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On-demand delivery startup Dolly raises $7.5 million to expand geographic spread across the U.S.

Dolly, an on-demand precision delivery startup, has raised $7.5 million in its Series B investment round led by Unlock Venture Partners, with original investors Maveron and Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer division, joining in the new financing targeted at scaling up Dolly’s same-day retail delivery service. The Seattle-based company provides customers with greater transparency in the last-mile delivery process, allowing them to tailor deliveries by providing exact timespan windows and location for delivery.

“Dolly is a consumer-obsessed brand in an industry that isn’t generally regarded as high service. We’ve taken the long-steady logistics equation that optimizes for efficiency, and re-designed the experience with the customer at the center. The result is a high-service, responsive, low-friction brand that offers what consumers increasingly demand,” said Kristin Smith, chief operating officer at Dolly, in an email conversation with FreightWaves.

Dolly’s customers can choose a 30-minute window anytime between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., throughout the year – a considerable reduction on the four-hour time windows that usually are the norm in delivery practices. On the delivery front, though the company has adopted the gig economy, it pays better than the market average for contractors hauling in the last-mile. Smith stated that Dolly pays the truck owners it works with over $30 per hour on average.

The newly raised investment will be channelized into expanding Dolly’s geographic reach, with the company expected to add 15-20 new markets within the U.S., aside from the 11 markets than it operates in today. The company has already delivered tens of thousands of retail items from major brands like Costco, Crate & Barrel, Lowe’s and The Container Store.

What sets Dolly apart from the competition is the delivery flexibility it provides to its customers – they have a say in when their product needs to be loaded, transported and delivered. Smith called this “consue\mer-centered logistics” – a model that puts consumers at the center of the supply chain arc and adapts freight movement processes to the consumers’ needs.

Apart from the end consumers, this greatly helps small- and mid-tier businesses ramp up their delivery speed and provide an Amazonsque experience. Companies that do not have the bandwidth to set up the logistics for expedited delivery can use Dolly to give their customers better control over the delivery options, and thus improve service satisfaction levels.

Smith mentioned that the fundraising would also help push for new partnerships with large retailers within the same-day delivery space, while also growing Dolly’s operational and technical teams to retain and scale the success it has encountered with its customers. “More than 95 percent of our jobs have been rated as a 5-star experience by our customers, and word-of-mouth referral continues to be our number one source of new customers. Net Promoter Scores are well above 80 as well,” she said.

The investment brings Unlock Venture Partners’ Andy Liu to Dolly’s board of directors. “The company and its world-class team has grown rapidly but also thoughtfully, carefully planning expansions around market demographics. Our support will allow Dolly to accelerate this approach,” said Liu. “Industry data shows that people are tired of the same old unpredictable and expensive delivery services. So-called last-mile delivery is in desperate need of an upgrade, and Dolly is in a great position to lead this space.”

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Vishnu Rajamanickam, Staff Writer

Vishnu writes editorial commentary on cutting-edge technology within the freight industry, profiles startups, and brings in perspective from industry frontrunners and thought leaders in the freight space. In his spare time, he writes neo-noir poetry, blogs about travel & living, and loves to debate about international politics. He hopes to settle down in a village and grow his own food at some point in time. But for now, he is happy to live with his wife in the middle of a German metropolitan.

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