Kozmo.com making a comeback


So apparently Kozmo is a company that once existed that delivered random stuff? Never heard of it before.

I always found it odd that Postmates has found success where Kozmo failed. Good luck to them!

They only existed for a few years around the turn of the century, and operated mostly in major (American) cities, according to wikipedia. Big accomplishment for a startup, but not surprising we haven’t all heard of them. I was busy graduating high school and starting college at the time, and lived 500 km away from the nearest city they operated in.

The best description of Kozmo that I ever read was that it flourished in towns that had a big dot-com presence during the bubble–particularly San Francisco–and served mostly to deliver Ben & Jerry’s to overpaid twentysomethings when they were baked and had the munchies, and therefore failed when the bubble burst. My guess is that it will operate in SF and NYC and maybe some of the nicer neighborhoods in the Sun Belt.

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Kozmo.com was a classic example of the “We lose $x on every customer we serve, but we’ll make up for it in volume!” business model.


Ha very well put. And to add a little detail to your very good summation, there was an awesome bug in their backend where they’d give you a free pint of ice cream as a sign up bonus, but every time you changed your credit card number it would count as a new sign up. And you could ping pong between two credit cards and get that signup bonus over and over… I think we signed up 10 times, always expecting them to catch the glitch, but the days of that first dotcom bubble in SF were truly wonderous in many ways, assuming you weren’t getting evicted.

And then when it went the way of all dotcoms there were those orange scooters everywhere, probably picked up super cheaply at some auction, with their vinyl wraps slowly peeling.

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I didn’t live in a big city at the time, so I didn’t use their services, but Kozmo is the subject of the classic documentary about the rise-and-fall of the dot-com era E-dreams. It was crazy – at its peak, the CEO of Kozmo meets with the CEO of Starbucks and the Starbucks CEO acts subservient to him!

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Another classic of the era is startup.com. Lots of hilarity in that same vein:

I later returned the DVD
Um, OK? You want what, a prize for this? Why not return the DVD player, or the bottle opener?

Mostly I remember Kozmo because they’d produced a lot of high-quality bike-messenger gear in bright orange with their logo, and when they collapsed some people bought it cheaply and then sold it as collectibles.

That was the official business model. Apparently the unofficial business model was that many of the drivers would also sell weed, though the company itself didn’t get a cut of that except from delivering the food that got ordered along with it. (Now that delivery-based medical marijuana dispensaries are legal in California, they might be able to turn a profit :slight_smile:


I ordered from them a few times in Los Angeles, and have an orange messenger bag of theirs as a random piece of late 90’s ephemera.

I worked there for a year as a driver (2000-2001). Ask me anything!

I will order something from Kozmo and have it delivered to Ebay Now, thus initiating the infinite loop that will bring them both to a crashing halt. Hmm, what shall I order? I know: how about 100 shares of their stock…shorted.

yeah, I’ll bite. how and how much did you get paid? was it like hourly plus tips, or were you an independent contractor who got half the fee like a messenger? I’m asking because I’m thinking of applying

For years I’ve wanted the domain name for a famous dot-com bust. I wanted kozmo.com, but it never came up for sale. Now I know why.

Please bomb again kozmo.

I believe they started me at $12 an hour. Hired by the company. Some people did tip, but my weekly income didn’t depend on tips. It’s been a while, but I think they gave us something per delivery and/or mile as well. It was definitely better than your average starting pay for a delivery job. Who knows if they will stick with the same model. However, if it’s anything similar, I would recommend applying.

There will probably be opportunities for advancement. The last month I was there, I starting learning more about network administration. I was in training to be the assistant / backup network administrator.

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I liked Kozmo back in the day but now doesn’t pretty much every supermarket deliver? I know Safeway does.

As much as I liked Kozmo I have to wonder. It this a sign that the time is right now and was wrong in 2000 or is this a sign that the current internet bubble is about to burst?

Yes, many supermarkets deliver, but they require pre-arrangement, and a relatively large minimum order (I believe its $60 for Stop & Shop’s Peapod service.) Kozmo, as I understand, is ‘on demand’ and has a much lower (if any) minimum order.

Yep, absolutely true. Was very convenient for when my normal guy wasn’t available. Plus, could get ice cream.