PHILADELPHIA — Lula, a delivery solution for convenience stores, announced $5.5 million in seed funding co-led by Ripple Ventures, Outlander VC and Up Partners. The round also had participation from several other investment firms and angel investors.
“Lula is democratizing e-commerce for stores (convenience, gas stations, liquor, general retail, cannabis) that traditionally have not had the means to deliver online using third-party delivery platforms,” the company said. “The funding will be used to expand the rapidly growing network of convenience stores, hire talent and expand the technology that makes it easy for stores to access every major delivery platform through a single easy-to-use software.”
Founded by Drexel University graduates Adit Gupta and Tom Falzani, Lula closed a $1 million pre-seed round in summer 2021 and grew to offer delivery in over 30 cities, bringing their total raise to $6.5 million within a year.
Lula was founded after Gupta’s parents’ convenience store in New Jersey closed down in mid-2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gupta and Falzani spent weeks trying to help the store survive but were never able to use delivery to boost sales. This drove both to build their own solution that was optimized for an industry that has been underserved by technology giants, they said. Growing their store count over 30% month-over-month, Lula is working to expand to all 50 states in 2022.
“There are over 150,000 convenience stores across the United States, and over 90% of the population lives within 1 mile of a store. It’s baffling how hard it is for stores to take advantage of online delivery. Lula aims to make convenience stores just a little more convenient by helping them deliver on every delivery platform online in the easiest way possible,” said Gupta, co-founder and CEO.
Lula’s platform offers a 0% commission experience for merchants and allows companies to deliver their store’s items through Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates, Grubhub and other marketplaces directly to customers, the company said.
The pandemic has accelerated the demand for delivery services. Lula was created to bridge the gap between local convenience stores and delivery services so that online shoppers can order everything from snacks to toilet paper while supporting small local businesses, the company said.
“I’m excited to see Lula ramping up to make delivery services accessible to local businesses. The pandemic has hit Main Street hard, and Lula is a great way for local merchants to access the rapidly growing delivery space,” said Matt Cohen, managing partner of Ripple Ventures, a recent investor. “Adit and Tom have identified a huge opportunity, and I’m extremely proud of Adit’s journey through Ripple X.”
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