Apartment living is the ultimate social experiment. From thin walls that give you more insight into your neighbors lifestyle than you want, to the fight for the last parking spot, to those awkward resident pool parties. Yah, it’s safe to say that communal living is not for the weak.
But all those “amenities” pale in comparison to the aggravation that apartment dwellers face with package delivery. Lost. Stolen. Late. Broken. Sig required. Undeliverable. The list of excuses for failed deliveries are endless. However, on-time package delivery within an apartment complex isn’t as far-fetched as you might think. In fact, the team at Fetch is well on its way to making package deliveries something that makes living with hundreds of your favorite transient besties a little more palatable.
Fetch is the first off-site package solution for apartment buildings – as well as one of our brave Startup Roast contenders. We recently talked with Michael Patton, founder of Fetch, and a corporate-finance-guy-turned-delivery-superhero, to learn more about his new package solution concept.
Digital Dallas: Where did you get the idea for Fetch?
Michael: I moved to Uptown a couple of years ago and quickly realized that the package delivery system was terrible for apartment residents. There are just so many hurdles to overcome to get your packages consistently delivered when promised – and in one piece. Since my background is corporate finance, I tend to be more of an analytical, linear thinker. So, I mapped out an Uber-esque strategy that utilized warehouse space and a team of drivers to provide on-time package delivery for an entire apartment complex. Over the last year we’ve partnered with several of the largest property managers in the country to serve as their property’s exclusive package delivery service. Rather than endless commercial delivery services, like UPS, FedEx and Amazon, running packages in and out of the property, residents have their packages delivered to our warehouse. We then schedule a delivery time with the resident that’s perfect for their schedule.
DD: What’s been your biggest struggle with Fetch and how did you overcome it?
Michael: Neither I, nor my business partner Henry, had a network of C-Suite execs or property managers when we got started. We literally began with the basics, which included making cold calls, knocking on doors and personal visits to countless properties across Dallas. It was a lot of legwork in the beginning. Fortunately, the package delivery problem is well-known, quantified and highly debated. We simply rode on that trend, which largely piqued the interest of the decision-makers. Rather than continue to throw money at the same problem, we offered a complete and permanent solution. I wouldn’t say we’re disruptive from a purely tech viewpoint, but we’re taking a common sense approach that weaves in ecommerce – and the decision-makers are open to hear us out.
DD: If you could go back in time, before you started Fetch, what one piece of advice would you give yourself?
Michael: Everything’s going to take three times as long as you think it will. That includes closing a sale, fundraising and building up a team – literally everything.
DD: What was your first big “oops” moment and how did you resolve it?
Michael: It’s definitely been counting my chickens before they hatch. So many times I thought I had a deal or financing closed and moved full steam ahead as though there was going to be the resources to get to that next level, only to find that wasn’t the case. How did we resolve it? We made quick corrections. We ran (and continue to run) lean. Our whole team, myself and Henry included, was making deliveries every day through last year.
DD: What do you believe is Fetch’s biggest advantage?
Michael: The real estate business is heavily driven by who you know. I think as the first company in this unique space, we’re building up some solid relationships across the market. As those relationships mature and we prove our business model works, it’s easier to grow into other properties and markets through those relationships. While we’re focused on growing our Dallas portfolio, we also have our eye on expanding into Austin and Houston. Our customer service and brand recognition will go a long way as we scale.
DD: What’s the Golden Rule you live by?
Michael: It comes across as a little sarcastic, but it’s true: Nobody cares. Work harder.
If you’re ready to fetch (yes another company name pun – and hopefully I can keep this up) a few hardy belly laughs at the expense of Fetch – and our other clever startups – then be sure to grab tickets to this year’s Digital Dallas Startup Roast.