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Uber dispatches its courier service to San Francisco, Chicago

After starting out the UberRush courier service in New York last year, the company has expanded the program to two more big cities.

Who wants pizza? Uber

Uber is going deeper into speedy deliveries, hoping to get you flowers, burritos and paper towels nearly as quickly as it can get you a ride.

The San Francisco-based driver-hailing service said Wednesday it's expanded its UberRush courier service to San Francisco and Chicago, after testing out the program in New York City for the past year. A slew of new partners, including Shopify and Clover, were added to the program to coax local businesses to add UberRush to their lineup of services.

"If every local business delivered, we'd all save time and energy," Jason Droege, head of UberEverything, said in a statement Wednesday.

The UberRush expansion makes good on Uber's strategy of becoming more than a people-moving company, as it works to transform itself into a delivery and logistics business that can potentially rival FedEx or UPS. The startup also has created UberEats, which delivers lunch and dinner from restaurants in 11 cities, including Paris, Barcelona, New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Uber is in a tight race against a clutch of companies looking to do quick deliveries. Amazon has spent the past year expanding its new Prime Now rapid-deliveries service to more than a dozen major cities. Meanwhile, startups including Postmates, Deliv and Instacart are all vying for a piece of the speedy-deliveries market. With all that competition, Uber will have to work hard to stand out.

To help it bring on more businesses in New York, San Francisco and Chicago, Uber teamed up with Shopify, which provides a retail platform for small and medium-sized businesses, to allow Shopify's merchant customers to start offering UberRush in the ordering process. Also, Clover, which makes point-of-sale machines for physical stores, will be adding the UberRush option to its devices. Other new partners include e-commerce platforms ChowNow and BigCommerce, as well as local on-demand ordering platform Delivery.com.