Postmates employs independent contractors around the U.S. to deliver food and other items (Photo: Postmates) On-demand delivery startup Postmates launched five years ago and it took two years to do one million cumulative deliveries. Now Postmates is facilitating that many deliveries each month--and it's starting to rake in sales too. In a wide-ranging interview, Postmates cofounder and CEO Bastian Lehmann told Forbes that in the first quarter of 2017 the company has already achieved an annualized run rate of $1 billion gross merchandise volume (GMV), or the total sales volume of food and other goods ordered on the Postmates platform projected over a full year. Postmates' corresponding revenue run rate for the same time period is $250 million, made up of delivery fees paid by customers plus commission percentages paid by some restaurants. Lehmann, a 39-year-old immigrant from Germany, is nothing if not ambitious.
Postmates is known as the app where the cost of delivery could easily total more than the food you ordered. That's because the app will deliver from anywhere. Postmates is scrapping that model, the app announced Thursday. Instead, delivery from any merchant on Postmates will cost $5.99. Delivery from restaurants on Postmates Plus will go up a dollar, to $3.99.
At least Postmates thinks so. The food-and-other-stuff delivery startup is introducing e-gift cards on Thursday. The email-only gift cards are available at postmates.com/gift in increments of $25, $50, $100 or $200. You don't need to have a Postmates account to buy a gift card for someone who does. The gift cards can be used for anything sold on Postmates, whether from a verified Postmates Plus merchant or a restaurant on the higher end of the delivery fee scale.
Uber has acquired online food delivery service Postmates for $2.65 billion in stock, according to the NY Times and Bloomberg. The deal is expected to help Uber better compete against food delivery giant DoorDash and will be a consolation prize after it failed to acquire GrubHub. The deal, first reported late in June, could be particularly valuable to Uber in Los Angeles and the US Southwest where PostMates is strong. Neither company has confirmed the reports, but are expected to do so later today. Uber Eats and Postmates will be led by Uber Eats chief Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Bloomberg's sources said.
Hanging on the wall of Postmates' stealth R&D laboratory, there's a framed photo of an iconic scene from Star Wars, Luke Skywalker bent down beside R2D2. Except someone has used Photoshop to replace Luke's face with Ali Kashani, Postmates' VP of Robotics. Nevermind that Kashani has never seen Star Wars (he considers this a point of pride). Kashani recognizes the symbolism of his face in a world where robots roll around next to people, where bots act almost like friends. Kashani joined Postmates a year and a half ago, with a special mission to bring robots to the company.