Sydney startup Grabox wants to help rideshare drivers earn more with “in-car convenience stores”

- March 4, 2019 2 MIN READ

As a constant snacker, I like to have easy access to snacks wherever I am – overpaying for a tiny packet of chips from a vending machine at the train station? Sign me up. 

One of the last places that has remained snackless is the taxi or rideshare trip – until now. Bringing easy snacking convenience to your rideshare vehicle of choice is startup Grabox.

Founded by Kashish Mehta, Dhruv Kohli, and Harsh Bhagat, the startup has dubbed itself an “in-car convenience store”: it distributes to drivers boxes full of snacks, complete with a cashless payment system, that passengers can buy during their ride.

As Kohli explained, the idea came from seeing drivers offer things like mints and water to passengers, paid for out of their own pockets; while, of course, not mandatory, drivers see offering these things as a good way to get a strong rating – and they have come to be almost expected by riders.

“That led us to wonder if we could provide [drivers] a way to offer more to the riders without having to pay anything out of their own income,” Kohli explained.

The system is free for drivers, who can sign up online by providing their key contact details, screenshot of their rideshare platform driver profile, shipping details, and their bank details for payments to be deposited into.

Drivers are able to customise the products in their box, choosing what they do and don’t want. They receive a 20 percent commission on all sales.

The system is cashless, with riders able to pay with their mobile wallet or card.

An information card on the Grabox will direct them to Getgrabox.store, where they will be prompted to enter their vehicle’s four digit code; alternatively, they can scan the QR code on the information card. They will then be able to enter the store, make a selection, and pay.

Their driver will then be sent a notification detailing what has been bought, and be able to hand the product over.

The startup is working to bring on driver partners through digital marketing. “The pitch to them is the bonus income, rider tips, and higher ratings,” Kohli said.

Grabox is also looking to work with brands, promising them access to digital advertising opportunities, customer insights, and market access to product trials, sampling, and retail opportunities.

Following a trial period, Grabox officially launched in late February with 500 drivers on board (or, as Kohli puts it, “500 convenience stores across six states in Australia”).

“Grabox is a medium for rideshare drivers to earn better while being able to maintain the much-needed work-life balance while also helping brands to connect with their customers through an all-new data-driven distribution channel,” Kohli said.

“In terms of riders, Grabox hopes to bring convenience into the lives of all those who are constantly on the go with busy schedules by making it possible for them to get the essentials without a need to go out looking for a 7-Eleven.”

While there are no official figures around the number of rideshare drivers in Australia, various reports point to a significant market: Uber last year reported it has over 60,000 drivers across Australia.

Uber itself has seen value in the in-car convenience store idea, last year signing an exclusive deal with Cargo, an American startup providing rideshare drivers with snack boxes.