By Justin Schellenberg, November 21 2017 —
A beta version of a food-delivery app for MacHall vendors is now available for download. The app was developed by University of Calgary students Jason Meng, Pouyan Shojaei, Sam Ao, Satyaki Ghosh and Artin Rezaee.
DeliverUs, available on the Android app store, is a service that will deliver food from stores in MacHall to any location on the main U of C campus.
“We have close to 200 downloads already,” said Meng, DeliverUs co-founder and fourth-year business student. “Orders are coming in and there’s a lot of demand.”
A&W, Carl’s Jr., Kobe Beef, Dairy Queen, Opa, Coffee Company and Starbucks are available on the app for delivery. The creators plan on having a web application running this month and an iOS version by January 2018.
“We just need a big beta test so we can get information. Next semester, hopefully sometime in January, is when we want to have a more official launch,” Meng said.
The idea for the app started when Shojaei, a third-year chemical engineering student, was required to come up with business ideas for an entrepreneurial class. He and Meng teamed up to create the app after deciding the idea was worth pursuing.
“We both had a very entrepreneurial mindset and we always wanted to pursue something,” Shojaei said.
Meng and Shojaei then signed on with students Ao, Ghosh and Rezaee to develop the app’s software.
For all of them, this was their first-large scale project, requiring them to use the knowledge and skills they acquired through their courses at the U of C.
“All the software-designing theories and implementation that we learned in class helped in building this app,” Ghosh said. “The basics that we learned in the first and second year of software engineering was a solid foundation for picking up new programming languages and more complex designs.”
The team had help with their project from Houston Peschl, an instructor at the Haskayne School of Business who specializes in entrepreneurship.
“They came to me after they had their idea and it was getting going and they needed direction on how to strategically move forward,” Peschl said.
Peschl connected them with Innovate Calgary, a business incubator program that helped them hash out their plans.
“For the entire four months of summer we just did a lot of market research, talking to people, customer delivery, building our team and making those kinds of connections to actually bring us to where we are today,” Meng said.
Peschl believes there is strong potential in the team’s plans for DeliverUs but says they are not the first to try delivering food on campus.
“The problem is that so many of the previous students that have tackled it haven’t put all the pieces together,” Peschl said. “If there’s no hiccups there and they figure that out, then I think it’s a really elegant model and I think they’re onto something.”
For Meng and Shojaei, the ultimate goal is to push past the U of C and expand to other campuses.
“Once we’re established enough at U of C, we want to be able to scale to all the other campuses, starting with Mount Royal University, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, from there moving to University of Alberta, University of British Columbia and every other campus that we can hit,” Meng said.
Shojaei expressed his appreciation for all the help he received through his courses at the U of C and from the instructors who helped them along the way.
“Overall throughout the process, I’d say the learning experience is what’s most valuable,” he said. “You can’t really gain it in any other manner unless you actually go out there and try it.”