Name: Philip Roell, Alex Schroffenegger, Lucia Murgia
Grabbit is the on-demand delivery app that simplifies grocery shopping. We bring people together to create the world’s first and largest shared delivery network. The app enables anyone to shop and deliver on demand.
Grabbit is a unique service as the network is available any time, anywhere, with no minimum spend.
How did UEA Student Enterprise help you?
In addition to this, it has also been extremely helpful to have access to the EnterpriseCentral hub and have the knowledge, opinions and community feeling from our fellow entrepreneurs who use the space at UEA. It has also given us greater access to a community of business professionals in Norwich.
What have the biggest challenges been in setting up your own venture?
One of the biggest challenges that we have faced is how to retain our early adopters and make sure that they come back to the service and do not forget about it after their first use. Specifically, we have had to deal with a disproportionate number of Grabbers (the people who deliver) as compared to people shopping on our service. We have also experienced the opposite. Our rebranding efforts are trying to solve this by making the Grabbers more exclusive and offering even better deals for our shoppers.
What worries did you have while setting up your own business, and how did you overcome them?
To begin with everything was uncertain. Whether we could feasibly start up our own business, to how feasible the concept itself was. We overcame this by deciding that we were going to be experimental in our approach and have a growth mindset. We’d do things without overthinking them and then analyse whether they worked. If they did not work, we would not dwell on it but use our analysis to further improve our product.
How has this experience allowed you to make use of your skills and experience?
Our team is diverse due to us focusing on three main skills profiles. From these we split our team into business, finance and engineering. Based on my previous experience, I was in the engineering division. The skills I had developed in product development ensured that everything went faster than it would for other businesses. I was used to linear development, but gained skills in iterative as our business grew.
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business rather than look for work from someone else?
It was mainly for my own personal satisfaction – to try something new and expand my knowledge and skillset. It was out of curiosity in terms of app development, and the belief that our core product concept spoke to people.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
I would say that resilience is the main one, as it will help both your own peace of mind and your business potential.
You need to learn to see failures not as setbacks that will make life harder, but as opportunities to grow and improve. You need to have the mindset that trying and failing is a natural and unavoidable part of business – as well as your own personal development too. Lastly, you need to be a good team player.
Even if you aren’t directly working with others in your business you will need to know how to interact with clients and sell yourself as well as possible. No person is an island.
What motivates you?
I was motivated to create change. As we developed our business idea we began to see the real impact that it could have on people’s lives. For example, we have been praised as an accessible concept that makes grocery shopping easier for people with disabilities. We also believe in the importance of the social in our social enterprise – the shared economy presents a phenomenal opportunity to grow community bonds.
What motivated you to set up this business specifically?
None of the team thought that traditional grocery shopping was effective. We saw many apps improve other areas of life such as transport with the shared economy – and wanted to take the chance to revolutionise the grocery market.
What has happened to your business since you started?
We have made great strides of progress even alongside our challenges. We have been present at international exhibitions such as Websummit in Lisbon and TechCrunch in San Francisco. We have been featured on multiple press outlets such as the Eastern Daily Press and BBC radio, we have had international meet ups about our business, and have rapidly expanded our team. Many students questioned have even said that we are well known across campus.
What are the main positives of starting your own business?
For me a major positive of creating my own business was being able to combine the creative aspect with business and technology know how. You really need to have the confidence to cross boundaries with what you think you are good at, and be willing to expand into other areas. Apart from this, it has been a real privilege to start something from scratch. Lastly, it’s very empowering to define your own guidelines.
How do you define success?
We measure success through customer satisfaction. Whilst more funding means that we have more options for connecting with a greater range of customers, money is not our end goal. Rather we would like to create a memorable brand with good word of mouth across Norwich, and then beyond.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Our most satisfying moment was when we earned our very first 20p of commission after one week on the market. Although this was a very humble beginning, it proved that our business was indeed viable, and gave us hope for greater things ahead.
What piece of advice would you give to university students who want to become entrepreneurs?
Don’t overthink it! It’s only natural to have some worries, but the way to combatting them is just to leap in and do them. Try and see and don’t let failure hold you back. If you maintain your initial curiosity, then it will help you build resilience and stick with your business.
What advice would you give other students and graduates looking to launch their own venture?
No matter how big your aspirations, I’d always advise you to try a low risk idea on a lean budget first. If you manage to make your idea work on a low budget, then you it will teach you how to soar on a higher one without overspending.
What are your hopes for the future?
We hope to become the go to independent delivery for service by students for students on campus universities in the UK. We would like to expand our store range, premier nationally in locations such as Cardiff, London and Glasgow, and to become available on Android by the end of this summer.