A Canadian-led company is pioneering non-disruptive disruption


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Last October a small group of Manhattan-based Canadian entrepreneurs launched a company built on an app that aimed to modernize the moving industry. Zootly is like Uber for moving your stuff from one place to another—except in one important way.

Zootly doesn’t displace the movers employed by New York’s 500 moving companies with a fleet of freelancers who aren’t actual professionals. Instead, it creates a network that markets, promotes, and organizes the moving industry to such a degree that it becomes an on-demand service. Like Uber.

“Zootly’s model is different than others in this collaborative economy,” explains George Colwell, the company’s Canadian CEO. “We’re not interested in some guy with a pickup truck that wants to make an extra buck, [but] professionals who have dedicated their careers to being professional movers… and help them eat up their capacity and get more utilization out of their assets.”

Colwell describes this as “non-disruptive disruption” and the industry’s established players are embracing it. “The hardest part of any business is the marketing,” Mitchell Newman, the owner of a small Long Island moving business, told The Globe and Mail. “When a company like Zootly says, ‘We’ll do the marketing for you, we’ll build the brand,’ I’ll take that deal all the time.”

By creating a collaborative technological tool that pleases both the public and an existing industry, Zootly is succeeding in an area where Uber continues to struggle. Colwell’s style of non-disruptive disruption has meant working with moving companies to bring previously unheard of things like precise moving times and mobile bookings to the industry and their customers.

Is it possible that Zootly’s innovation has made everyone happy? With any luck Canadians will be able to find out for themselves. “We really do believe in one to two years we’ll be able to spread across the U.S. and perhaps internationally,” Zootly financier Frank Bellotti says.

To read more about this tech company with Canadian roots, go here.

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