MAY 12, 2020

Louis Borders is sure he can do it this time. He just needs time, money and customers. And more robots.

Borders has raised $30 million from investors funding his ambitious dreams of beating Amazon, Walmart and others in the suddenly critical business of delivering groceries to American homes.

“I’ve always been attracted to really big problems, and this has been a really big problem for a long time,” says Borders, whose eight-year-old company, Home Delivery Service, finally came out of stealth mode on Tuesday. “And here it is still today, not really solved.”

The 71-year-old entrepreneur tried this once before. After founding the Borders bookstore chain with his brother, Tom, in 1971, he jumped into the dotcom frenzy of the mid-1990s with a novel concept: use the internet’s growing reach to create a digital grocery store that would allow consumers across the U.S. to store shopping lists online, order through their computers, and receive their food at their doorsteps. He called it Webvan and, like many supercharged startups at the time, it mushroomed into a national operation valued at $8 billion in just three years.

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