April 1st, 2014
By Allan Maurer
Can a crowd-sourced start-up in Atlanta outfox the $86 billion courier and local delivery service industry?Kanga, which launched in March (2014) and has $1 million in seed funding, is using mobile crowdsourcing technology to match consumers with local drivers who bid to provide the delivery service requested.
After the consumer selects the preferred driver, an order dispatches the delivery location and timeframe. Kanga says it also benefits local or independent retailers seeking a competitive edge over Internet retail giants by offering affordable professional delivery services.
This “last mile” delivery service is so important it has firms such as Amazon considering using drones to speed it up locally. But Kanga has a different concept, innovative in its own way.
“It feels good to interact with local shops you enjoy but with the convenience of eBay or Amazon,” says Everett Steele, Kanga president and co-founder.
An appetite for innovation
Kanga, one of the intriguing startups you can meet at the upcoming Eighth Annual Southeast Venture Conference in Atlanta, May 6-4 in Atlanta, already has 35 drivers in the Atlanta Metro area and expects to kick that up to 100 over the next quarter or so, according to Steele.
“Atlanta has a strong appetite for innovation and a passion for all things local, which makes it the perfect test market for our launch,” says Everett Steele, Kanga president and co-founder, said at the time of the seed funding in March.
Steele tells us he comes from an entrepreneurial family. “My grandfather went from rags to riches,” he says. “He grew up in a dirt floor house in Columbus, Georgia, then at one point owned the baseball team and hotel in Columbus. My father built a huge transport company (Sunbelt Transportation). So I’m following in their footsteps.
He started his own entrepreneurial career early going door-to-door on his bicycle selling candy as a kid and says, “I’ve been in just about every genre of business since. Sales, marketing, technology, lots of different things.” Most recently that included Baby Robot Industries in Atlanta – which is a marketing agency.
A Hip-Hop cookbook?
Steele tells us the idea for Kanga came from an incident when he left his cell phone at a barber shop and had to pay someone to bring it back.
The service is looking at expanding into other markets, including Charlotte, Austin, Texas, and Tuscon. “We’ll be expanding aggressively over the next year to 18 months,” says Steele.
Steele himself – who once wrote a Hip-Hop Cookbook (“Bon Rappetite: The Hip Hop Cookbook,”) as a lark, says he is a diehard Braves fan and a mediocre guitar player. But he clearly loves Atlanta. “I love the history, the food, the innovation…and it’s bottom line friendly,” he says.