UPS to acquire same-day delivery startup Roadie to speed service

A UPS driver delivers packages in San Francisco on July 26. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

United Parcel Service agreed to acquire Roadie, a same-day delivery startup, looking to speed service and expand into atypical parcels such as oversized packages and perishable goods.

The acquisition, for an undisclosed amount, comes after UPS began a pilot with Atlanta-based Roadie to test same-day deliveries. Roadie will operate under its name as a separate company, and packages won’t cross over between the startup and UPS’s traditional network.

“Roadie’s leading technology, combined with UPS’s portfolio, will open doors for new growth opportunities,” UPS said in a statement Friday. “Roadie’s technology platform also will provide opportunities to improve existing, and potentially add additional, UPS small-package capabilities.”

The purchase is part of Carol Tome’s strategy as UPS chief executive officer to accelerate service as the industry moves toward same-day delivery. Tome is also concentrating on UPS’s core package operations, having sold the company’s freight trucking business earlier this year.

Roadie’s operations are based on technology that allows the startup to match packages to gig drivers who download its application. The company has 200,000 verified operators who deliver to more than 20,000 ZIP codes, according to the company’s website.

Roadie will add service that isn’t otherwise compatible with UPS’s network because of parcel size, perishable status or because it lacks the packaging required for the UPS system.

UPS was an early investor in the startup, which was founded in 2014. Other investors are Home Depot Inc. and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, according to startup data provider Crunchbase.

UPS rose less than 1% to $190.49 at 9:44 a.m. in New York. The shares had climbed 12% this year through Thursday, while the Standard & Poor’s Industrials Index advanced 15%.

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