In my university everyone (honestly, everyone) hates the cafeteria. The food is really bad there. And in our building we have around 50 vending machines which sell coffee and non-perishable goods as chocolates, sweets and fizzy water. There is no “real” food inside vending machines because it is too risky for entrepreneurs to place them because if they won’t sell sandwich or salad in two days they will become wasted and entrepreneur will lose money.
On the work the problem is even worse. There is no cheap cafeteria inside our business center and we are forced to either bring food from home or to order a delivery from restaurants which also costs a lot, takes time and because of the traffic you can never rely on it - courier can get 2-3 hours late.
What it does
Boxy is an app connected to our own chain of lockers which allows you to get things you need at the most convenient spots. While parcel lockers are made mostly for e-commerce delivery of inedible goods we want to target consumable goods as the food industry where we can replace vending machines and delivery services. We will offer our users a limited choice so it will be easy and fast to choose.
Boxy is the infrastructure for making orders to Boxy lockers. Located in transport hubs, business centers, facilities Boxy gives you a possibility to pre-order a food for a day (breakfast, lunch or dinner) or for a subsription plan (Diet or weight gain program, for example) and choose from the variety of meals on every taste. Imagine, for the whole office lunch there is only one delivery and there are no leftovers.
In some offices there are vending machines with perishable goods as sandwiches and even hot meals. But entrepreneurs in order to survive the huge amount of leftovers have to increase prices. In Boxy there is no risk of leftovers, so the prices will be as affordable as possible.
In future, many services can be sold inside Boxy app marketplace. 5 years ago everyone was doing Uber for something. Now there is a time to do Boxy for something and make savings because of one-time delivery instead of numerous deliveries in one-demand services as Uber or Gett.
We want to grow virally on the start by spreading new food culture around office workers. Afterwards we plan to build a marketplace for our partners inside our app or open an API to other startups. There can be Boxy for groceries, Boxy for pets food, Boxy for flowers, etc.
Our big goal is to change customers' lifestyle - make durable goods purchase cheaper and easier than today. Your cell at Boxy machine will unite few daily purchases from different patners marketplaces into one via our ecosystem, which includes mobile app and web-site.
How we built it
We collected ideas for our concept for more than a year, because we have developed delivery service for a healthy food in Moscow. Investors of that project wanted to make a classical on-demand app (as many in food delivery market) so we could not develop and test interesting mechanics for customers. We couldn't make food purchase faster or improve service UX. Obviously, our project had no competitive advantages and we failed. Mostly, because our partners had lack of knowledge about IT projects management. So we started to find ways to make delivery system cheaper and more convenient for customers .
We prepared concept and main ideas of our project in Moscow. Also, we made a machine scheme and bought some of hardware parts for it - raspberry pi, breadboard, connectors, etc. We discussed database scheme at the back-end and main methods, which helped us to manage purchases and locker's management.
At the Junction we worked cohesively and managed to achieve almost every goal for the development that we have set before the hackathon. We made the whole Boxy system prototype, including iOS app MVP, which works well for product purchase and interactions with lockers. Our cardboard locker has two boxes with locks and Arduino + Raspberry Pi pair for lock management by numerical code and mobile app:
Challenges we ran into
To create a combination of software and hardware and manage everything to work together.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
In 2 days we've made a mobile iOS client, server app, all the hardware and the website with small project description (www.boxy.store). We solved a lot of different software and hardware troubles together. Few times we reworked our plan and added or edited features of the project.
We prepared a development plan for Boxy and understood how to expand fastly. Also, we chose the franchisee/partner model for a fast growth of number of Boxy machines in which franchisee pays for the automat and gets access to a huge Boxy ecosystem.
Starting costs for franchisee will be relatively low and business will be almost automized so it will become a really attractive passive investment for entrepreneurs. We want to increase payments to franchisees at return of investments stage to boost machines quantity. After returning investments, we will decrease franchisee's revenue percent and they may invest the return in new machines.
What we learned
Zalando box is a perfect place to hide all the hardware :) And cardboard box from Junction can actualy become the replacement of parcel locker :)
Your lunch is ready :)
What's next for Boxy
No matter how the hackathon will end we will continue to develop the product and we're sure about its bright and interesting future. We have strategies to develop and launch our project in Russia.
Also, we are glad to get feedback and new use cases of Boxy from partners and participants of Junction. We will rework some system mechanics and find problems, which we can solve in particular in Finland and Europe.