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Same-day delivery might be all the rage right now, but one startup wants to cater to an even higher level of impatience with near-immediate in-store or curbside pickup.
Here’s how Curbside’s app works: You browse its participating stores through its app, make a purchase online, and have the option of picking up your items within a fairly short amount of time either at a specially designated counter inside the store, or at the curbside, where you don’t even have to enter the store.
Curbside is announcing that it has raised a total of $9.5 million in funding, including $8 million in a brand new round led by Index Ventures. So far the company has been mainly beta testing in the South Bay Area, but it is now launching in two Target stores in San Francisco, as well as certain stores in the Westfield Oakridge mall in San Jose, Calif.
“E-commerce grew up in an era when you were home and would shop on your computer and they would ship it to your home. E-commerce is shifting, and its shifting from e-commerce to mobile,” Curbside co-founder and chief executive Jaron Waldman told VentureBeat in an interview.
“We think of it as the first truly mobile shopping experience. We’re indexing inventory and the products that are actually at stores,” he said.
Waldman also said that same-day delivery economics don’t always work for every retailer or shopper. Curbside, however, especially for stores that already having the necessary logistics in place, can be a good alternative.
While Curbside makes use of Target’s existing in-store pickup system, not requiring much of a stretch from Target’s staff, it will be providing the staffing for its Oakridge mall experiment.
Curbside uses an affiliate model to make its money, meaning that its partner retailers give the company a cut of whatever shoppers purchase through the Curbside app. This ensures that shoppers are always paying retail prices without a markup.
Along with Index Ventures, Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Chicago Ventures, TenOneTen, WGI Group, former Yahoo president and current Costco board member Sue Decker, and former Visa president Carl F. Pascarella also participated. Curbside will use the new funding to add more and more pilots and expand its network or participating retailers.
Curbside was founded by Denis Laprise and Waldman, and is based in Palo Alto, Calif.
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