In early April, technology platform Curri secured a $6 million Series A funding round led by Brick & Mortar Ventures with participation from existing backer Initialized Capital and new investor Rainfall Ventures.
The firm, which provides on-demand delivery of construction materials using a network of gig workers situated across the country, provides a platform for anyone moving construction-related materials to secure pickup and delivery of those items from major retailers and brands, including Winsupply, Ferguson, Airgas, Grainger, Fastenal, Lumber Liquidators, The Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Curri, which has about 40 employees, offers two types of delivery services – hotshots for local and immediate needs and “routes” for longer distance and regularly scheduled daily deliveries. All its drivers are 1099 independent contractors with their own vehicles, including cars, flatbeds, box trucks and bobtail vehicles. Customers can simply visit www.curri.com through a browser or the Curri app to schedule pickups and deliveries.
Founders Matthew Lafferty, CEO, and Brian Gonzalez, CTO, took time out of their schedules to answer the following questions on Curri for Modern Shipper. Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Modern Shipper: How did you conceive the idea of Curri and why the focus on building and supply materials?
Lafferty: “Curri’s idea was born in 2018 while chatting alongside my co-founder Brian Gonzalez and a plumber working at his home. We were intrigued by the frequent trips made to the supply store and started to ask questions to learn more about it. We learned that this ‘downtime’ is seen throughout the entire construction process. We were then able to see that the majority of these deliveries are in fact provided by the wholesaler/distributors of construction supplies. This became our focus as we understood the root of the issue in that these wholesalers needed an elastic fleet solution at their fingertips to increase sales.”
Modern Shipper: Can you explain how Curri works and what benefits traditional shippers gain from using Curri’s platform?
Lafferty and Gonzalez: “Curri is a one-stop-shop construction delivery service with flatbeds, trucks and cars available for hotshot, scheduled, daily routes and LTL/FTL deliveries.
“Curri quickly adds flexibility to an owned fleet by augmenting its capabilities. If a customer’s owned truck is out on a delivery, they never have to lose a sale due to delivery constraints. Curri allows our customers to say ‘yes’ to all sales. In addition, we offer a complete fleet replacement. Some of our customers do this from the get-go typically for new locations or gradually as they spin down their owned fleet and replace with our elastic fleet available on our platform.”
Modern Shipper: You have mentioned that Curri provides “elastic scale.” Can you explain what you mean by that?
Lafferty and Gonzalez: “Instead of having a fleet of underutilized trucks, a wholesaler/distributor can make this a variable cost to their business and call upon delivery vehicles exactly when they’re needed. This allows our customers to only pay for what they need. If a wholesaler doesn’t utilize Curri, they are leaving sales on the table and losing them to a competitor.”
Modern Shipper: While Curri provides the delivery service, it is the local branches of large suppliers that are making the delivery decisions. How do you ensure your drivers represent these businesses in a positive way?
Lafferty and Gonzalez: “We have a team of wonderful humans – our operations team – who assist both customers and drivers during the entire process. In Curri communications, drivers are reminded that punctuality and reliability are of the utmost importance. Furthermore, all of the drivers who decide to sign up with Curri agree to … a background check to ensure everyone’s safety.
“Finally, we aim to have a completely transparent process where our customers not only receive emails and text messages during the process but also have the possibility to see where their delivery is with our live-tracking feature.
Modern Shipper: You offer a variety of services, how do you find drivers with the proper equipment to meet all these needs?
Lafferty and Gonzalez: “Our driver-acquisition campaigns mention that drivers who drive with the Curri app are expected to move construction materials. During the registration process, we ask them to provide us with more details about their vehicle. Drivers will only receive deliveries that fit their vehicle type.”
Modern Shipper: What process does Curri follow to verify pickup and delivery?
Lafferty and Gonzalez: “In order for a driver to get his deliveries ‘approved,’ he or she needs to upload at least two photos at pickup and two photos at drop-off. It can be photos of the merchandise at the pickup and drop-off location, of the bill of lading or of the invoice, depending on what the customer specifically requested.”