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Zero-waste delivery startup expanding reach in Arlington after $38M in new funding

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

A startup that bills itself as a “modern-day milkman” is deepening its reach in Arlington after securing $38 million in new funding.

The Rounds delivers home essentials, like cleaning supplies, and goods from local companies such as D.C.-based Compass Coffee and Seylou Bakery, in reusable or sustainable packaging. On the same day of each week, members swap their empty containers for replenished products.

After launching in Philadelphia in 2019, The Rounds expanded into D.C., Virginia and Miami over the last year. Today, it serves about 10,000 members, according to a blog post announcing the funding.

The Rounds will be expanding its reach first via pick-up at two locations in Arlington: Compass Coffee in Rosslyn (1201 Wilson Blvd) and Movement Crystal City (1235 S. Clark Street). Pick-up is also available from Alexandria’s Sportrock Climbing Centers (5308 Eisenhower Ave).

“Pickup locations are usually what we start out with in new zip codes where we’re still building up a Member base and setting up our refillment centers in that location, so we usually lean on them as we’re getting set up and then transition to at-door delivery when we can support it,” says Nikhita Prasanna, the chief of staff at The Rounds.

The Rounds is now offering a pick-up option for Arlington residents living in the 22202, 22211, 22213, 22214, 22203, 22204, 22205 and 22206 zip codes, Prasanna says. For now, it’s only delivering to residents in the 22201, 22207 and 22203 zip codes.

As for why The Rounds has chosen climbing gyms, she says that is because a lot of its target audience climbs recreationally.

“When we started doing events at climbing gyms, we noticed that people were super excited about The Rounds and regularly came to the climbing gym as part of their weekly routine,” she tells ARLnow. “So, we worked with our climbing gym partners to set up pickup spots so that when Members come to do their climbing, they can also get refilled. We’re not limited to climbing gyms as the only pick-up spots, but we’ve found that the climbing community tends to be mission-aligned and excited about our service.”

The chief of staff said her team hopes to begin at-door deliveries in these eight Arlington zip codes next year.

That effort could get a boost from an upcoming zoning change. Arlington County may soon allow micro-fulfillment centers as an alternative use for vacant office units, as a way to bring down its 20.8% office vacancy rate and meet an increasing delivery demand.

While Prasanna couldn’t speak to the work the operations team may be doing on this locally, she said that is likely “something we’re exploring to allow us to better serve Arlington residents.”

Meanwhile, The Rounds is looking for more apartment buildings with which to partner.

“We already work with a number building partners in Arlington, and we’re looking to expand partnerships,” she said. “If any reader is excited about our concept and lives in a building they think would be willing to partner, we would love any leads. We’re actively working on building partnerships right now.”

The startup is also planning to use the funding to improve the technology it uses to predict when customers need refills, or its “Psychic Home Manager.”

“We’re able to use technology to build a predictive engine that allows us to anticipate what you need before you run out,” said co-founder Alex Torrey in a statement.

Additionally, The Rounds announced that it is partnering with a tech startup started by General Motors, called BrightDrop, to test out delivery via electric vehicles.

The funding — led by private equity company Redpoint Ventures and venture capital company Andreesen Horowitz — follows a $4 million round of seed funding, per the blog post.

The Rounds co-founders, Alex Torrey and Byungwoo Ko

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