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Cambridge start-up Genie Delivery offers drinks and snacks within 15 minutes

Genie Delivery promises to deliver drinks, snacks and other items to students and residents by bicycle in just 15 minutes.

Genie Delivery, from left, Callum MacBeth, Tim Chan and Wilson Griffiths. Picture: Keith Heppell
Genie Delivery, from left, Callum MacBeth, Tim Chan and Wilson Griffiths. Picture: Keith Heppell

There is an emphasis on serving into the early hours, and the company has submitted a premises licence application to enable them to include alcohol in their offer.

Co-founder Tim Chan, who graduated in economics from the University of Cambridge last year, told the Cambridge Independent: “Obviously with Covid, we’re providing a super convenient and safe option for when shops, pubs and restaurants shut early, and for those in self-isolation.”

Tim, who was born and raised in London, continued: “The idea was only really born in July this year, but back then it was just some ideas and a whiteboard. Then it was about mid-August that was when the team was brought together – and it took about six weeks for us to launch.”

Students are a natural target market for the app-order service, which covers an area in and around the city centre, stretching up to parts of Huntingdon Road and Madingley Road, across to Anglia Ruskin University and to the edge of Newnham.

But Tim notes: “It’s not just open to students, it’s open to residents in our delivery radius. At the moment we have a fairly tight delivery area because we want to ensure that we can deliver in 15 minutes.”

Genie Delivery charges a flat £2 delivery fee and there is a minimum spend of £5, with all orders paid for by card.

The team consists of eight people. “We started with four of us,” explained Tim, “and then we took on a tech team to help build it up. Then they brought in Callum MacBeth, who was described to me as a problem solver, someone I could rely on to carry out tasks. We enjoyed working together and so I made him my co-founder.”

Although the tech team are based in Cambridge, Tim and Callum are the only full-time members. “It’s only three or four of us at the most doing the deliveries at any one point,” he said. “We start work at about 11am and finish at 2am. It’s hard but it’s exciting.”

Tim says that most of their deliveries – which also include items such as condoms and toilet paper – take place between 6pm and 2am, although they may expand their hours beyond 2am at some point. He believes that many Cambridge students are trying to abide by the Covid-19 rules, holding household parties and social events, as opposed to going outside.

Genie Delivery, from left, Callum MacBeth, Tim Chan and Wilson Griffiths. Picture: Keith Heppell
Genie Delivery, from left, Callum MacBeth, Tim Chan and Wilson Griffiths. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Hopefully, there’s a lot more of a demand for drinks and snacks deliveries,” he said. “We offer crisps, chocolate, sweets – all the typical things you could find in a convenience store – but then we also try to tailor it towards the Cambridge student, so include a lot healthier snacks, including vegan snacks and also more sustainable and socially aware brands, like Candy Kittens, Kind bars, Poppa Corns...”

He added: “At the moment we are delivering alcohol, in the same way that Deliveroo do – for wine merchants – but we would be looking to stock our own, which will speed up our delivery time.

"We carry our own stock; we’re able to stock our own goods and buy at wholesale price – and we can control our selection and keep prices low for customers.”

All deliveries are carried out by bicycle, in order to minimise noise. “We intend to keep that until we maybe have a warehouse outside of town,” said Tim, adding: “Our overall mission is to provide a really convenient and safe option for people during Covid, and also to bring a bit more fun into students’ lives.

“It’s quite tough starting at university and all the pubs and clubs are shut. We’re trying to provide late-night options for them so that they can party in their household.”

Visit geniedelivery.co.uk for details and to download the app.

Read more:

Cambridge’s Covid-19 infection rate soars past Liverpool’s, fuelled by university cases

10 great venues in Cambridge offering takeaways during lockdown

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