Three college students decline $4.5 million investment in upcoming start-up Runn

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Three 19-year-old entrepreneurs are gearing up to disrupt same day delivery on college campuses and take on industry leader Postmates at the same time.

delivery, college delivery, on-demand delivery

"On Demand College Delivery"

revolutionizing the college experience, one delivery at a time

Many tech entrepreneurs dream about launching an amazing startup and receiving funding to build a tech powerhouse. So what happened? Why did this 19-year old executive turn down a $4.5 million cash investment opportunity?

That’s right, you read correctly. Not interested.

The young entrepreneur is D’Andre Ealy, the co-founder and chief executive of the on demand delivery service Runn. So why would a startup turn down a multi-million dollar investment offer? “We’re focused on having the right strategic partnership with an investor, money is a factor but having the right investor is vital,” he said yesterday.

So what is Runn? And why are so many people rushing to invest?

Imagine sitting in your dorm room pulling out your phone and being able to place an order to have anything from a local merchant or a restaurant delivered to you in less than an hour. The new start-up that’s launching in Fall 2014 is sure to disrupt the on demand delivery market for college students. With an emphasis on low delivery fees and quick turnaround times, Runn is hoping to transform the way students get what they need and want, fast. In the same way that Uber has transformed the transportation industry, Runn is gearing up to do the same. Promising to deliver it all, from dorm room essentials, snacks for an event, or even a television; Runn will revolutionize the market for on demand delivery.

Not only will Runn disrupt how college students can send and receive packages, but the company has also unveiled a product called Merchant Express, which will go after local merchants. Merchant Express would allow brick-and-mortar retailers the ability to offer delivery to local customers at no cost to the merchant. The API will give merchants the platform for online ordering and have the products delivered the same day. Merchant Express is also available for restaurants that currently do not offer delivery service, but would like to.

Runn is looking to offer college students a more efficient way of sending and receiving goods on campus by using their phones or tablets. So how does it work? From the Runn mobile app, the user can enter both a starting and drop off address, and receive a cost for the shipment service fee. Along with the total cost for the delivery the user is also able to see what Runner is available for the run. Users can browse a merchant’s inventory, add items to the cart, and then hit submit to purchase.

Orders are immediately sent to the merchant for fulfillment. Once an order is fulfilled by the merchant, the runner who is closest to the users location will receive a push notification and can choose to accept the run or deny it. Upon acceptance of the run, the user is notified, and can message or call the Runner within the app and is also shown a photo of the runner along with a brief summary of who they are. Throughout the entire process, the user can track the runner and check the progress. Once items are delivered, the user can rate the runner and save them as a favorite.

This business model has been successfully done within cities, but never on a college campus. It is nice to see that a startup is attempting to disrupt an untouched market. The company has reportedly been gearing up to launch at three public Universities in the next few months and sign up hundreds of local merchants for Merchant Express. The Co-Founders of Runn said, “ Runn will launch at as many schools as possible in the next 2014 school year.”

Runn is looking to raise a seed fund in hopes of being able to expand the mobile application and its Merchant Express service. D’Andre, the CEO, said, “We understand the importance of finding the right partners. We’re taking into account much more than money.” In efforts to help meet their funding goals, the company has recently launched an Indiegogo campaign and looks forward to reaching their goal relatively quick.

It is clear that the value proposition for Runn is to take over the on demand delivery service for college campuses, and power the delivery platform for brick-and-mortar retailers across the globe. The service will first be available at Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and Central Michigan University by August of 2014. In the mean time the company is already in talks with dozens of local merchants to sign up for Merchant Express, bringing the app to students and businesses at the same time.

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Preston Kenan
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