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This is Capitalism: Up Close, Inspired, Explained

Aug 9, 2017

Marc Gorlin is a serial entrepreneur, whose entrepreneur father started him hustling with the advice, right out of college, not to find a job, but to find a deal he could grow and develop. Marc did so, four times to date, with great success in each venture. Marc explains how Roadie, his latest and current venture, came to be, how he secured funding, and where he expects it to grow. Tune in for the moving startup story.


Key Takeaways:

[1:02] Marc Gorlin, Co-Founder of PGP Corporation, VerticalOne, Kabbage, Inc, and Founder of Roadie Inc. was encouraged by his father not to find a job, but to find a deal, and start something on his own that he can build.

[1:32] Marc’s father spent his entire life starting biotech companies, working on everything from childhood diabetes to cancer, putting in the first dollar, organizing a team, and getting the company running. To Marc, that all seemed normal.

[2:23] Marc wouldn’t trade his experience at the Grady College of Journalism in Georgia for anything. To get a startup to work, you have to make people care by telling stories. The ability of a journalist to take facts and create stories that people can get behind is invaluable.

[3:06] Marc lives in Atlanta, with a condo in Florida. There was a construction problem in the condo shower, so Marc was going to replace it with tile. On his way down, he got a call that the tile shipment would be late. Sitting off the highway, he noted all the traffic, North and South, and wondered, why wouldn’t one of them deliver the tile for $20.00?

[4:35] Marc realized that there’s an “unbelievable transportation heat map” that already exists in this country, if he could only tap into it. Over 250 million vehicles, with over 4 billion cubic feet of excess capacity, hit the road every day. Everybody has a tile story, leading to the creation of a community who use technology to help each other out.

[5:41] All the way down to the beach, Marc started calculating capacity in the cars on the road. Marc thought about the standard hub and spoke model of delivery, which requires customer density and utilization to work. Then he thought about the on-demand model of Uber and Lyft. These vehicles go out of their way.

[6:36] Those models are different from “on the way,” meaning someone that is in your vicinity is heading in the same direction that your stuff just happens to be going. That efficiency over time will reduce cost, with the added benefit of bringing people together.

[6:55] Marc tells of meetings and relationships that have come to be through Roadie deliveries, besides the deliveries themselves. You can have something in one place, and just attach it to somebody who's already going somewhere else.

[7:43] The model is the sharing economy. People helping each other out, with ratings and reviews, has its roots in AirBnB, and even eBay. You can see the history and ratings of the drivers. Small or large items, local or national, it all works.

[8:37] The typical driver member is one of several personas: regular visitors to one location, local drivers around town, regional drivers, or long-haul drivers. Roadie data shows patterns, and sends texts to drivers based on needs. They make it as simple as possible for people to get paid for going where they already go, and helping someone.

[9:47] In January 2015 Roadie started with $10 million in Series A funding. Marc explains how he finds and approaches investors. Understand what they’ve done in the past, use your past relationships, and find a way to make people care about and understand how what you’re doing could change something, and believe in you to do it.

[10:26] The business idea is less important than the trust that you will gather the right people, find the best customers, and do the right things, hopping from lily pad to lily pad, to get to the goal. Qualified investors accept that and are willing to take those big bets. Look for people in the industry. UPS is an investor in Roadie; they see its usefulness.

[12:11] Marc, a serial entrepreneur, believes this company will hold his attention. A couple of years in, they are trying to create a system that can involve everybody. It can create technology, it can move faster, it can be more sustainable, and get trucks off the road, using capacity that’s already there. It’s green, and it can bring people together.

[12:43] Marc Borlin’s big idea from that overpass on I-65, Roadie, is now operating in all 50 states, with 40,000 drivers, so far.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Marc Gorlin



VerticalOne (Acquired by S1, and subsequently acquired by ACIWorldwide)

PGP (Acquired by Symantec)

EntreMed (Now CASIPharmaceuticals)




Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia










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