UPS buys Atlanta’s Roadie, which handles bags it won’t

By Michael E. Kanell

Delivery giant UPS is buying Roadie, the Atlanta-based company that arranges for same-day delivery of packages, the companies announced Friday.

Roadie, founded about seven years ago, complements the massive UPS business because the company often delivers items that are perishable and frequently in shopping bags that cannot be easily handled by the UPS system, officials said.

Roadie’s business model is similar to those at Lyft, Uber and Airbnb, other technology-reliant companies that depend on gig workers who often have other sources of income and do not work full-time for the company. In contrast, UPS is the largest employer of Teamsters, the union that represents the company’s drivers.

Roadie, which is much smaller than UPS, has arrangements with about 200,000 drivers who deliver to 20,000 Zip codes covering roughly 90% of the United States.

After the acquisition is complete, Roadie will continue to operate with the same name, providing the same service, UPS said in a statement. “Goods transported by Roadie will not cross into the UPS network and packages transported in the UPS network will not cross into the Roadie network.”

Some large retailers like Target and Amazon have added same-day delivery and, even after the Roadie acquisition, UPS needs to do more to compete with them, e-commerce consultant Brittain Ladd told Modern Shipper.

UPS was already an investor in Roadie. Atlanta-based Home Depot has also been an investor. Another early investor was rapper, actor and entrepreneur Chris “Ludacris” Bridges. He is still an investor in the company, a spokeswoman said Friday.

Roadie was founded by Marc Gorlin, co-founder of Atlanta-based Kabbage, which provides automated loans to small businesses.

Terms of the deal were not released. But the agreement is to be completed later this year as the holiday season hits a peak.


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