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UniRunners takeaway app downloaded by 6,000 Canterbury students halfway towards £150,000 crowdfunding investment, taking on JustEat and Deliveroo

By Chris Price

A former student and his high school pal are halfway towards securing a £150,000 investment for their takeaway app which has been downloaded by 6,000 young people across Canterbury.

University of Kent graduate Karim Clarke and friend Stephen Connell are taking on the likes of Just Eat and Deliveroo by offering late-night deliveries for hungry scholars with their business UniRunners.

The company fetches everything from fags to french fries 24-hours a day and has made more than £80,000 in revenues since it launched in September.

UniRunners founder Stephen Connell, left, and Karim Clarke at work

UniRunners founder Stephen Connell, left, and Karim Clarke at work

Investors have so far pledged £73,000 in a crowdfunding initiative which the company’s owners hope will pay for a marketing campaign, redeveloping its app and hiring more staff.

The pair, both aged 22, also hope they can expand the business to other cities across the UK.

The idea for UniRunners came when Mr Connell developed the app as a joke at the expense of buddy Mr Clarke, who had always been sent on errands by his student pals because he was the only one who had a car.

Mr Connell, who lives in Gravesend, said: “His friends would come to his room and ask him to give them a lift to the shop, which became a habit.

UniRunners co-founder Karim Clarke

UniRunners co-founder Karim Clarke

“I made them an app so they could just write a shopping list for Karim and then one of his housemates spread it to another house. Then it expanded house by house.”

After redeveloping the app, it has since been opened more than 20,000 times, leading to more than 7,900 orders delivered.

Initially it was run just by Mr Clarke and Mr Connell with a car and a moped, also delivering alcohol to students.

By this summer’s exam season they were paying a network of 35 drivers and riders.

The duo, who grew up together in Ealing, also brought poet and public speaker Sophia Thakur on board as marketing director to manage the firm’s social media and PR.

UniRunners founder Stephen Connell

UniRunners founder Stephen Connell

This year the company was approached by a group of venture capital investors but opted to try to raise £150,000 on crowdfunding website Seedrs to prove the interest in the service, in exchange for 20% equity in the business.

Mr Connell said: “The minimum investment is £10 so it is perfect for our student audience.

“We are also offering a series of incentives where they get discounts on future orders depending on how much they invest.”

To secure the investment, the pair need to be pledged all of their £150,000 target, otherwise they get nothing.

To view the crowdfunding campaign, which expires on September 9, click here.

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