Washington, D.C. is slicing a piece of the entrepreneurial pie with its booming tech scene. Known for its rich American history and robust political landscape, D.C. has become a tech cluster with numerous meetups like DC Tech Meetup, incubator pitch sessions and headquarter locations such as social deal site LivingSocial and 1776, a vibrant coworking space just steps away from the White House.
While tech hubs in Silicon Valley, located in the San Francisco Bay area in California, and Alley, nestled in between the Flatiron District and SoHo down to Tribeca in Manhattan, have too few minorities (including women), the city affectionately known as “Chocolate City” has given birth to ventures focused on creating and supporting a more diverse tech community like DiversiTech, an organization that connects startups with funding and educational resources, and Blerdology, a social enterprise focused on sustaining and engaging the black tech community.
There’s a new kid, or shall I say kids, on the block that promise to deliver convenience right to your doorstep via their app. Ron Cade and Adrienne Sheares, both 26, founded Urban Delivery, an on-demand delivery service app which officially launched on Monday. Available for iOS and Android devices, Urban Delivery uses GPS-tracking to allow app users to get any carriable item delivered to them anywhere in DC in approximately one hour by courier.
Starting at $12.99, one of their 17 couriers can purchase items up to $150 for customers. Â Users should note that the purchase will be subjected to a 10% processing fee, and a 20% gratuity for couriers will be added to the base rate. They will not have to worry about the processing fee if a courier is just picking up an item; and can pay for an item via the app or in advance of their purchase.
With D.C. being a very bike-friendly city, Cade, a Howard Law School graduate and serial entrepreneur, knew Urban Delivery had the legs pedal strokes to be a great product. The inspiration for creating the app came from his inability to get what he needed delivered.
“Having been in law school there’d be plenty of times I’d have a paper due and the printer would jam, and it’d be nice to run to [FedEx] Kinkos but, unfortunately, you had those deadlines,” said Cade, chief executive officer at Urban Delivery. Â “With that, we just kinda got started thinking how to put something together to actually make that happen– where you’d be able to get the things that you needed when you were in a pinch, or in a rush, and just didn’t want to go out and get ‘em.”
Whether it’s your dry cleaning order or a special delivery of cupcakes (or beer), Cade and Sheares, who both met in D.C., ensure on-demand, same-hour delivery to residents.Â Thanks to the constant contact users have with the courier, they’ll never have to worry about being out of the loop with their order.
“When the courier takes the order, you get the information of the biker and the biker gets your information, so you see when they get to the store–they alert you when they’re at the store–and if something’s wrong, or there’s an extremely long line at the store, they’ll call and communicate that to you,” said Sheares, a John Hopkins University masters’ graduate and chief marketing officer at Urban Delivery.
The millennial duo has big plans for Urban Delivery, but for now is focused on making an impact in the same-hour delivery market. Â “We’ll evaluate in which direction we want to expand, and that may be expanding it [Urban Delivery] to other geographical markets,” said Cade. “That could potentially be expanding it to other services that kind of compliment what we currently do.”
Cade and Sheares agree that they picked the right city to start their startup in. “The tech scene here has been booming,” said Sheares. “We like it here and we felt like there was a need for our product, especially with the booming scene, it made sense to stay.”
“Why not D.C.?” added Cade.