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Innovation & Job News

goPuff, delivery service for college essentials, to roll into D.C.

goPuff, a delivery service for essential products for college students that started in Philadelphia, is coming to the District. The startup was cofounded in 2013 by Rafael Ilishayev and Yakir Gola when they were students at Drexel University. goPuff will open a warehouse in Georgetown, and the company will deliver to all local universities in the District.

goPuff, which users access via app, delivers 16 categories of products—munchies, goGrub (shelf-stable goods like cereal and pasta), ice cream, soda, essentials (laundry detergent, toothbrushes and the like), and several product categories that give goPuff its name: hookahs, hookah accessories, vaporizers, e-smoke accessories and more. Ilishayev says the company differentiates itself from competitors Postmates and Instacart in several ways.

"None of our competitors warehouse goods," says Ilishayev. Because goPuff maintains warehouses in each city, and currently stocks 2,500 products, competitors require at least "an hour for delivery, and we're 30 minutes." goPuff charges a flat $1.95 delivery fee for orders under $35; orders over $35 are free. (Competitors' delivery rates vary: Postmates is $5 plus 9 percent and Instacart starts at $3.99.) The service currently operates from noon to, yes, 4:20 a.m.; Ilishayev hopes to be able to offer 24/7 service within a few months.

Right now, goPuff is like an on-demand 7-Eleven. The most popular item on goPuff's site right now is ice cream. "We sell hundreds of pints, and we sell more in the winter than we do in the summer," Ilishayev says. "We don't have fresh produce right now, but we're working on it." The company is also working to introduce organic products, which he says are the most requested products among goPuff users.

A director of operations from Philadelphia is transferring to D.C. to run the local goPuff operation; the company is hiring at least five local drivers to start. "We'll hire more as demand goes up," he says. goPuff employs approximately 20 at the corporate level, and Ilishayev plans on expanding beyond Philly, Boston and D.C. "We're getting to the point where we'll be in a new city every two months."

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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