Summer Entrepreneurial Experiences

Author Archive

Neighbor 5

Monday, July 17, 2017 8:00 am

Our development will be finished by the end of this week. This means that in a couple of days we will have a working iOS application, web POS & menu management system and a working communication with printers in stores and restaurant.

This is a core milestone because I finally have a working product and cost will be reduced since the development team was the most expensive cost pool in the past.

Obviously, with the finished product it is time to push into market. This step has been delayed since I am still negotiating with the meal plan providers for universities and have been running into some issues with the caterers. Some core players have very recently focused on developing there own mobile ordering application in house. These developments have shifted my attention slightly to alternative markets like smaller cities and communities that currently have no other mobile options and have a density of restaurants and offices in one area – downtown Winston Salem (4th street) might be an option. I am currently in the process of defining potential test cases within these spaces.

Lastly, I have started to look for potential additional team members. I will have this coming week some an interview with a interest candidate in NYC. I am further planning on looking in the Winston Salem area and maybe recruiting from Wake Forest itself.

Neighbor 4

Monday, June 26, 2017 11:09 pm

The last week I have spent some time on refining the value proposition to stores and restaurants outside the university and corporate campus setting. The core focus here is on the “tinder” UX approach for food. Under the slogan “your food at your customers fingertips – make them hungry around the clock”, are we trying to make restaurants aware of the benefits of the swiping model. Having an interactive menu with a food focused experience helps the customers experience and thus decrease misunderstandings and returns of orders. Another major USP is the fact that the card swiping model allows a restaurant to have constant customer exposure. Every other ordering platform follows the following model: decide your cuisine, choose the store, select items. A restaurant has one chance to be chosen. However, by showing the food in a fun interactive way, the restaurant has many chances to sell to the customer and can convert a picture with a right swipe into a sale. In addition, the card model allows for some interesting data analytics. Today stores know their bestsellers. With our application, the also know what people actively dislike. Further, having an item by item view restaurants can easily test new pictures, prices and descriptions of their food. In line with a more showcasing the product and service approach have we updated and enhanced our website .

Lastly, I have been starting the process to raise some additional capital. The core focus however is not so much on the capital but rather on finding a senior partner in the US who believes in the product and has a strong network. This will allow us to expand more rapidly and make better and calculated decision with an experience partner.

Our development is still in time and we are making process in negotiations with meal plan providers. We have also started an extensive around of customer discovery with private/family owned restaurants to fully understand what they need and what we need to be able to get them on a platform like ours.

Neighbor Week 3

Tuesday, June 13, 2017 11:12 am

The idea for neighbor has evolved over time but the core concept of peer2peer delivery came when I was studying abroad in Shanghai and realized how great but still chaotic the delivery system is over there. Labor is very cheap and due to this there a tons of delivery drivers on motorbikes delivering anything throughout the city for a very little fee. I was wondering whether this concept would work in more developed places but realized quickly that due to the higher cost of labor this won’t work unless people are not doing it as a job but on their daily commutes and errands.

However, with the increasing competition and the fact that a lot of stores already are on board of a couple of delivery system I thought it would be hard to go straight to city to try the p2p approach. In addition, I believe the user education aspect would be incredible expensive in a city. However, I thought colleges and closed eco-systems might be an interesting area to start and try the concept. This is where we are now.

The advantage with a university is also that we just need to talk to a couple of people to onboard every store since they are generally run by one entity even though they are different brands. In addition, another aspect of easiness is that students use meal plan currency and by being able to process the meal plans we save on credit card transaction cuts. However, all these advantages have turned also in quite some pain points. Yes, you need only get one partner at a school. But since this partner is big and powerful we have way less leverage and negotiation power as if we were talking to little stores individually. The same applies to the meal plan provider. There are about two large companies in the US that are providing the software to almost all universities. Getting them to allow us to use their API is more challenging than expected.

Lastly, let me give an update on the week. I have been the last week in Germany to figure out how we are setting up our entity here in Europe. In addition, I have visited potential areas of operations and met with interesting potential partners for a more global expansion. Further, our developers have completed the first major parts of the application and so far, we keep on track for our development schedule.

Neighbor Week 2

Monday, May 29, 2017 4:43 pm

Or project has reached a major mile stone last week, as we have started the software development process. Our core development team is based in Romania and is a four-person team with developers specialized in mobile development, database and backend development, front end development, etc. In addition to the core team in Romania, do we also have an engagement team based here in North Carolina. This team consist of engagement and UI/UX specialists.

When we started this company, we weren’t aware of the additional attention that we need for all legal issues. Due to this we have now contract lawyers for tax/accounting, business and IP. Since my partner and I are not US citizens we needed to an immigration lawyer to the mix.

The last core part of our team I haven’t mentioned yet is a designer in Berlin. She is currently designing our corporate identity which is everything from a logo, font type, colors, etc. In addition to a designer in Berlin, is this also the place where our investor is based.

Philipp and my tasks on an operational stand point is to manage out our team and especially make sure they have always what they need to be able to perform at their best. I would consider this part more the operational aspect. Additionally, to the operational part, obviously, we are also working very hard to find markets and deal with potential clients and partners.

The last two weeks we have spent most of our time on deciding what parts of our vision will end up in a MVP and how quickly do we want this developed and where are we going to test it. We finalized on a 3-phase project structure. We are planning on having a beta version released in mid-July a are currently in negotiation with potential test markets. The second release will be in mid-August and we are planning to do a full launch at two or three locations at the same time. Lastly, we are planning on finishing the third phase in mid-September. This release will bring many additional features.

The following week will be crucial as we have schedule meetings with core strategic partners, which outcomes can change the direction of the company significantly.

Neighbor Week 1

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 1:28 pm

I am going to work on my own venture this summer. The product I am creating is “Neighbor”, a peer2peer delivery platform on top of a mobile ordering system. So, what does that mean:

Mobile Ordering

Students, Faculty and Stuff can use the Neighbor application to order on-campus food services more conveniently. After a quick sign-up users can choose from all available campus stores. Once decided on a store the user can select different menu items and can place an order for pick-up. Payment is processed within the Neighbor application (accepting all major credit cards as well as all meal plan currency). After placing an order the user receives an order ID. This ID needs to be presented at the store to receive the order.


Peer2peer delivery builds on top of the mobile ordering systems. Every community member with a certified e-mail address is eligible to fulfill orders. We are developing an algorithm that matches users with relevant orders for delivery. The system allows to leverage the excess capacity of daily on-campus commutes of students, faculty and stuff. Users can earn points that can be applied to future orders.

Neighbor differentiates its self mostly due its user experience, by providing a fun, social and food centric solution for its users. Besides a basic select a store, choose items and pay, Neighbor has a fun interface that prompts users constantly new meal combinations and options. This leads to a “tinder” like experience for food – you don’t want it swipe left, you want it swipe right and you will be right at check-out. In addition, we are already developing social components where users can take a picture of via the app ordered food and can share it will all their friends. Users can now, also with a single swipe, order what their friends have ordered.

My responsibility is about everything. From starting the company, acquiring the right partners, selling to universities, managing the development team and talking care of daily operations. I am doing this venture together with a fellow deacon, Philipp Wendler.

Throughout this summer, the goal is to finish development, strengthen investor relationships to hopefully have a successful round of funding in late August and sign deals with a couple of places to start operating in August.

I am based in Winston Salem. Here is also our engagement development team, however, the core developers are sitting in Romania. Philipp is currently in Europe and is analyzing and evaluating possible market entry options in that region.

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