AllyAn interview with Roman Tsarovsky, CEO and founder of Allynow.com
Written By Jillian Godsil for Moonboots Capital
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Moonboots Capital is a proud early investor in Ally. Ally is the exemplification of where blockchain and retail meet seamlessly. No one using the application necessarily needs to know about digital assets and it is built on an active and expanding business model.
We all eat. It is likely many of us loathe how a good meal ends up served when we order take-out as opposed to eating within the restaurant itself. Ally creates better connections between chefs, restaurants, and the people they service while providing a more equitable business model for drivers.
Once upon a time the emergence of online digital platforms, loftily termed the sharing economy, appeared to herald a better way for companies to place their products in front of their customers. A whole new way of doing business was created where the sum of the parts was expected to be better than the whole and for a while the myth held true. We witnessed group working like Uber, group accommodation sales like AirBnB and even group data sharing like Facebook and other social media.
The speed at which they developed, and the crowds they attracted, propelled a whole new range of super companies, new tech giants as the forenamed. And yes, it was great to be able to hail any taxi from one app, stream music from many artists in one click, and share our data easily. We were naïve too as the rush to get online cloaked many of the concurrent abuses. We now know that marketplaces that collate people, data, and or products benefit the platform most of all. The link between merchant and customer is broken, and where physical delivery of things is the ultimate goal then here too the individual driver has sacrificed much in the way of progress.
Roman Tsarovsky possesses a deep-seated desire to eliminate injustice and inequality and he has the tools, the software tools, to do as much. Right now, he is tackling the breakdown between merchants and customers and between marketplace and drivers, where the latter have been squeezed in their working conditions. Being self-employed is often termed the ability to work all the hours given without reprieve and platformed drivers have seen their work grow while their remuneration dwindles. Likewise, the merchants offering the product, in this case mostly food and pharma merchants, are disconnected from their customers and are losing them in the last mile to the destination.
Roman is taking out the middlemen and using software, not marketing, to provide a superior solution.
“I come from a technology automation, machine learning background. I have worked with more than 600 businesses, helping them take back control of their customers, products, delivery systems, and most importantly revenue.”
Roman could see how platforms take huge commissions from both sides. He wanted to use technology that would produce an ecosystem where merchants could again interact with their customers. He started building systems that include marketing tools, smart push notifications, geo-fencing, and loyalty programmes. He also witnessed the higher commissions collected from drivers making it harder for them to make a living. While an inequality in and of itself, it can also result in unhappy customers through often tardy and expensive delivery mechanisms.
“Current systems are unhealthy.”
Building on Allynow.com, Roman sought to reconnect merchants with their customers, right down to processing fully transparent orders.
“There are savings of 30%, the merchants are reconnected, and the drivers get to keep their fares without having high commissions foisted on them.”
Roman doesn’t see current marketplaces as necessarily evil – just used in the wrong way.
“Marketplaces tend to be run by marketing companies. They provide value by offering merchants new customers and yes they should be compensated for that. The problem comes when Merchants reply on the marketplace and stop doing the work themselves.
“If they sit back and just rely on orders coming in, they are reducing their margins by between 20 to 30%.”
Roman argues that for example in the restaurant sector, they don’t have margins that high, so they end up working to pay the marketplace rather than the other way around.
“Marketplaces are just one marketing solution not the whole enchilada.”
The three taglines on Allynow.com are to take back customers, time and revenue. Roman explains how this works.
“Customers are the lifeblood of the merchants. We use technology to connect merchants directly to their customers – not to the marketplace. We are a software as a service company and that’s what we do.”
Roman’s company charges a small fee for the set of smart technology solutions provided to merchants. He does not charge per transaction – which ends up costs the merchants far more in the long term.
“It’s important for merchants to own their own data, to take back their customers and to interact directly with them.”
In the same way, Roman applies the laws of software to deliveries. His platform has been built to accommodate the different processes from window deliveries to curbside drop-offs. He has also built in tools to allow drivers to plan their day more effectively, incorporating batch deliveries for example, and forward planning for weeks if desired. The platform uses more than 15 separate conditions when calculating routing organisation, including traffic, time of day and economies of scale.
Allynow.com has been operational since 2019. As a software developer rather than marketeer, Roman has spent the last two years focusing on the solution bringing it to market, testing it and then growing again. Currently the ecosystem is available in all 50 states of America helping more than 500 brands in more than 2000 locations.
Until now, the company has bootstrapped its operations with all profits reinvested into the project. Using the decentralised model popularized by blockchain technology, new products are coming onboard at pace. A chat app for drivers and merchants helps communications, while merchants can aggregate their orders from other platforms onto Allynow for ease of order management. Roman has built partnerships with many other companies including Stripe, Square and Clover.
And of course, coming down the line will be autonomous delivery or Rover as he is termed in Allynow, which is a self-driving car. Roman’s Rover is unique of course and the actual delivery vehicle will be separate from the actual container – giving bigger scope for delivery types. In time too a hybrid model may be developed. It’s all down to the fact that Roman comes from the technology automation field and not marketing – he builds what his customers need.