Mention Kozmo.com to most folks who lived in a major US city during the last dot com boom, and many will tell you how much they loved having a company that would deliver practically anything within an hour for no minimum and no delivery fee. Sadly, what made us love it was also its undoing — the mass quantity of folks who’d order a pint of Cherry Garcia and only pay the price of the ice cream meant that the delivery cost them more than what they were getting paid. If you remember Kozmo, get ready to feel old: the company folded 10 years ago this month.
I loved Kozmo, especially as a medical condition I won’t bore you with meant I spent much of 2000 at home or at UCSF. I spent more than I care to think about having books, magazines, food, and DVDs delivered both places, and can honestly say the company kept me sane. I’m certainly not the only one who remembers the company Business Week once said might become “the 7-11 of the net” fondly: CNET listed it as #2 in their “Top 10 tech we miss” rankings, and the bags used by their employees are a much-desired commodity, the the point that counterfeit Kozmo bags were allegedly being manufactured and sold.
The beneficiary of a reported $280 million in venture capital during its run from 1998-2001, the company frequently appears on “biggest flops of all time” lists full of head shaking over just how silly we all were back in those days, and how that sort of ridiculous shit could never happen now. Oh, wait. Keep waiting. Yeah, wait some more.
While Kozmo founders Joseph Park and Yong Kang have settled into what I hope is pleasant obscurity, the late company’s former CTO, Chris Siragusa, has gotten back into the delivery game, CNET reports today. Max Delivery, his New York-based Internet home-delivery company, was founded in 2005. It delivers Kozmo-type stuff throughout the lower half of Manhattan and is, Siragusa says, profitable.
He does not have any plans, he says, to expand into San Francisco, but you can still live the glory days of Kozmo by wandering through the wreckage of its site or by watching E-Dreams, a great documentary on the rise and fall of the company. It’s available for delivery via USPS, at Netflix.