🦄 Unicorner Startup of the Week:
Onward Delivery
 ✍️ Notes From The Editors  
We hope you’re enjoying the holidays. With today’s issue being the last for 2021, we’d like to say thank you. Regardless of when you joined, we’re grateful to have you as a part of the Unicorner community.
It’s no surprise that deliveries are hectic during the holiday season. However, not many know about the internal logistics that go on when you place an order for a piece of furniture or an appliance from a retail store. That’s why we chose to write about Onward Delivery this week. We hope you enjoy today’s cover!
 - Arek and Ethan 🦄
Digital freight marketplace
Onward Delivery connects furniture and appliance retail stores that need to facilitate deliveries with underutilized trucks that are already on the path to a customer’s destination. By both “smart-matching” these orders with teams and taking care of communication between delivery drivers and customers, Onward saves stores a substantial amount of time and money and helps drivers find orders better tailored to their routes.
🔗 Check them out: onwarddelivery.com
💰 Business Model
Onward acts as a go-between for retail stores and drivers and retains a portion of the delivery rate.
📈 Traction and Fundraising
  • Currently operates in Iowa, Colorado, Nebraska, Georgia, Kansas, and Missouri, and is partnered with 75 retail stores across the six states
  • Raised $4.7 million seed round with investors like Range Ventures, Matchstick Ventures, SpringTime Ventures, and angels like Mark Joseph, Leo Polovets, Jett McCandless, James Eberhard, Andrew Leto, and Sean Henry
  • Took part in and backed by Techstars in 2021
👫 Founder(s)
  • Grafton Elliott, CEO: Previously Sr. Regional Network Manager @ CDS Logistics Management, Supply Chain and Marketing @ Towson University
  • Conor Mallon, Director of Operations: Previously Regional Operations Manager @ CDS Logistics Management, Sales Development Representative @ HomeAdvisor, Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology @ University of Albany, SUNY
  • Kevin Walsh, CTO: Previously Sr. Solutions Engineer @ Reddit, Sr. Solutions Engineer @ TripleLift, BA @ Binghamton University
  • Kip Price: Previously Investment Management & Research @ Thomas Reuters, BS @ Iowa State University
🔮 Our Analysis
You’ve likely placed an online order directly from a retail store in the past. While it likely went smoothly, we as consumers don’t know what happens with our deliveries behind the scenes. In reality, facilitating these orders is often a complicated process to optimize. In the case of final mile delivery, or the point in the delivery process when the order is being brought to the customer’s doorstep, independent delivery drivers struggle with balancing quick delivery speeds, optimal cargo space usage, and efficient route planning. In fact, according to Onward’s website, box trucks are driving completely empty 43% of the time—a staggering 2.4 billion cubic feet of cargo space goes to waste every day, creating inefficient deliveries and a significant environmental impact. Onward brings together independent drivers and plans out routes that optimize for deliveries on their paths. All a store (or “shipper”) needs to do is register their order with Onward’s dashboard. A driver (or “carrier”) can then join Onward’s network to help fill up space in their trucks with orders that are on the way. It’s a positive addition for both shippers and carriers and helps the environment with fewer overall drives.
📚 Further Reading
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🎁 Bonus Content!
Wondering which startups did best this past year? Be sure to check out this infographic from Visual Capitalist on the top unicorns from 2021!
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