Palo Alto-based Beans uses proprietary data and machine learning to map the exact location of destinations like building entrances, emergency exits, and elevators in apartment complexes, hospitals, and dorms.

This data is useful for public safety, logistics, and utility companies—but cofounder and Chief Business Officer Akash Agarwal explains that the Beans app has developed an affectionate following among gig workers using it to streamline their deliveries.

We’ve just seen the DoorDash IPO—and a lot of news about the food delivery companies in general. But Beans is about the people making the deliveries.

There are about 2 million delivery drivers across the US who do deliveries for these five or six companies. That’s a lot of delivery drivers.

What role does Beans play in this ecosystem?

Delivery drivers use our app to be able to find apartments.

For deliveries, apartments are a nightmare. Delivery drivers easily waste 10 to 15 minutes per delivery. These guys are already making only $16, $17 an hour, maybe $20 an hour. On top of it, if they’re wasting 15 minutes per delivery, their bottom lines don’t justify. So our app, Beans, maps apartments to make it easier to find them.

Beans also holds notes like building access codes, and notes like, “beware of this property, there is a huge dog there and it might bite you; it’s aggressive,” or, “this guy tips me $5 every time to deliver.”

I’m in a note somewhere.

“This house is a great tipper. This person always tips me great.”

I can just open up my Beans app and find thousands and thousands of notes.

Since they’re always driving in a specific area, delivery drivers want to remember these things. If I am a delivery driver, I’m typically, every given week, delivering to a same set of, say, 1,000 houses, and after a point I’ll start remembering the customers—but I don’t want that cognitive load. I want these notes to be shared in an app.

People need this kind of app.

We’re also adding restaurants—the ability to rate restaurants and note their waiting time for the drivers. “This restaurant is great. They take care of the drivers. They have procedures. You don’t have to go there and wait for 30 minutes….” That will allow the driver to optimize both the pickup and delivery experience when they’re delivering food.

What’s the reception among the driver community?

Every time there is a question on one of the DoorDash or Uber Eats forums, “what are some of the useful apps that you always use out there?” Beans is always the first app. The drivers say, “you have to download Beans.” People need this kind of app.

What else do drivers say they need?

The drivers still need mileage tracking. The drivers still need a separate proof of delivery.

The apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash are already controlling everything. When it comes to dispatch or customer notification, they have all the information. If I’m an Uber Eats delivery driver, I can take proof of delivery on my Uber Eats app—but as a delivery driver, proof of delivery is basically me taking a photograph of the food that I just delivered, to prove that I delivered the food, with the timestamp. And when I drive for Uber Eats, I never just drive for Uber Eats. I also drive for DoorDash, GrubHub and Instacart at the same time. Some of them might have a Proof of Delivery feature, but the others might not.

The drivers still need a separate proof of delivery

If I use a third party app like Beans, I can just collect all my proofs of deliveries on Beans with the timestamp and the location stamps. If ever, two years down the line, DoorDash comes to me and tells me, “you never delivered this food,” I don’t have to rely on DoorDash, to ask them, “Hey, can’t you show me the proof of delivery? I’m pretty sure I took a picture.”

I can just open up my Beans app, and tell them, “here is a proof of delivery, and here is my exact trip.” That makes it easier for them.

Maybe one day we’ll be directly integrated with the companies, and the drivers won't need to use our app, but right now they need it.

How else can HyperTrack help? Are there tools where, if we sent live location data directly there, we would make drivers’ lives easier?

That’s a good question. I honestly don't think drivers use a lot of software. I might be wrong, but I’ve asked this question a couple of times before, and there are only two that have come up. I think we’ve only heard of Microsoft Excel, and then the other is QuickBooks.

Well, good news

QuickBooks has come up a few times, but not as much as I would like for it to come up. So my hope was to ask you, Jonathan, what are your plans? I was wondering if you guys have some ideas on what the two companies could do together to try and make some sort of push to get more users for the both of us.