College students could start using their dining dollars for DoorDash meals thanks to this startup

College students could start using their dining dollars for DoorDash meals thanks to this startup
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College students could start using their dining dollars for DoorDash meals thanks to this startup
Students who use Phood can test their steadiness via the startup’s app

  • Phood permits college students to order DoorDash utilizing their college eating {dollars}.
  • The startup already works with schools together with the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Founder Alex Parmley turned Phood right into a funds enterprise after a stint centered on supply.

College college students usually have tons of or hundreds of eating {dollars} to spend as a part of their meal plans every college year. But the place they’ll spend these {dollars} is restricted to cafeterias or on-campus comfort shops.

Phood is making an attempt to vary that.

The startup works with college campuses to let college students spend their eating {dollars} on off-campus meals purchases resembling supply by way of DoorDash, founder Alex Parmley told Insider. 

Phood works with 5 universities, together with the University of Texas at Austin and The Ohio State University. It’s also planning a launch on the State University of New York campuses in the approaching months. 

Parmley said that he sees alternatives to open up school college students’ eating {dollars} to a number of off-campus providers and retailers.

“We’re connecting their campus card to every merchant in the world to make it acceptable,” he said. 

Phood CEO and co-founder Alex Parmley poses at a white desk with a gray wall behind him wearing a pullover jacket.
Phood CEO and co-founder Alex Parmley

Phood began as a food-delivery firm however pivoted to funds

Parmley based Phood in 2018. At first, the New York-based startup provided meals supply itself, utilizing a group of couriers to ship dining-hall meals to college students’ dorm rooms and residences.

But demand for on-campus meals supply dried up in 2020 as COVID unfold, lessons went on-line, and college students left college campuses to go dwelling, Parmley said. 

On high of that, meals supply is a “capital-draining” enterprise, he said. Phood stuffed a distinct segment, but it surely was nowhere close to the scale of bigger gamers. “I kept getting the question, ‘How do you beat DoorDash? How do you beat Uber Eats?'” Parmley told Insider.

Demand for meals supply to houses grew shortly through the pandemic, however even well-funded firms have struggled to make it worthwhile. 

Eventually, Parmley discovered a solution: Work with different supply providers as an alternative of making an attempt to beat them.

The firm now connects college students’ eating accounts to the Discover Global Network, which permits them to make use of their eating {dollars} like a daily debit card outdoors of their college.

“I realized that the money was in the payments,” he added.

In October, Phood earned $1 million in funding from 43North, a Buffalo, New York-based startup accelerator, utilizing its new strategy.

Phood sees itself as ‘coaching wheels for monetary literacy,’ Parmley said

Students at universities that work with Phood can get a digital card that they keep in a digital pockets. They can then use that card to make purchases on-line or in-person. 

Besides utilizing {dollars} they get by way of their meal plans, college students and their households can also high up their steadiness with money. That means anybody who needs to provide a scholar cash can deposit it to be used by way of their Phood card, Parmley said.

The system permits college students to resolve how they wish to spend their meals {dollars}, Parmley said.

Parmley pitches potential college companions by highlighting how a lot college students spend on meals off-campus. “We’re just like, ‘Do you want at least 2% of this? Because it’s better than the zero you’re getting right now,'” he said.

For the schools, Parmley said, a Phood account with parental {dollars} flowing in represents an opportunity to develop revenue. The universities that Phood works with obtain a part of the revenue generated from every purchase.

Phood prices nothing to college eating providers and college students that use it. Instead, the corporate generates revenue from the service suppliers it really works with in addition to Discover, Parmley said in a presentation for 43North.

Over the subsequent year, Parmley said he needs to sign more companions to Phood. Despite the corporate’s identify, Parmley said he does not wish to restrict Phood to meals supply: non-food choices like journey sharing providers are on his record of potential companions, he told Insider.

“We see this as training wheels for financial literacy and spending and allocating that capital in the right places,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider