To say 2020 was something of a perfect storm for Orlando-based tech company OneRail might be an understatement.
The company provides delivery services of all kinds what is called “last mile” support.
As the pandemic pushed more people to work from home, it also lit a charge into delivery services of all kinds, whether it was delivery of fast food from Wendy’s, electronics from Best Buy or, well, anything from Amazon.
“Last mile” support connects delivery drivers with businesses that have promised its customers to deliver goods on time.
“It just happened that everything that happened last year was in the direction that we were going,” said Bill Catania, CEO of OneRail. “We exist in something that already had a big need even before the pandemic.”
The company recently moved into an 18,000-square-foot facility, an effort to accommodate what Catania says will be a workforce of at least 100 by the end of the year.
OneRail employs about 65 right now.
Essentially, when you order an item from Amazon, for instance, the business that you buy from needs to find a delivery driver in the region.
That’s where OneRail does its work, helping connect retail businesses with drivers for services like Postmates or DoorDash.
“The problem that retailers have is that as ecommerce accelerates, it becomes less efficient for them to manage it on their own,” Catania said. “We don’t have to change behavior to make this platform scale. The behavior has already changed and it continues to go toward an ecommerce model.”
Catania said Amazon raised the bar, as consumers now expect efficient, accurate and quality delivery services from all businesses.
“If I can’t deliver as efficiently as Amazon, I’m in trouble,” he said.
Early last year, just before the pandemic pushed everybody home, OneRail completed an investment round of nearly $6 million.
At the time, the company had 10 employees in downtown Orlando.
Catania characterizes OneRail as a tool for businesses who want to start offering same-day delivery, which consumers have become accustomed to.
“This shift (toward more home delivery) was happening before COVID,” Catania said. “But the acceleration of customers choosing to buy online put pressure on the companies to provide delivery. It’s not even that customers want delivery now. They expect it.”