It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the ways in which the world does business. As most of us were forced to isolate and self-quarantine throughout much of 2020, some industries - despite national and/or regional lockdown mandates - saw a surge in user growth and activity, such as the digital food delivery industry. According to one report, the top four delivery service apps (DoorDash, Grubhub, UberEats, and Postmates respectively) saw a collective $3 billion boost in revenue during the second and third quarters of last year.
Though this boost can largely be attributed to the increase in user demand for safer and healthier food delivery options at the height of the pandemic, it begs the question of these businesses' ability to sustain such rapid growth, leading many other entrepreneurs to the digital food delivery space with the hopes that their own digital innovation will be able to soak up a portion of market share by offering newer, better, and more effective delivery options.
Victoria Liu is one such entrepreneur, and the founder of BYPPOTechnologies ("Byppo"). Liu is an alum of the University of Florida (UF) who came up with the idea for Byppo during halftime at a UF football game she was attending.
"The idea was to create an online ordering and delivery service system that was more affordable and accessible to UF students, staff, faculty, and other community members at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it didn't stop there" says Liu. "We worked extremely hard to turn that idea into a reality."
Based out of UF's resident hometown of Gainesville, Florida, Liu and the other members of Byppo's team have centered the platform to focus on the town's diverse community of individuals and small businesses alike. In aiming to help these businesses, as well as their customers and staff - who are oftentimes UF students themselves - Liu says that Byppo aims to become the go-to platform for members of the UF community to discover new local eats and provide a more inclusive experience that supports their community as a whole.
"While Byppo is only currently operating within the Gainesville and greater UF area, we are looking to soon expand into other Florida communities and other areas nationwide later this year," says Liu. She emphasizes that her and her team at Byppo are predominantly focused on bringing Byppo to more universities and college campuses with diverse communities and small businesses not unlike Gainesville and her alma mater at UF.
As part of Byppo's mission to bridge communities with convenient food delivery options, Liu and her team seek out the best small local restaurants involved with college communities to provide Byppo's users with a streamlined food delivery service. True to this mission, Liu states that she - as well as Byppo's other team members - are all food enthusiasts themselves who strive to assist the growth of local restaurants and businesses through the use of their platform.
Similarly, their mission allows for Byppo's users to choose from a wider variety of available food delivery options, translating to a direct and more positive impact on their college or university's community. By making it easier and more cost-effective for small businesses and local restaurants to manage the service options of their customers, the experience becomes seamless for business and customer alike. The result is a community centered around local options that are healthier, cheaper, and safer for those within it.
Recently, Liu and her team were forced to pivot their strategy with Byppo in order to continue growing as a business and assisting UF's community amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This shift came in the form of BYPPOCampus, an innovation in the platform that seeks to further connect college students through food by allowing them to "eat, earn, and explore" their campus community.
In light of Byppo's mission, Liu's latest innovation with the platform is one that, in her own words, simply "made sense." By signing up to become a deliverer through BYPPOCampus, students are able to complete a greater amount of deliveries faster, as they already have a better sense of their community's geography than traditional delivery drivers. Along with this benefit, students are able to meet a larger number of their peers, leading to increased engagement with others which further fosters involvement in their campus and community.
"Imagine a student named Chris who is studying for a biology exam, but finds themselves tired and in need of a cheap and healthy meal," Liu explains. "Chris opens BYPPOCampus and orders their meal, which is delivered 15 minutes later by a student named Vicky who signed up to earn extra money by delivering with our platform. When Vicky delivers Chris's food, she notices Chris's biology book and discovers that they're actually in the same class!"
By operating in this way, students can rest assured that they not only receive a broader variety of local food delivery options, but also boost their networking and community engagement at the same time. Similarly, the more colleges and universities that sign on as Byppo's delivery partners, the more these schools can help create innovative avenues for their students, staff, and communities to grow in a safe and healthy way.