​Uber Opens UberRUSH API to All Developers for On-Demand Deliveries

Uber today opened the UberRUSH API to all developers. Using the API, developers can integrate UberRUSH, the transportation company's on-demand delivery service, into their applications.

UberRUSH, which relies on a network car and bike couriers to handle pick-up and delivery of pre-paid goods, was launched as a pilot program in New York in 2014, and was officially launched in New York, Chicago and San Francisco in 2015. In January of this year, Uber launched a private UberRUSH API.

Using the API, companies like Nordstrom, 1800flowers and T-Mobile, as well as logistics backbone providers like Bergen Logistics and Trade Global, were able to integrate their systems with UberRUSH to offer customers in UberRUSH cities the convenience of same-day delivery.

At the time, Jason Droege, the head of UberEVERYTHING, stated "We’re hoping that one day through the UberRUSH API, getting anything in your city will be more affordable and reliable than getting in your car to pick it up yourself" and today Uber took a big step towards making that vision a reality by inviting all developers to build integrations with the UberRUSH API.

According to Uber, "Now anyone can build on-demand delivery right into an existing business – or dream up something completely new." The company points to an existing business, San Francisco-based pizza company Pythagoras, as one of many examples of how an existing business can tap the UberRUSH API.

The pizza upstart uses an app to collect orders and doesn't have a restaurant; it instead cooks pizzas in a commercial kitchen. One of its biggest challenges: delivery. But thanks to its UberRUSH Integration, the company has been able to increase volume by 20% without having to build a significant delivery team of its own or restrict its business to a few parts of the city. Today, Pythagoras says half of its deliveries are handled by UberRUSH.

But Uber isn't just targeting existing businesses that want to expand the delivery options they offer customers. It is also encouraging entrepreneurs to start entirely new on-demand businesses that sit on top of UberRUSH, something that would have been out of the reach of without UberRUSH. "The UberRUSH API means the logistics headache is over and the possibilities are endless," the company, best known for its ride-sharing service, stated.

The API supports the ability to get a price quote for a delivery, to request or cancel a delivery, and to retrieve the real-time status of a request. A feature for scheduling future deliveries is in beta and available upon request. The UberRUSH API uses OAuth 2.0 for Authentication, and offers the ability to use the client credentials flow or authorization code flow. The latter gives developers building applications supporting multiple businesses the ability to allow those businesses to use their own UberRUSH accounts with their applications.

A key to Uber's success?

Uber has raised more than $12 billion in funding and was reportedly valued by its newest investor, Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, at $66 billion. Not surprisingly, Uber's valuation and its meteoric rise has raised eyebrows and there are more than a few skeptics who believe the company will never be able to build a business that supports such a valuation.

Among those who are more bullish on Uber, many suggest that the company's ability to leverage its driver network and software to build a large delivery business is one of the reasons Uber could be worth tens of billions of dollars. UberRUSH will start putting that thesis to the test.

The success of UberRUSH could depend heavily on the success of the UberRUSH API. While Uber arguably doesn't need a public API to compete effectively in the ride-sharing market, convincing businesses new and established to use UberRUSH will likely require that those businesses can seamlessly integrate UberRUSH into their customer experiences and fulfillment systems. That's where the API comes in.

Postmates, which is probably UberRUSH's biggest competitor, launched its own API over a year ago, so Uber will be vying to convince developers that it has the better offering. To that end, the company is hosting events in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco in the coming weeks to introduce developers to the UberRUSH API and help them with their integrations.

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