There’s a new player in the app-based delivery space — but food isn’t on the menu.
Launched this week in six select California counties, Garden Grove-based Xpede is looking to fill a very different niche in the on-demand delivery industry. Rather than working with restaurants or grocery stores, the startup instead offers delivery and pickup of personal belongings (things like wallets, keys and cell phones), packages and even legal documents.
Currently, Xpede’s rapid delivery service is available in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Imperial counties, which make up the southern portion of the state. The company says it plans to expand statewide in 2023.
For delivery and pickup of personal belongings, customers can download the Xpede app and create a delivery or pickup request for a specific item, like a delivery of a flower bouquet or a scheduled pickup at the dry cleaner’s. Xpede then assigns a courier to the order to make the delivery, either directly from the merchant or from wherever the sender is at that moment. Users are charged a flat fee for delivery and are given the option to add insurance for a small fee at checkout.
Xpede users can also send and receive packages under 60 pounds, similar to Uber Connect, Uber’s offering that links sellers and buyers with local couriers. But unique to Xpede is the ability for individuals and businesses to send and receive envelopes, including those containing legal documents.
And the startup has a nifty way of facilitating payment of those orders. Shippers can choose to have a request for payment sent to the recipient, or they can instantly download and print invoices themselves.
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Users are also able to ship several items before any additional charges kick in, and they can send two different kinds of items (a parcel and an envelope, for example) for a small extra fee.
Once an order is out for delivery, the Xpede app tracks it just like Uber Eats or DoorDash would, providing notifications along different stages of the journey. Each delivery also includes a verification code that only the user and driver can see, which is intended to limit porch piracy.
Speaking of drivers, Xpede touts itself as a boon for couriers looking for more opportunities to deliver. The company’s drivers are independent contractors, and earnings are calculated in accordance with California’s Proposition 22, which codified independent contractor status — and the limited range of benefits and protections that come with it — under state law.
The bulk of drivers for app-based services like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash were affected by the measure, which has faced repeated challenges in state courts.
Like those other platforms, Xpede pays its drivers by the week based on the deliveries they completed the previous week.
Courier base pay for an order is calculated as 40% of the delivery cost paid by the consumer. Drivers keep 100% of their tips and can make more money through special offers, such as during a surge in orders or a shortage of other drivers.
Though many app-based delivery platforms still struggle to reach profitability, the demand for their services has gone through the roof. In 2021, the rapid delivery industry more than quadrupled its revenue from $1.1 billion to $4.7 billion, and venture capital firms invested more than $14 billion into over 50 companies.