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UA Students Prep to Pitch Grocery Delivery Service in Statewide Competition

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – A team of four University of Alabama students will pitch their grocery delivery business idea in the second round of the Alabama Launchpad statewide business competition Feb. 19 in Birmingham.

Care Package Team from The University of Alabama. L-R: Jake Jackson, Trey Byers, Ryan Keelin, Ethan Mergen

Ethan Mergen, Ryan Keelin, Trey Byers and Jake Jackson will present their start-up business plan to a panel of judges in an 8-minute, live-pitch event at Evonik Industries in Birmingham. All are Birmingham natives except for Jackson who is from Wildwood, Missouri.

The four business majors at UAs Culverhouse College of Commerce teamed up to create a grocery delivery service aimed at university-centric towns. The service, dubbed Care Package, will use a smartphone application that allows students or parents to remotely shop for groceries and have them delivered to their apartment or dorm.

Unlike similar services, Care Package is aimed exclusively at college students as opposed to working professionals.

“People don’t realize how busy college students are,” Mergen explained. “Many of us are involved in sports, clubs and jobs outside of class, so by the time we get home, we don’t want to drive to Publix and get groceries, we want to relax.”

One Birmingham competitor charges $99 for a year’s worth of grocery deliveries. For college students, that can be a hefty amount to pay up front. The Care Package team found that a per-delivery fee of 9 percent was psychologically more effective for students.

“For the price of about one extra item, you can have all of your groceries delivered, and we think that will be worth it to save people the time,” Keelin said.

The students will be pitching their startup idea to a panel of judges this month, and if selected, will move on the final competition April 7.

Care Package is part of a host of start-up companies that receive early assistance and mentoring through the Office for Technology Transfer within the UA Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

About Alabama Launchpad: For 10 years, Alabama Launchpad has helped high growth companies start, stay and grow in Alabama while supporting, advocating and recognizing entrepreneurship statewide

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state’s economy, is in keeping with UA’s vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state’s flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.


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