Two years ago, Brenda Stoner encountered an all-too-common problem: She had to move a bunch of heavy things across town, but had no truck or cost-effective way of doing so. A true entrepreneur, Stoner’s problem invoked a solution: create an on-demand pickup and delivery service.
“Like most things, innovation comes from real need,” Stoner said. “As a big fan of ride sharing, there was a bang! And I have not slept since.”
Stoner’s loss of sleep led her to launch PICKUP, an Uber-like moving service app that helps people transport items that are too big to fit in their cars or SUVs.
Launched in 2014, the company is headquartered in Addison.
In its first year, the startup raised $600,000. And in December 2015, Stoner and her team announced that Perot Jain, LP, led a major round of investment funding, alongside Wetzer Capital, and several other key Dallas-based investors.
“Like most things, innovation comes from real need,” Brenda Stoner said. “As a big fan of ride sharing, there was a bang! And I have not slept since.”
“PICKUP is exactly the type of company our investment firm was created to support,” said Ross Perot Jr, partner at Perot Jain LP. “We look for emerging and high-potential technology-based companies that we can partner with and add value. PICKUP combines a transformative business model with innovative technology which made it a very attractive investment opportunity.”
The exact investment PICKUP received from Perot Jain LP, Wetzer Capital, and the other major DFW investors remains undisclosed, however, our friends over at Launch DFW report that it was somewhere in the millions.
“While we hear many great ideas pitched to us, rarely do we see this degree of alignment where the idea is brilliant, the entrepreneurial team is strong and the timing perfect,” Wetzler Capital founder Mike Wetzer said.
The fast-growing startup also revolves around an individual’s own schedule. Whether someone is moving to a new apartment, or happens to spot a great couch for sale on the side of the road, he can order a PICKUP driver through the company’s mobile app, online at pickupnow.com, or by calling 800-560-2168.
“We are changing basic consumer and business behaviors by providing right now delivery for bulky items, done by great guys who will help as much as required on either end,” Stoner said.
Most pickups and deliveries cost about $45 and take roughly 45 minutes to complete. PICKUP’s drivers undergo background checks and are insured for up to $20,000.
“This is all done at a fair price for great value that provides the drivers with a living wage. Everyone wins in the transaction, which feels great to all of us,” Stoner said.
That’s welcome news for anyone who feels badly asking friends to help them move. It’s perhaps even better news for the friend with the truck everyone always asks for help when moving.
“We pair a need with a capability that heretofore didn’t exist,” Stoner says. “In that transaction, the person at pickup, drop off, and potentially the person who ordered the service all get served well.”
The “Good Guys”
PICKUP’s quick evolution from light-bulb moment to fast-growing company can be attributed somewhat to Stoner’s focus on the “Good Guy” drivers and their pickup trucks.
“Our drivers are trusted military veterans, firefighters, and other good guys,” said Stoner, whose focus on the good guys concept is emphasized by the fact she took on the title “Chief Good Guy” as opposed to a more traditional designation. “I’m a Kansas girl, raised and educated with firm Midwestern values. Work hard, play hard, treat others well”
That attitude, coupled with a powerful product has paid dividends for PICKUP in its early stages.
Backed by good ideas, good guys, and good money, PICKUP has big plans for the future. As Stoner puts it, “Grow. Fast.”
The company showed its ability to do just that in late 2015 with the launch of its corporate partnership program for retailers. The first five partners that signed on to the program were the Dallas-Fort Worth locations of GR Home Furnishings, Grandeur Design, I.O. Metro. Port & Manor and West Elm.
“PICKUP started and is based in Dallas, and feels decidedly Texan. Texans are helpful, friendly people and that’s part of our fabric,” Stoner said.
Less than a month later, PICKUP announced a new partnership with Skyrise, a communications and concierge platform for commercial buildings. PICKUP’s app is now featured in the Skyrise Exclusive section of the Skyrise app.
“Together, we will unlock the community in each building and provide tenants with access to more dynamic and interesting amenities for their buildings,” Skyrise founder and CEO Bradley Joyce said.
Having shown its muster across DFW, Stoner and her solution for heavy lifting are now set to embrace new frontiers.
“PICKUP started and is based in Dallas, and feels decidedly Texan. Texans are helpful, friendly people and that’s part of our fabric,” Stoner said. “We’re taking that national.”
For a daily dose of what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth innovation, subscribe to our Dallas Innovates e-newsletter.