Instacart rival Dumpling raises $6.5 million in Series A funding to deliver the best grocery shopping and delivery experience
Watch out Instacart there is a new sheriff in town. Dumpling is new delivery startup that lets you take control of your grocery delivery experience. The Berkeley, California-based startup connects you with a personal shopper near you and place orders from any local store.
Back in March, Dumpling raised nearly $5 million in funding to challenge the incumbent Instacart, as well as rivals Doordash and Postmates. Dumpling even went as far as poaching their veteran workers who deliver groceries to customers’ homes. With millions of Americans out of jobs, Dumpling has been attracting workers by tapping into frustrations with the “gig economy.“
Unlike Instacart which used complicated algorithms that penalize workers for not producing fast enough, Dumpling is empowering individuals to launch, run and grow independent grocery shopping and delivery businesses. Dumpling also promised to treat his workers better by allowing them to set their own delivery fees and to keep their tips. Dumpling has already signed up some 500 shoppers, mostly former Instacart workers. Dumpling’s customers are also delighted with many posting sharing their positive experience in Google Play and Apple AppStore. Dumpling has seen its grocery order volume surge 20X since March 2020.
To meet the increasing customer demands and fuel growth, Dumpling announced today it has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding led by Forerunner Ventures (a new partner for Dumpling), with participation from existing investors Floodgate and FUEL Capital. The current fundraise brings the company’s total raise to $10 million.
Founded in 2017 by Joel Shapiro, Nate D’Anna, andTom Schoelhammer, the beginnings of dumpling started with their original focus on building a community for workers to share their voice and promote positive change at their workplace. The voices of thousands of independent contractors in the Gig Economy quickly jumped out and grabbed their attention.
To date, Dumpling powers more than 2,000 grocery shopping and delivery business owners in all 50 states, providing the tools, technology, and business support that individuals need to succeed. This model also uplevels the client experience, allowing them to choose their own shopper and pay in-store prices with no mark-ups. Dumpling is transforming the future of the gig economy, while re-shaping the face of entrepreneurship and fueling support for local communities.
“Dumpling is a dramatic evolution in the face of the severely broken gig economy. We empower disenfranchised gig workers to be truly independent business owners and enable them to build financial stability and wealth for the long term,” said Joel Shapiro, co-founder and co-CEO, Dumpling. “Now, with the stark reality that millions of jobs lost due to COVID-19 may not return, Americans more than ever need a more viable, sound and flexible way to earn a living.”
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dumpling has seen an unprecedented 20x surge in order volume that has sustained as people are returning to their routines. Dumpling powers more than 2,000 grocery shopping and delivery businesses across all 50 states, providing the tools, technology, and business support that individuals need. Since shoppers recruit their own customers, Dumpling’s business model is far more capital efficient than previous gig companies. Personal shoppers set their own schedules and pricing, and keep 100 percent of their tips, earning on average three times more than Instacart workers. In turn, clients trust the personal shopper they choose with large, repeat orders, and receive a more personal, higher-caliber level of service.
“We believe that the future of work – and local communities – will be built on ownership and trust,” said Nate D’Anna, co-founder and co-CEO, Dumpling. “We are investing in features and tools for business owners to power sustainable connections with their clients. Forerunner takes this same people-centered approach, and has a long history of identifying and supporting companies innovating at the cusp of dramatic behavior shifts.”
With Forerunner, Dumpling joins a portfolio of companies successfully transforming their categories, including the likes of Dollar Shave Club and Warby Parker — companies that leverage technology to drive personalized experiences.
“Even after billions of dollars in investment, gig app companies still can’t create a consistent experience for consumers,” says Brian O’Malley, General Partner at Forerunner Ventures. “The issue is that too much effort is spent automating people out of the process versus empowering individuals in the field to offer more personal and consistent experiences. Dumpling flips the model on its head, taking the exploited workers and enabling them to launch their own digitally-native service business. At a time when unemployment is at record highs, we’re proud to support Dumpling’s mission of getting people back working for the best boss around: themselves.”