At the height of the first COVID-19 lockdown in Israel two years ago, Israeli-American entrepreneur Avi Moskowitz and his team at BeerBazaar, a craft brewery with five locations across Israel, struggled to figure out the logistics of delivering their craft beer to new customers nationwide.
They joined scores of small businesses selling physical products from all over the world suddenly forced to contend with dispatch, shipping, and last-mile delivery to keep their operations — and often their life’s work — going, amid one of the worst global health crises over the past century.
In March 2020 and the ensuing weeks, BeerBazaar managed to deal with the first few dozen orders nicely but quickly became overwhelmed as such orders started rolling in by the dozen a day.
“Getting a product from Point A to Point B is actually incredibly complex,” Moskowitz recently told The Times of Israel in a video-conference interview from the back of a cab in New York City. He was on a business trip meeting clients and partners for his new venture, PrettyDamnQuick (PDQ), a checkout-to-delivery management platform for small businesses founded in 2020 — and a direct invention from the necessity of having to run delivery logistics for BeerBazaar on the fly.
Moskowitz and PDQ are well aware that there are dozens of existing tools and platforms that offer logistics and shipping solutions but many address the enterprise market — like Bringg, the Israeli delivery logistics platform for enterprises — and may be overly complex for smaller businesses, not to mention the hefty costs.
“SMBs [small- and medium-sized businesses] don’t have the same opportunities. And we are speaking to a pain point. The market has many, and our slice is SMBs because we know this pain, we were in their shoes [with BeerBazaar]. It’s people who get up in the morning and want to run their businesses to support their families. We want to help,” Moskowitz said.
When considering the operations behind e-commerce giant Amazon, “it feels like magic because they’ve spent billions of dollars to give that [seamless] experience. The delivery is at the center of the customer experience,” and one of the most important components, he explained.
Amazon has also driven next-day and same-day delivery as default options, which consumers have come to expect and ecosystem players — from merchants, to manufacturers, retailers, and others — have to compete with.
PDQ aims to offer that positive Amazonian shopping experience to clients and their customers, Moskowitz said.
PDQ’s software connects with e-commerce platforms and includes features like order arrival times based on location, cart size, customer loyalty, and other factors. It offers various delivery methods, including different services and carriers, third-party logistics options that outsource distribution, warehousing, and fulfillment, in-store pick-up, and last-mile delivery.
The company is launching its first partnership with Shopify, the Canadian e-commerce multinational, and will begin serving the nearly two million online stores through the Shopify App Store ecosystem, PDQ indicated.
“Our tagline is ‘super simple logistics.’ It’s a system for entrepreneurs and business owners, not for operation managers. Anyone can use it and be up and running in no time,” Moskowitz said.
Small businesses can’t control the volume of orders and they shouldn’t have to feel like they are providing poor services, he explained.
Moskowitz noted that the pandemic led to an explosion in e-commerce activity and “almost every store became an e-commerce store” — a development that is likely here for the long run.
According to recent figures released by the US Department of Commerce, e-commerce sales in the US alone reached $870 billion in 2021, a 14.2% increase over 2020 and a 50.5% increase over 2019.
PDQ is eyeing the US as a target market and plans to base its global presence in New York City, Moskowitz’s hometown. The company is currently based in Herzliya with about 30 employees, a team it hopes to double in the coming months.
Moskowitz said the startup is already working with dozens of customers in the US and Israel, where it is conducting trial operations.
PDQ recently raised a seed round of $6 million led by TLV Partners, with participation from Ground Up Ventures and Verissimo Ventures, “as well as some of Israel’s largest shipping, logistics and e-commerce brands.”
“PrettyDamnQuick represents a new generation of e-commerce technology vendors focused on empowering small, micro and nano businesses to compete with their much larger competitors,” said Yonatan Mandelbaum, principal at TLV Partners, in a statement in February.
“The team at PrettyDamnQuick has experienced the challenge firsthand and is perfectly suited to lead this charge and champion the power of small business,” he added.
Moskowitz said PDQ is helping small businesses — from local coffee shops, to small bakeries, clothing and art stores, and many others — position themselves to better compete in a world transformed by e-commerce with a checkout-to-delivery management platform “that turns delivery and logistics into a competitive advantage and ultimately a growth engine.”
“We invested a lot in making it as simple as possible and easy to use,” he emphasized, acknowledging that the industry is “likely to see more solutions in the coming years.”
“There is no winner takes all, we’re likely to see different solutions in the market,” said Moskowitz.