NVC Startup Diaries: Nip- Redefining Premium Food Delivery Service

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.

Shikha Kapoor, '17

Shikha Kapoor, '17

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.

Nip- A Premium Experience Made As Easy As Swipe, Tap, Eat

Nip- A Premium Experience Made As Easy As Swipe, Tap, Eat

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

Startup Diaries: Disrupting the Online Shopping Experience

What if your favorite fashion e­commerce portal could read your mind?

That's the idea behind Riviter, a startup in this year’s Kaplan New Venture Challenge.

Riviter, the brainchild of Andi Hadisutjipto, a Booth ’16 student, uses image recognition technology to analyze users' fashion pins and social media likes and offer shopping recommendations on e­commerce websites. Andi worked in e­commerce for several years and noticed that people are more likely to shop online than ever before, but large retailers still rely on textual keywords and manual product tagging to understand what a customer might want.

Emily Ruff, '16

Emily Ruff, '16

Shikha Kapoor, '17

Shikha Kapoor, '17

"Shopping for clothing is obviously a very visual decision, and yet a lot of the tools out there are built around language."

Through conversations with a friend and prominent Austin blogger, Andi found that shoppers usually tend to know what they want, but are not able to find it very easily.  Further, the problem of inaccurate search results gets even more aggravated, since categorization of e­commerce data is mostly manual, and tends to be prone to errors. Andi envisioned disrupting this area using latest Computer Vision technologies. She came to Booth determined to execute this.

Andi credits resources, people and opportunities at Booth for supporting her in this journey. She started off by brainstorming and iteratively refining the idea with her peers, building a highly talented and motivated team along the way. She utilized her Booth classmates’ network, resources at Polsky Center, and classes such as Entrepreneurial discovery, Building a New Venture etc. to propel the idea further. The Entrepreneurial Internship program helped her focus on the startup over the summer as well, when she took it to the Plug and Play StartUp Camp accelerator in Silicon Valley.

Last but by no means the least, the faculty at Booth have added immense value. Says a team member and Booth’16 student Emily Ruff, “The Booth entrepreneurship faculty is beyond compare. These professors are not only top investors, advisors, and practitioners in their fields, they are also available at a moment’s notice to support, critique, and mentor. The week before the 2016 SXSW MBA Pitch competition, Waverly Deutsch sat down with our team and helped us build a streamlined, vastly improved storyboard. We got equal support from Steve Kaplan.”

Andi has helmed Riviter through some amazing achievements: one of the top three finalists in SeedCon 2014’s Napkin Pitch Competition, one of 12 companies selected from 900+ applicants for the Plug and Play StartUp Camp accelerator, one of 15 companies selected for the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps Accelerator, in addition to being one of 30 teams participating in this year’s NVC.

Most recently, the team won the SXSW Pitch Competition, taking top prize over 12 very impressive semi­finalists from Babson, McCombs, Tuck, HBS, Ross, Wharton, MIT, and Fuqua.

Today, Riviter has grown into a fully functional B2B image recognition company that allows online and mobile retailers to read shoppers’ minds based on social media pins, likes, and tags. Over the next few months, Andi and team are working with large retailers to integrate their technology and offer customers a highly personalized shopping experience.

Shikha is a first year Booth student enjoying all things Spring in Chicago.

Emily is a second year student and Director of Technology Partnerships for Riviter.

Riviter with the winners prize for SXSW'16 Pitch Austin Competitio

Riviter with the winners prize for SXSW'16 Pitch Austin Competitio