This startup offers economic opportunity by giving local businesses a better way to manage delivery

Consumers have irreversibly changed the way they shop – they expect unprecedented levels of convenience and speed. As on-demand delivery startups from Uber Eats to Instacart continue to grow, some small businesses are struggling to find the right solution for their organization’s needs. For local businesses to thrive in the current landscape, convenience is paramount.

Nash is a startup that aims to bring new opportunities to these small, local businesses. Shortly after their founding, they received the first-ever Ron Conway Economic Empowerment Award, which according to the Airbnb website “recognizes companies that empower economic empowerment and advance economic opportunity in innovative ways, while working to make the technology industry more diverse and inclusive.” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, along with Ron Conway and Michael Seibel, decided on the award winner.

We recently spoke with Mahmoud Ghulman, Nash’s co-founder and CEO, about how and why consumer expectations are changing, what opportunities his companies offer small businesses, and where the startup is headed next.

Gary Drenik: Tell me more about your background and what made you start Nash.

Mahmoud Ghulman: Prior to Nash, I founded a gig worker parking logistics company and then led business development at Mozn, where we built AI solutions to combat money laundering, stock market fraud and creditworthiness in finance and insurance.

Meanwhile, my co-founder Aziz Alghunaim had spent a few years developing a mobile application that connects refugees with real, volunteer translators around the world. The company went through Y Combinator in 2018. Prior to that he worked as a software engineer at Palantir on a number of high volume data issues.

The two of us originally met at a high school science fair and later attended MIT together. We connected immediately and have been working together to solve technical problems for a long time.

During Covid-19 we saw a great opportunity to improve the delivery space. We’ve seen a lot of untapped usage among potential delivery providers as many companies struggle to keep up with growing consumer demand for delivery. This gave rise to the idea of ​​Nash and following Aziz’s previous positive experience with YCombinator, we decided to apply to join in spring 2021 to bring our idea to fruition.

drenik: How do you think consumer expectations have changed over the years and how is this affecting small businesses specifically?

Gulman: In recent years, consumers have come to expect incredibly fast and reliable delivery at an affordable price – across all industries. According to a recent survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics, more than 10% of people have used same-day delivery in the last 30 days, which is amazing considering these services didn’t even exist a decade ago.

At the same time, this trend is causing problems for smaller companies. Starting a delivery service and doing it well is a challenge. It can get expensive, especially if you hire your own drivers or use a third party that can lose up to 30% of your order profits. Additionally, ensuring reliability – getting orders to the right drop-off location on time, complete, and complete – with existing third-party service options can be incredibly complex because they require unique infrastructure.

We are developing a software and logistics solution that allows any business, from a local grocery store to a flower shop, to easily enable reliable local delivery, using a large network of delivery providers that have already been selected and verified. All it takes is a simple setup and these companies are good to go.

drenik: With all the delivery services in place – from Uber Eats to Instacart to Gopuff – where does Nash fit into this ecosystem?

Gulman: According to a recent survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics, 22% of people over the age of 18 have used on-demand grocery delivery, so needless to say those offers are going nowhere. Nash works with delivery app services, not against them. Each is a marketplace that can be used in different ways and at different levels. They have massive fleets, but at the core of their business, they’re focused on serving a specific market: UberEats with restaurant deliveries, Instacart with groceries, and GoPuff with convenience stores.

At Nash, we view the entire delivery ecosystem as a collaborative network. We work with these marketplaces, leveraging their fleets to free up capacity for companies looking to build or scale their delivery operations.

Direct integration gives businesses access to these key marketplace networks and the ability to manually select delivery providers or let Nash do it automatically. Businesses get real-time price and time estimates, as well as information about the delivery person, including their contact information and location. We also enable customizations not available elsewhere such as refrigerated transport, vans and trucks capable of transporting large items, scheduled and hourly deliveries, and store-to-store deliveries and customer returns.

drenik: Can you share a bit more about how your company uses AI?

We use AI and machine learning to optimize delivery routes. We predict a courier’s on-time delivery performance based on variables such as pickup time, drop-off time, package value, distance and travel time. Businesses can build a bespoke delivery workflow using our API platform or access Nash directly through our technical partnerships with industry-leading marketplaces, aggregators and point-of-sale providers. This approach makes it easy for teams to reduce the technical overhead required to maintain high-performance deployment operations.

drenik: What’s next for Nash? What is your vision for the future?

Our goal is to be the Stripe of Delivery – the backbone of an entire industry. We are passionate about empowering businesses with delivery and creating space for new businesses to emerge and thrive on this technology. And much like the fintech industry has done with products like Stripe and Square, we hope delivery technology will help foster entrepreneurship and create new businesses by removing the once complex hurdle of building your own delivery operations.

To enable more businesses to offer delivery, we are expanding our platform and developing delivery strategies for new industries such as retail, auto parts, pet supplies, laundry, floral, print & framing, pharmaceuticals and parcels. We are also considering new regions and markets such as the UK and Australia. Our plan is to expand outside of North America by the end of the year and we are on track to do so.

drenik: Thank you for taking the time to talk about Nash and how you are helping local businesses better meet evolving consumer needs. I wish you the best of luck on this important journey in the future.

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