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Philly-based 'snack factory' app delivers cravings, convenience in 30 minutes

Founded by two Drexel undergrads in 2013, goPuff now has more than a dozen markets.

On-demand delivery is nothing new to residents of big cities like Philadelphia, New York and Boston, but using one app to have items like ice cream, toilet paper and earphones sent to your door in 30 minutes or less day or night is a whole new level of convenience.

Providing such amenities is why Rafael Ilishyev and Yakir Gola founded convenience store delivery service goPuff in 2013 whileundergraduate students at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

“(Yakir) was always driving us around to get drinks or snacks because he was the only guy with a car, so the existing on-demand delivery service as a marketplace didn’t really solve millennials’ needs because it took too long,” Ilishyev told Metro. “Plus, they were too expensive and had crazy surcharges on top of it. It really didn’t make sense for young people.”

So the two aimed to bring items that customers needed — and craved — right to their doors 24/7for a flat $1.95 delivery fee, which is waived on orders of $49 or more. The company launched with 300 items and Ilishyev and Gola making deliveries themselves.

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“Back then, it was a ‘whatever-it-takes-to-survive’ scenario,” Ilishyev said.

Three years later, the two 23-year-olds were just named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list, and goPuff is available in 13 cities across the U.S., including Philadelphia, New York and Boston, to Austin, Texas, and Seattle.

It will launch in Pittsburgh on Friday, and Columbus, Ohio, on Jan. 20. Nashville, Tennessee, Ann Arbor, Michigan and Madison, Wisconsin, are slated to come on board in the near future.

The service, which is available via a website and mobile apps, has 120 corporate employees and thousands of drivers across the country who make deliveries from locally-based warehouses stocked with more than 3,000 items.

Many markets also offer goBooze, which delivers beer, wine, liquor or a combination of all three, depending on state regulations.

While the company does track how many deliveries it made in 2016, Ilishayev would not give a number, saying the goPuff "is in the midst of fundraising.” In June, the company closed an $8.25 million round of financing.

However, goPuff was able to disclose its top 10 selling items in Philadelphia, New York and Boston between 2 and 3 a.m.

What was the craziest thing Ilishyev orderedin the wee hours of the morning?

“I ordered Drano and ice cream because I had a clogged sink and I was hungry at the same time.”

Philadelphia:

1. Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked

2. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

3. Haribo Gold-Bears Gummies

4. Ore-Ida Bagel Bites Three Cheese

5. Kit Kat

6. Glacier Freeze Gatorade

7. Watermelon Sour Patch Kids

8. Doritos - Nacho Cheese

9. Nerds Rope

10. Dozen eggs

Boston:

1. Watermelon Sour Patch Kids

2. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

3. Kit Kat

4. Nerds Rope

5. Haribo Gold-Bears Gummies

6. 20-ounce Coca-Cola

7. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

8. Ben & Jerry’s Milk and Cookies

9. Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked

10. String cheese

New York City:

1. String cheese

2. Diet Coke

3. Paper towels

4. Toilet paper

5. Glacier Freeze Gatorade

6. Original Sour Patch Kids

7. Red Velvet Cake Balls

8. Peach Snapple

9. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

10. Kit Kat

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