A college student’s two favorite things—social media and eating—are being brought together in the delivery service app JoyRun, launched at Duke this semester.
The app is a campus-wide group chat that allows users to find another student heading to their favorite restaurant or to let people know that they are available to pick up orders. A user can receive food by “requesting a run” to a particular restaurant, and other students can respond to the call and retrieve the meal.
“I think this has the potential to be national, across all college campuses,” JoyRun founder Manish Rathi said.
JoyRun allows students who use the app to deliver food themselves. For example, you might post that you are making a Starbucks run and pick up coffee orders for other students while you are there. The more people who order, the more money a runner can make.
Similar to Uber, all payment exchanges occur through the app. Users ordering from a run pay a small delivery fee, which is then transferred into the account balance of the person making that run.
“What makes this app unique is how cheap it is for people,” sophomore Philippe Heitzmann, head of marketing for JoyRun at Duke, said.
The delivery fee is set by the student making the run, and is required to be between zero and five dollars, which Heitzmann said is significantly less expensive than apps such as UberEATS, which is not available in Durham, or Postmates, another delivery app.
JoyRun allows students to order delivery for anything they might need, like groceries or household items. As the app grows at Duke, Heitzmann said that students should expect campus-wide promotions in the coming months.
The app has had great success across other campuses since its founding last December. The JoyRun representatives said the app typically reaches 20 to 30 percent of the student body within months of its launch and has been downloaded by over 10,000 users nationally. JoyRun is now being used at eight universities, including Duke, Cornell and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Adam Ibrahim, campus marketing director at California Polytechnic State University, said that the app is already a household name there.
“When people talk about delivery, the first thing that comes to mind is JoyRun. It’s been ultra-successful,” Ibrahim said.
Since JoyRun does not run on a one-to-one business model, but instead looks to students to rely on each other, it caters more specifically to college campuses, Ibrahim said. One of the most popular ways JoyRun is used at Cal Poly is for late-night snacking.
“We are not just a food service,” Rathi said. “We are a platform that is enabling people to form a community and help each other.”