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Dolly, Chicago-Based Moving Service Startup, Gets Big Name Investors

 Dolly started in Chicago.
Dolly started in Chicago.
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CHICAGO — A new Uber-inspired startup founded in Chicago hopes to update the old model of trading pizza and beer for some friends' help packing up and moving.

Dolly pairs people who are moving, making large-scale charity donations or picking things up from Craigslist swaps with "helpers" — workers in the neighborhood with trucks, vans or SUVs that will help customers load and transport their stuff.

The app launches Thursday in Chicago, its first market, and where co-founder and CEO Mike Howell and his team first dreamed up the idea. They just completed a four-month beta trial in Chicago that included hundreds of exchanges, according to a release from the company.

To use the service, customers input what they need moved, and where, along with a date and a window of time they'll be available.

An algorithm developed by Dolly generates a "suggested price for each Dolly based on the unique attributes of every job, including the type and number of items, specifics of the moving environment, distance traveled and more," according to the company.

Most jobs range in price between $50 and $85.

Along with the launch, the team is announcing $1.7 million in backing funds, including sizable sums from Jeff Wilke, senior vice president of worldwide operations at Amazon, and Hyde Park Venture Partners, according to a company spokesman.

“Dolly has developed a scalable solution that will transform the antiquated moving, truck rental and delivery industry,” said Greg Barnes, principal at Hyde Park Venture Partners, in a release. “We see great growth opportunity for Dolly as this emerging market continues to expand.”

Dolly is now live in the Chicago market and is available for iOS and Android devices and on the web at getdolly.com. To celebrate the launch, Dolly is offering a 20 percent discount for all first-time users with promotional code TRYDOLLY.

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