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Marc Lore Plans a City in the Desert

While some billionaires are setting their sights on space, former Walmart exec Marc Lore has more grounded plans. Last week, Lore unveiled plans for Telosa, a sustainable metropolis that he plans to build from scratch, in the American desert. 

The sprawling 150,000-acre proposal promises eco-friendly architecture, sustainable energy production and a purportedly drought-resistant water system. An alleged “15-minute city design” will allow residents to access their workplaces, schools and amenities within a quarter-hour commute of their homes. Sounds pretty ideal. 

But, Telosa—named after the Greek word telos, meaning “higher purpose”—comes with a staggering $500 billion (with a B) price tag but could potentially house around five million people over the next 30 years.

Lore is attempting to coin a “reformed version of capitalism” with Telosa called “equitism,” where anyone can build and sell homes, but the city retains ownership of the land underneath. 

Planners are still scouting for locations. Potential targets include Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Texas and the Appalachian region.

Danish architecture firm BIG, led by Bjarke Ingels has been enlisted to design this dream metropolis, which will include hotels, luxury spas, stadiums, public art, and more. Ingels has previously designed headquarters for Apple and Google, as well as the Spiral skyscraper in Hudson Yards.

Ikea Plans Resale Hub

Ikea recently launched its furniture buyback and resale program in the U.S., joining other smaller direct-to-consumer furniture brands and resale-focused furniture platforms that promote a more circular, sustainable economy.

The Buy Back & Resell service will give IKEA Family members the opportunity to sell back their gently used IKEA furniture in exchange for IKEA store credit. Participants will then be able to give their furniture a second life through resale in the store’s AS-IS section. 

The Buy Back & Resell service is available for fully assembled and functional IKEA furniture only, and all products will be reviewed based on condition, age, and functionality. It’s almost like the Plato’s Closet of furniture. 

Ikea is one of the first large furniture brands to use a buyback model. Traditionally, furniture resale has mostly been run by online and offline antique/thrift marketplaces like Chairish. There are also a few small resell subsections of traditional retailers like at Urban Outfitters or One Kings Lane. 

More recently, a few smaller DTC furniture Startups like Sabai and Floyd have begun launching buy back programs, repurchasing and reselling their own brand’s offerings.

Similar to apparel resale, the used furniture industry is growing rapidly and is expected to reach $16.6 billion by 2025. Retailers ranging from traditional showroom retailer West Elm to couch-in-a-box startup Burrow have dedicated resources to switching out unsustainable materials with recycled fabrics or eco-friendly packaging. These resale and buyback models offer circular sustainability, encouraging reuse on top of recycling. And with the consumer preference shift to sustainability, it’s fair to say that this trend will continue to spread. 

UPS Acquires Delivery Startup Roadie

36% of online shoppers have ordered online for same-day delivery from a web-only merchant like Amazon.com within the last six months, according to a February 2021 Digital Commerce 360/Bizrate Insights survey of 1,052 online shoppers on omnichannel shopping. 

Moreover, 68% of consumers said fast shipping would lead them to place an online order. These numbers most likely contributed to UPS’ latest move– the company is jumping into the same-day delivery game with the announcement that it is acquiring Roadie.

Georgia-based Roadie is a delivery network operator that offers services including last-mile, on-demand, and same-day delivery. It’s an “on-the-way” delivery platform that delivers for some heavy hitters. The company combines tech and gig economy drivers to handle last-mile, on-demand and same-day deliveries. It has a community of 200,000 verified drivers delivering shipments to more than 20,000 zip codes across the US. 

The company reports a staggering 400% growth, increasing services to over 15,000 new locations and adding 5,000 stores while maintaining a 98% successful delivery record in 2020.

One of Roadie’s largest investors is Home Depot. During the pandemic, Roadie expanded its services for the home improvement giant in March 2020 by increasing same-day delivery to 600 Home Depot stores. It also added 300 more stores in April and by the end of 2020, Roadie was handling same-day delivery at over 1,300 Home Depot locations.

The company also has delivery agreements with Tractor Supply, Best Buy and Advanced Auto, and this summer reached an agreement with Bed Bath & Beyond. 

Roadie is the first “on-the-way” crowdsourced delivery platform. The company chose to take advantage of the extra space in passenger vehicles as part of its business model, connecting people with items to send with drivers heading in the right direction. It seems like a win-win for all parties involved.