TECH TUESDAY: Favor app

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by TYLER SIESWERDA / KVUE News and editor ROB DIAZ

kvue.com

Posted on February 11, 2014 at 11:24 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 11 at 11:41 PM

AUSTIN -- A local tech startup simply wants to do Austinites a favor. The business is quickly becoming a staple for locals on the run or those who don't want to run at all.

"It's going to be one pad thai with chicken," University of Texas junior Jamie Gray placed an order on the phone from the driver's seat of his car.

Gray isn't eating on the run. He's running so someone else can eat.

Gray is a runner for Favor. The Austin start-up is less than a year old but is already making the blue bow tie very recognizable.  

"Favor is a simple way to get anything you want delivered here in central Austin," said Zachary Maurais.

Maurais and childhood friend Ben Doherty created and launched Favor. They met in the sixth grade on the basketball court in their home state of New Hampshire.

The 24-year-olds have moved well past basketball and are now scoring in business.

Maurais and Doherty came to Austin in January 2013. It was a one-night stopover on a cross country drive. They fell in love with the city, and four months later, Doherty was the first to move here.

"By May, I was here. May 1. I lived at the youth hostel over on Lakeshore Boulevard," said Doherty.

In June, they launched Favor. By August, it was the most downloaded app in Austin.

Here's how it works: You pull up the Favor app and type in anything you want delivered, or choose from the list of featured items.

"We have an algorithm to where we find the best runner available to do it," said Doherty.

Maurais continued, "That request gets sent to a Favor runner, and they shop on your request and deliver within 45 minutes to an hour, and often even less, for $5 plus tip."

The runner does all the work. In this case, it's the pad thai order placed by Gray. After picking it up, he takes a picture of the receipt, which is sent to the customer. At that point, the customer pays directly through the app. No cash is needed.

"The biggest thing that sets Favor apart from a lot of the other similar services is the customer’s ability to ask for anything. We'll go to the convenience store to pick up cigarettes, or we'll go get groceries for you," said Gray.

For customers like Eddie Aboussie, Favor is the ultimate for couch potatoes or hardworking students like himself.

"It's good. I like it. I enjoy not having to leave the house," said Aboussie.

Right now, the service is only available in central Austin. The boundary is 51st Street to the north, Oltorf to the south, Tarrytown to the west, and about a mile into east Austin.

These hardworking entrepreneurs hope to expand that area soon and can't think of anyplace that doesn't need a Favor.

"We're just getting started. Favor is going to be something that, before you pick up your keys, you think, 'Oh, yeah, let me use that simple app,'" said Maurais.

Right now, Favor is an iPhone app with an Android app launching this spring.

Go here for more information.
 

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