April 17, 2015
Like many parents, Bryson Strauss and his wife Ashley Eaton were up all hours of the night most nights with their firstborn baby. But they ran into a pretty hefty problem when they began running low on supplies one night: what do you do when everything is closed and you desperately need something?
The two parents got to thinking one day that there might be a delivery service out there to help, but they only turned up courier services. No, that wasn’t what they wanted – it was all about the quick, friendly, and local somebody who could help them out.
And as fate would have it, there was nothing available in that vein. Recognizing an opportunity, the two teamed up to start Schlep & Fetch and satisfy this personal and market need.
They built Schlep & Fetch as an expedited personal messenger and restaurant delivery service that caters to the greater Los Angeles area. Within the network, they’re able to pick up anything in 25 minute or less and complete the delivery within one hour.
For example, you go to a bar and leave your credit card on your tab and head home without it. The next day you might be indisposed (possibly hung over) and unable to make it back to the bar, but Schlep & Fetch drivers can grab it for you and return it directly to your hands.
Further, the company also offers customized routing and delivery solutions for local retailers. To date they do about 15,000 deliveries a month with a crew of over 100 drivers.
However, it wasn’t always like that, and the first few years were incredibly difficult for a team that had no background in logistics. While the company was technically started in May 2011, Schlep & Fetch didn’t get their first delivery order until July 26, 2011.
“It’s important that you follow through and never let yourself be discouraged by your idea not working perfectly,” says Strauss. “I kept thinking of this quote in my mind from Thomas Edison to stay positive: I’ve not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
The dedication and persistence paid off as their first big break came from the restaurant world: these restaurants were having trouble finding third party delivery systems. Strauss came up with a unique platform in Schlep & Fetch, partnered with GrubHub and Eat 24, and when the mobile app world took off they became a white label service for their partners (LINK).
“It was really an incremental phase where half the time we were wondering if we’d get paid or not,” says Strauss. “We kept pushing and pushing, running things on our credit card before we got payments from customers.”
Money was a real issue for Schlep & Fetch, so they began the funding circuit and after arduous work they got the Pasadena Angels on board with what they were doing. Soon after the idea was syndicated to the Tech Coast Angels Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego: by the end of their Series A round Schlep & Fetch was good to.
If there’s one thing we can all learn from Schlep and Fetch, it’s that you sometimes just have to buckle down and do work. That and trust your instincts.
As Strauss tells me, this entrepreneurial path takes perseverance and effort, more than you’ve ever exerted before in your life. Sometimes you have to buckle down, do work, and trust your instincts: the successful end result is something you’ll love like a child.
The next big step for Schlep & Fetch lies in the world of mobile apps, and their iOS app is gearing up for a launch next month. According to the team, their further expansions into Orange County and beyond will go off without a hitch as well.
“There’s nobody else in the public consciousness that has this space,” says Strauss. “We want to become the household name.”
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