Monday, February 2, 2015
Favor: Running Out For Stuff So You Don't Have To
Tired of standing in line at the store, waiting to buy something you need? Wish you didn't have to wait for your take out order? What if you could ask someone else to pick all of that up for you? That's the idea behind Favor(www.favordelivery.com), an Austin startup co-founded by Zac Maurais
First, for those who haven't heard of Favor, talk about your service?
Zac Maurais: Favor is the way to have anything you want delivered. It's an app for the iPhone and Android. When you go onto the app, you can see places in your area that are the most popular places around you. You can then request something from those locations, and even anything else you can purchase at a local store. The majority of our orders tend to be food things.
What's the business model behind Favor?
Zac Maurais: When people request to have an item purchased, we dispatch it to a person, who we call a Favor Runner. Those are bikers and drivesr, who works behind the scenes as a personal assistant, to buy whatever you need. They type in their receipt, how much it costs, and the person checks out through the app. We have a lot of independent agents, who are out there running around town picking up what you need. It's like Uber and Lyft. All of the payments are handled within the app.
What's your background and how did you start the company?
Zac Maurais: I started Favor with a good friend from high school We started up as we were graduating from college. We started the site as we were graduating from college. We had a pain point, which was shopping. It's no fun to fight for parking, at your time is much more valuable than waiting in line for what you need. The first concept, was the idea that you could communicate what you needed to your friends headed to the store, and have them pick up what you need, and save you a trip. Neither of us had a background in development, and didn't even know where to start, so we picked up a Coding for Dummies book, built our minimal viable product, and launched. That was when we were at Cal Poly, two years ago.
From there, we connected with Tim Draper, through the Boost accelerator, which is run by Tim's son. We learned a lot about entrepreneurship, and got to hear many guest speakers to learn about finance, growth, and building out a team. There were lots of big companies there, and even the guy who started Google Docs and Google Drive. That was about the same time as Lyft was getting off the ground in San Francisco, and we were seeing how they got their marketplace model to work. My co-founder and I had delivered pizzas together in high school, and we thought perhaps that same concept could be applied to food. We tried to figured out a way to cover the most popular places, and make it so you could get delivery from any local place. We closed a little money with Tim Draper of DFJ. That gave us enough to launch in Austin. We launched in June of 2013, and it's been a little over a year and a half since that launch, and we've done pretty well.
How did you end up in Austin?
Zac Maurais: We actually came to Austin on a road trip. I was moving my car from New Hampshire to California, so we could run a pilot. We had stopped in Austin for a couple of days, even though it was a little out of the way, because we heard how cool of a a city it was. We went down 6TH Street, and we had tacos and BBQ. We were blown away by Austin and the peopl that are here. We realized that there were a lot of people in our target model, and we'd really be able to appeal to people here like Millennials, young working professionals, and especially all the college students here. That's why we decided we'd launch right here, around UT and the campus here.
Finally, what's next for you?
Zac Maurais: The first year was for us to validate the model, and find product, market, fit.Now that we have those things, it's a matter or replicating the service in more cities. This past summer, in June, we launched in Boston. In November, we launched in dallas, and a few weeks ago, we launched Boston. 2015 for us is going to be the year for growth and rapid market expansion for us.