The intersection of traditional services and new technology is a common source of new startups. It’s a common thing for burgeoning companies to add “with a smartphone” to any existing service and call it a new, disruptive business.
For example, Uber is taxi cabs “with a smartphone.” Here’s another: Brigit is deficiency reporting “with a smartphone.” Now the co-founder of Toronto-based Hurrier, Adam Hasham, has applied “with a smartphone” to the local courier business in an effort to shake up the scene.
The gist of Hurrier is simple: order stuff and hire a courier through the website, either on your phone or your desktop computer. The entire bill is settled by Hurrier, and a bike or car courier grabs the stuff and brings it to you. You can leave a tip through the site or in person, and 100% of that money goes to the delivery person. Hurrier’s fleet currently includes both professional bike couriers and students looking to earn a few extra bucks. Hasham claims that Hurrier cyclists can earn 30% more than the industry-standard $10.50/hr of traditional courier services.
Hurrier purports to solve a few couriering problems. For one, they claim to be less expensive than existing courier services, especially the old “pay the cab driver to get out of the car and grab your takeout order” schtick. With Hurrier, customers pay by distance, instead of by zone; it’s very possible to pay more than needed when a traditional courier crosses an arbitrary boundary on a company’s grid.
Most intriguingly, Hurrier has partnered with a number of local establishments to integrate their menus or product offerings on the website. Hurrier’s tech is integrated into many of these partners’ ordering systems, so that when you place an order from Toronto gourmet junk food phenom Burger’s Priest, they get to work cooking it so that it’s ready by the time the courier arrives.
Toronto cyclists have waged a longstanding war with City Council and, in particular, the disgraced and frequently drunk-in-public crack-smoking sexist and homophobic morbidly obese affluenza-afflicted Mayor-in-name-only Rob Ford, who loves cars. Even as cities worldwide add biking infrastructure, Rob Ford has paid to remove Toronto bike lanes that were already in place on city streets. When asked whether Hurrier’s rate remained the same even through the relentless snowfalls on Toronto’s unsafe and bike-unfriendly streets, Hasham admits that Hurrier prices have been raised slightly to compensate for the bad weather and plowed-over bike lanes.
When asked about expansion plans, Hasham acknowledged that expanding the Toronto delivery zone, adding partners, and launching in other cities are all on the radar. He explained that expanding partnerships were informing the shape and scope of the delivery zone; as Hurrier adds more retail team-ups that are outside the zone, the zone expands to include them. On a somewhat related note, as Hurrier customers add more Burger’s Priest fare to their stomachs, their waistlines expand to include them.