Anyone in the middle of a boring Friday night on the couch and in desperate need for a treat from Georgetown Cupcake might not feel like pulling themselves away from their favorite movie. To meet that need, Washington, D.C.-based “millennials” Adrienne Sheares and Ron Cade are exploring the district’s booming tech scene with the launch of their new on-demand delivery service app, Urban Delivery.
“Unlike other delivery services in D.C., we’re mobile so it allows you more access,” said Sheares. “It originally started as a taxi app, but the market is really saturated for apps like that in 2013.”
The app, available for iOS and Android devices, uses a GPS tracking system to allow users to get any carriable item from anywhere in Washington, D.C. delivered in about one hour via courier. Deliveries start around $12.99 and couriers can make purchases on a user’s up to $150.
Sheares said the company currently has 15 couriers who deliver items via bikes, and one who rides a long skateboard. The app’s GPS locator allows users to track the courier’s moves, alerts them when their courier gets to the location, confirms the purchase and gives users the courier’s contact information if they need to amend the order, she said.
While Sheares has a master’s degree in communication from Johns Hopkins University and Cade possesses a law degree from Howard University Law School, they did not let their lack of coding skills or tech-knowledge stop them from launching the company.
“I’ve always been interested in technology, especially social media” said Sheares, who is the mastermind behind the popular tweet-up group, blog Heart Social Media DC, creating a hub for social media pros in the district. “I had always surrounded myself around a lot of entrepreneurs and people in the tech field.”
Unlike many new tech ventures, the founders did not launch a KickStarter campaign or other crowd-funding campaign—instead, the start-up chose a more personal route.
“We are still at the friends and family level,” said Cade. “Fortunately, we were able to get up and running without excessive overhead.”
Cade is a serial entrepreneur and, while he did not pursue a career in law after graduating from law school, he used his education to ensure Urban Delivery met all legal statutes. After passing the New York Bar Exam, Cade worked as a courier in Washington, D.C. to learn the industry while the pair developed the start-up.
“Tech, to me, is a means to an end. I am really more interested in entrepreneurship,” said Cade. “Even as a little kid, I was an entrepreneur--selling Halloween candy to my classmates. Even though I attended law school, I always planned on running my own business and doing something fun. Hence, Urban Delivery.”
Sheares has already taken full advantage of the app.
“I used it to get a new Macbook charger when my exploded and I was in the middle of writing,” said Sheares. “I watched them on the app go from U St. to Georgetown to pick up the charger.”