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Riding Wave Of Free Waffles, Stuff-Schlepping App Roadie Expands To All 50 States

Roadie is speeding up its expansion plans in response to higher-than-expected demand across the U.S.

Riding Wave Of Free Waffles, Stuff-Schlepping App Roadie Expands To All 50 States
[Photo: Flickr user Hernán Piñera]

Roadie, the new app that pairs road-trippers with stuff that needs transporting, opened in the U.S. Southeast a month ago after extensive beta testing to grow a user base of delivery requesters and participating drivers. The company had planned to expand slowly, waiting for a critical mass of users before opening the Roadie marketplace in a new state, in order to prevent a mismatch of requests and available drivers. Tuesday morning, however, the company said it would launch Roadie in all 50 states.

"Since we announced at the end of January, we have seen tremendous response from across the country and even Canada, especially after some people began to think we were delivering Waffle House waffles to their front door," said Marc Gorlin, Roadie founder and CEO, referring to Roadie's recent partnership with Waffle House. "A lot of them were excited and to be honest, some of them were even pissed that we were not in their neighborhood yet. Obviously this is a model that works best at scale, and scale is what we’re focused on."

Roadie works by letting users ("senders") post requests ("gigs") for stuff to be schlepped—anything small enough to fit in a car, from keys left at home to a big-screen TV in another state—and the "Roadies" take the gigs, getting a small fee and gas money for their trouble, usually between $15-$200. While not enough to make a living off of, it’s some nice side money for folks already making the trip—and a recent deal for free drinks during gigs at the Waffle House national chain only sweetens the deal.

Of the more than 20,000 downloads to date, more than 40% have been outside Roadie's coverage area, according to Roadie's press release. Roadie initially saw a lot of demand from Texas and opened up there a number of weeks ago as a test, but quickly saw interest from out West as well as from the Northeastern corridor. According to Roadie, demand was especially high in places like California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio. Gorlin said that as the company started to see the feedback, it realized it needed to expand even more quickly than anticipated to meet demand. Now, users have signed up in almost every state, including Hawaii, to start picking up deliveries.

"There are perks to being a Roadie (free waffles, roadside assistance, opportunity to earn extra cash), but the best part has been when a Sender meets their Roadie and they build a connection based on helping someone out," Gorlin told Fast Company. "This is pretty cool as it’s the technology bringing folks together, instead of many apps that facilitate not having to interact with real people. We prefer to bring folks together."