.

13. Imperfect Foods

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5-year search growth: 154%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: San Francisco, California

Funding: $229.1M (Series D)

What they do: Imperfect Foods has exploded in popularity due to their clever business model of taking foods that are unwanted or discarded from grocery stores (but still very edible) and turning them into an affordable subscription model for food delivery.

Flexible options like free sign up, only being charged when the food arrives, and the ability to skip weeks or cancel means that Imperfect fits many consumer budgets. Imperfect’s customer base is over 350,000 and continues to grow.

14. Ninja Van

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5-year search growth: 2300%

Search growth status: Exploding

Year founded: 2014

Location: Singapore, Singapore

Funding: $396.5M (Series D)

What they do: Last-mile delivery is a huge challenge in Asia, where congested roads and millions of people mean that simply dropping off a package can be the hardest part of the journey. Ninja Van, and their proprietary software and logistics network, serve over 97,000,000 Southeast Asians and deliver over 1.7M packages each day.

Over 600,000 sellers in Asia utilize Ninja to successfully deliver packages via air or road.

15. GoShare

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5-year search growth: 1166%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2014

Location: San Diego, California

Funding: $1M (Venture-Series Unknown)

What they do: If you’ve ever wanted to pick up a piece of furniture or move a large object from one place to another, you’ve probably wished you could have a truck on demand for the time you need it, and then an easy return process.

Enter GoShare. GoShare is trusted by leading vendors like Costco, HomeGoods, Pepsi and more for last-mile delivery. Individual users can download the GoShare app and have delivery professionals on-demand in less than an hour. Their platform has over 9,000 drivers, 75,000 customers, and covers 32 cities in the U.S.

16. FoodPanda

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5-year search growth: 196%

Search growth status: Exploding

Year founded: 2012

Location: Berlin, Germany

Funding: $749.5M (Undisclosed)

What they do: FoodPanda is one of the largest delivery options overseas, operating in 40 countries and 500 cities across 5 continents. Partnerships with 60,000 major restaurants including big hitters like KFC, McDonald’s, and Subway mean they have most dining options covered around the world.

17. Daily Harvest

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5-year search growth: 520%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2015

Location: New York, New York

Funding: $43M (Series C)

What they do: Combining and capitalizing on two popular trends (meal delivery and a massive movement towards healthy eating) Daily Harvest offers smoothies to flatbreads to oat bowls all delivered DTC. 95% of their ingredients are organic and all of their 80 dishes and beverages are created by in-house chefs and nutritionists.

Flexible delivery options through the Daily Harvest app and a customizable schedule make Daily Harvest a popular food delivery startup in New York City. Daily Harvest’s 420K Instagram followers and celebrity investors like Serena Williams and Gwenyth Paltrow have further propelled their popularity.

18. Nuro

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5-year search growth: 107%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2016

Location: Mountain View, California

Funding: $1.5B (Series C)

What they do: Nuro’s ubiquitous self-driving delivery vehicles deliver everything from a Domino’s Pizza to medicine from CVS and even a burrito bowl from Chipotle. The vessel itself is a zero-emission, electric propulsion car with maximum protection for pedestrians like emergency braking and a rounded front end.

Nuro was the first company to have a commercial deployment permit by California, one of the most difficult places to receive a self-driving license fit for public roads.

Conclusion

As software continues to “eat the world” and consumers demand more and more convenience, expect the growing on-demand market to innovate through drones, autonomous vehicles, and other innovative methods of reducing the time it takes to get the things we need.

Delivery startups are unique in their near-universal equality since the barriers to entry are fairly low, and demand is high worldwide. Watch for several trends like self-driving vehicles, Web 3.0, and more powerful software to further impact this competitive space.

Written By
Josh Howarth
Co-founder of Exploding Topics.
548 Market St. Suite 95149
San Francisco, California
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