Francisco Cantor, Booth ’16, was bitten by the entrepreneurship bug during his undergrad days when he built a company for importing and distributing mobile phone accessories in Venezuela. The company was a huge success and was acquired.
Coming into Booth, he knew he wanted to do something in the restaurant space. After brainstorming on several potential ideas, he finally found his niche with Nip. The idea came after a not so pleasant experience ordering off of one of the popular food delivery apps- the quality as well as service experience left much to be desired. He realized that while the food delivery space is crowded, no one offers a premium solution as a whole- simple fast and quality food coupled with a premium experience.
Nip works with restaurants to identify menu items that will travel well and easily integrate into kitchen logistics. Customers simply swipe to the menu item they want to purchase, tap to order, and are charged one flat fee for the meal, delivery, and tip. Launched a couple of weeks ago, Nip offers a carefully-curated menu of top dishes from acclaimed Chicago restaurants Beatrix and Oak + Char. The app takes the headache out of food delivery by making dish selection as easy as a few swipes, and by delivering each order in under 30 minutes door-to-door.
With the recent launch and encouraging customer feedback, Nip has come a long way from it’s early days. Francisco kept working on establishing relationships with restaurants, identified their pain points and successfully built a first prototype of the app during his first year. In fall 2015 he focused on establishing relationships with restaurant groups. These groups typically had a portfolio of several high end restaurants, and they all wanted to invest in improving the customer experience. The idea also was to be as little intrusive to their operations as possible.
All this was easier said than done. Francisco faced several rejections from potential customers and partners. Resources and guidance at Booth came in handy during those times. He especially credits courses such as Entrepreneurial selling in this respect. The course taught him tangible lessons that could be applied to this process. He focused on establishing relationships as opposed to selling his company. The Booth brand name also helped in creating these connections. He put his energy into understanding his customers and their pain points, asking for feedback- and this automatically helped create strong relationships as well. In addition to the course, Cantor leveraged several other resources offered at Booth. In addition to courses, he credits the Polsky Center for his success. ‘They have been super helpful.’
He credits Nip’s early success to his team (Alex Weigend, Angela Lin, Nishant Kumar, Rikki Singh, Youngeun Kim). They went through the Polsky Summer Accelerator last year and are currently participating in the New Venture Challenge. They are planning to raise a seed round when the competition is over.
Advice for entrepreneurs: ‘Launch as quickly as possible. Don’t have stage fright. Once you have a good enough MVP (minimum viable product,) just launch it. The worst possible outcome is that you would get feedback- which would only help improve your product’.
Shikha Kapoor is a first year student trying to make the most of her BoothExperience while it lasts