Going on vacation with family, or groups in general, can be a trying experience. From packing clothes and shoes to securing the hotel and restaurant reservation, there are a lot of moving parts.
In addition to all of these facets of the traveling process, those needing to bring extra items for people in their party that need assistance only adds to the stress. Most airlines require notice 48 hours in advance of the flight for those traveling with wheelchairs. While airline carriers tend to allow one stroller on the airline for free, there’s typically a charge for anything above the first one.
One company looking to simplify the traveling process for everyone needing extra assistance is Cloud of Goods. It brings on-demand access to a multitude of multimodal items, from strollers to electric scooters, wheelchairs and more. Upon landing at your vacation destination, Cloud of Goods will have the needed equipment delivered to hotels or rented condos on the same day. We sat down with Cloud of Goods’ Director of Marketing Jonah Bliss to learn more about the company’s origins and its plans for the future.
PYMNTS: In your own words, what is Cloud of Goods about?
JB: At Cloud of Goods, we’re like Uber for vacation rentals. Imagine you’re taking a trip to Orlando, and you have a baby, an older parent/grandparent or anyone that might slow you down a tad. You might need a stroller or wheelchair or some sort of mobility device to help move them once you get there. These are all huge, expensive, bulky items that are a hassle to get on a plane. Instead of trying to lug them with you, order them on Cloud of Goods, and we’ll drop them off to your vacation destination the same day.
PYMNTS: What’s the story behind how Cloud of Goods started?
JB: Our founding team has a deep background in the “sharing” and “peer-to-peer” economy, with members having helped found and launch earlier generation marketplaces like Rentalic and RelayRides/Turo. With this understanding of supply and demand, we were able to identify a lot of pain points around travel and sought to make it easier by having top-of-the-line stuff await the traveler at their destination.
PYMNTS: How does the pricing model work, and how does Cloud of Goods get paid?
JB: We set the pricing, while paying out to those who deliver the goods.
PYMNTS: Who does Cloud of Goods see as its competition, if any, and why?
JB: While we may have a few small-scale local competitors in any city (i.e. bike rentals, camping rentals at REI), we’re really competing with the inconvenience of trying to lug all your bulky gear on a cramped airplane.
PYMNTS: Since its inception, how much has Cloud of Goods grown year over year? Does it have any future projections for where it hopes to grow within the next few years?
JB: We just launched in our first city, San Francisco, last year and expanded to Orlando at the beginning of 2017. We’re being very calculated with our growth to make sure we can provide our end users with a wonderful and complete experience in any market we operate in.
PYMNTS: How many rounds of funding has Cloud of Goods received (if any)? If no funding has been received, are there plans to seek funding?
JB: We’ve raised a few hundred thousand dollars in seed financing.
PYMNTS: What does the term “Uber of X” mean to you, and how does Cloud of Goods fit that mold?
JB: “Uber of X” can mean a lot of things, but to us it means disrupting an old business model and letting consumers have the convenience of an “on-demand” access to what they want, when they want it. Just as calling a cab was tough to do in most cities, we’re setting out to make the billion dollar vacation market much easier.
PYMNTS: As most startups have their fair share of hiccups, can you share a few lessons-learned anecdotes?
JB: Remotely operating a new market territory can be tough. We’ve definitely learned the hard way that once your HQ team flies back to the home market, some workers that seemed like top performers may slack off (or simply lack the ability to find solutions to recurring questions), and that can cause hiccups when you demand perfection for your customers.
PYMNTS: What are Cloud of Goods’ 2017 goals?
JB: We’re hoping to expand into two or three new cities by the end of the year.