Ottawa's GoFor aims to deliver on growth forecast thanks to $9.8M seed round

Brad Rollo
GoFor founder and CEO Brad Rollo. File photo

While many startups have seen their growth plans stall during the pandemic, delivery platform GoFor just keeps picking up speed.

The burgeoning Ottawa company, which makes an app that enables suppliers to fill last-minute orders from contractors for construction materials, said Wednesday it’s closed a $9.8-million seed round led by San Francisco-based Builders VC. CEMEX Ventures, Mucker Capital, Plug and Play Ventures, Panache Ventures, I2BF Global Ventures and the Capital Angel Network are also participating in the growing startup’s new raise.

GoFor has been turning heads for more than a year with its just-in-time delivery system. The company made a splash at the 2019 AccelerateOTT pitchfest, where it walked away with half a million dollars in funding from Panache and the Capital Angel Network. 

Founder and CEO Brad Rollo said those early connections helped the young venture forge partnerships with top-name VCs such as Builders and Mucker Capital. Mucker’s other investments include rewards platform Honey Science, which was acquired by PayPal in a US$4-billion deal last November.

“We have a great group of investors who roll up their sleeves to help us grow our business,” said Rollo, adding GoFor’s new VC partners boast “an incredible track record of producing unicorns.”

Last-mile delivery

Now at about 50 employees, GoFor works with the likes of Sherwin Williams, Home Depot and PPG to make sure that when a customer places an order, the supplier has the capacity to deliver. GoFor’s new investment partners say the company has the chance to become a market leader in the on-demand delivery space.  

“Last-mile delivery has become table-stakes in the hyper-competitive construction materials market,” Builders VC partner Mark Blackwell said in a statement. “GoFor has capitalized on this and witnessed tremendous growth in scaling its B2B and B2C merchants through the GoFor Marketplace with an opportunity to transform the last-mile in construction and home renovations.” 

The company made some 40,000 deliveries for its clients this past year and is aiming for nearly 200,000 in 2020. GoFor now handles all express and same-day deliveries for purchases made on Home Depot’s website throughout Canada, and it’s planning to use some of its new funding to build up its partnership network with major retailers south of the border.

“We’ve proven that we can work with these mega-brands,” Rollo says, adding the company’s monthly revenues have risen 500 per cent since February as online orders from hardware and home improvement chains such as Home Depot have skyrocketed. 

Meanwhile, GoFor’s development team is also working on a beta version of another app called GoFor Dispatch that’s designed to help couriers and retail delivery companies ​– enterprises that “typically don’t use technology to manage their fleets that well,” according to Rollo – co-ordinate their schedules so vehicles aren’t sitting idle when other trucks are overloaded.

“We think that we have an opportunity there,” Rollo said.

The company has also beefed up its management team with the recent additions of veteran executives Chris Jarvis and Dana Borschewski. 

Logistics guru Jarvis brings more than two decades’ experience working with major corporations such as the Hudson’s Bay Company and DHL. Borschewski, the firm’s newly named vice-president of partnerships, worked in economic development at the City of Ottawa before spending nearly four years attracting foreign investment to the capital as a market director for Europe and the Americas at Invest Ottawa.

Rollo said GoFor has acquitted itself well so far early in its existence, but he believes the best is yet to come.

“Expect a lot from us,” he said.