Just as Uber and Lyft allow people to earn some extra money as cab drivers, Atlanta-based startup Roadie is letting people embrace their inner mail carrier. And it just gained an unlikely partner: trucker-favorite Waffle House.
Roadie relies on a simple premise -- it connects people who want a package delivered with drivers who are already on their way to that destination. The DIY-shipping company is still very new -- it launched late last month -- operating in just 10 states in the southeast region of the country and has delivered an estimated 50 parcels.
Roadie drivers have to arrange to pick up packages from the sender and drop them off with the receiver, which means they need a meeting spot. That’s where Waffle House comes in.
As of today, all of the restaurant’s locations can be used as meeting points for Roadie package exchanges, according to the Wall Street Journal, which originally reported the story. Because its restaurants are open 24 hours a day and are usually situated close to major throughways, Waffle House seems to make for a pretty sweet drop spot. The restaurant will also offer Roadie drivers a free waffle and drink when they use one of the Waffle House locations.
Venturing into the sharing economy is an interesting move for the nearly 60-year old chain; as CEO Walt Ehmer told the Journal, “We’re just bacon and eggs over here.” Yet, it seems that Ehmer has his eye on innovation, and the peer-to-peer market has been particularly inspiring. “I’ve been amazed with the explosion of Uber and Airbnb and other technology that kind of enables people to get together and conduct business together,” he said.
Beyond Waffle House, Roadie has caught the attention of other well-known business professionals. Investors including Alan Schwartz of Guggenheim Partners, Tommorow Ventures (started by Google’s Eric Schmidt) and -- wait for it -- the UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund have contributed to the more than $10 million that Roadie raised in its first investment round.