Walmart is acquiring JoyRun, a startup that focuses on a final-mile platform connecting goods from 500 companies with its more than 30,000 runners who work as independent contractors.
“This acquisition allows us to further augment our team and ongoing efforts to explore even more ways to deliver for customers in the future. For instance, runners could complement our SPARK program and 3rd Party delivery providers. Our goal is to deliver as quickly and efficiently as possible.” Srini Venkatesan, supply chain executive at Walmart, noted in a recent LinkedIn post.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is expected to close in early 2021. The deal includes all the JoyRun assets, which will be incorporated into Walmart’s last-mile logistics.
JoyRun has typically competed with Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates and Waitr. But the JoyRun platform allows its third-party runners to pick up and deliver items for their friends, family and neighbors. The runners can charge a few more dollars or do the service as a favor.
Walmart said it uses multiple companies to help with its vast U.S. delivery needs and that is in addition to its in-house program known as Spark Delivery. In Northwest Arkansas, Walmart is using Point Pickup and Sam’s Club is using Instacart. Outside of this region, Walmart has worked with Roadie, Skipcart and Favor as well as others.
As the COVID-19 pandemic persists the increase in home delivery also has pushed demand to unprecedented levels. Walmart U.S. CEO Doug McMillon said recently delivery of online orders – particularly grocery – leaped ahead at least three years in terms of growth in a matter of months.