Our team chose to address the main issue of helping the vulnerable populations located in rural areas. The source of inspiration can be found in the origin of each of us: we all come from different countries but we have in common growing up in the countryside. We have thought that the delivery services, that are always present in whatever big city, are generally lacking in rural areas. Therefore, we decided to give a contribution to the people located in the countryside that for age, condition or disease are feeling isolated and afraid of leaving their homes.

What it does

Robert is a platform that connects vulnerable people with healthy volunteers. On the one hand, every person in need can create a profile on the platform, charge the desired budget on it and submit a request of goods. On the other hand, each volunteer subscribes to the platform and gives their availability. Our service matches helpers and vulnerable people based on their locations and puts them in direct contact. Afterwards, the volunteer buys and delivers the ordered goods and is paid by Robert the purchase value together with a reward commission.

How I built it

After developing the idea, our software and web developers of the team have been working on building the application.

Challenges I ran into

We ran in difficult conceptual challenges that we have finally sorted out. The first one was related to the costumer acquisition strategy. In fact, great part of the vulnerable population is made of elder people with no internet access. Consequently, we have decided to advertise the product through TV and radio campaigns, flyers and patient assistance organizations. The second problem was how to build a secure payment system that we have sorted out deciding to partner with an external company already offering the service to allow a fast implementation of our solution.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We are proud we have developed our demo in 48 hours and we are ready to start a pilot in Luberon (France), a small village in the countryside of Bretagne. And we’re even prouder we can finally help the people that for a long time we have been isolated and in need.

What I learned

We have learned how to work under pressure as a team and produce a good result in a very short time. Moreover, we have learned that different volunteering associations have tried to overcome the problem during the crisis but with a strong lack of organization. There is a major need for what we are offering and we are happy to play our role as soon as possible.

What's next for Robert, a social marketplace supporting vulnerable people

Robert is a service that can be extremely useful even after the crisis. In fact, it can offer food and drug delivery services in the countryside where usually these systems are not widely implemented. We plan to launch a pilot in Bretagne at the beginning of May and scale in France by the end of the month. We would then scale in Europe in June 2020.

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