Pick up some flowers, drop off your laundry, and order in on a Friday night – Kiwi app LazyAz will do it all for you. Jihee Junn talks to its 19-year-old founder Aryaman Taore about making the most of the delivery craze.
Back in the old days (ie: pre-2010), the dominant option for getting food delivered in Auckland was pizza. Hawaiian pizza. Meatlovers pizza. Vegetarian pizza. Whatever your pick, nine times out of 10, it was pizza.
Flash forward to 2017 where – thanks to technological advancements and the rise of the start-up economy – Uber Eats will deliver a Best Ugly Bagel to your Mt Albert flat, Menulog will courier a butter chicken to your CBD apartment, and Eat My Lunch will ship over a freshly-made sandwich in time for your lunch break. Prefer to whip up your own meal? There’s always My Food Bag. Or if you don’t like the selection, curate your own through the Countdown website instead.
Ordering in has never been more en vogue, so much so that it’s expected to grow at twice the rate of dining in or picking up takeaways in the next four years. The reasons for this growth are relatively obvious: we’re busier, we work more, and we want more choice.
While newcomers to the food delivery game might face an uphill battle against its more seasoned competitors, LazyAz – a New Zealand marketplace and delivery app – is offering a whole lot more than just a meal on a plate. LazyAz will pick up your laundry, drop off your shoes, and purchase some flowers for your significant other. They’ll even make a stop for you at the Big Red Shed. All within the hour, like some personal assistant.
While the app is clearly impressive in itself (despite falling into the whole “dudes wanting to replicate mum” trap of so many start-ups), what’s most impressive is the 19-year-old entrepreneur behind it. Aryaman Taore, currently an engineering student at the University of Auckland, cobbled together $1,750 from his own savings (along with a little help from his parents) to launch LazyAz two years ago. And last year, it conducted a successful round of funding which raised $240,000 in equity capital to help it expand to other parts of New Zealand.
As he gears up for another crowdfunding round later this year, I talk to Aryaman about his interest in entrepreneurship, the most popular items people order, and how he once got asked for his number while making a delivery.
How did LazyAz start and what was your inspiration behind the project?
The idea for LazyAz sparked from craving a burger when I was 17. I had no transport to get to the store and I wished my favourite burger could just be delivered. After researching global markets and getting an understanding of what people wanted today, I realised that the model needed to give people access to more than just the delivery of food.
My goal has always been to improve the way Kiwis shop. From the inception of LazyAz, we asked ourselves: “How do we want to shop in the next 3-5 years?” LazyAz is starting to answer that question by giving people access to food, groceries, flowers and more – it’s all at their fingertips.
Did you have any experience in business or entrepreneurship prior to starting LazyAz?
Michael Hill’s book Think Bigger was a sort of initiation for me into the world of entrepreneurship and business. After that, I read about the experiences of Sir Richard Branson and others. Before LazyAz, I worked to create a non-profit organisation called Young Ideas. Young Ideas held four conferences bringing together around 200 students to discuss the issue of water scarcity in the Pacific region. We then worked to find the best design solutions and are now working to create the first prototype. Young Ideas came about after my own discouraging experiences at model conferences that failed to fabricate anything real after the ideas were discussed. Young Ideas’ success helped build my confidence and led me to start LazyAz.
What was it like when you first started LazyAz? I understand you used to run deliveries yourself.
There was a lot of excitement on the first day, but that soon faded. In fact, we didn’t receive our first order until two weeks into starting LazyAz. The initial slow traction brought with it a lot of anxiety and doubt, so I learned to be patient and to continue working hard. I did do a few deliveries myself initially and had some amazing experiences; from delivering dinner to a blind middle-aged woman, to being asked for my number when delivering to someone at uni.
How many orders do you usually receive over a month and what are some of your most popular items and/or retailers?
We currently do about 5,000 orders per month in central Auckland and have over 50 deliverers connected with us.
Freshly cooked food is definitely one of the most popular items. But grocery is quickly becoming a significant market for us. Other services such as floristry, pharmaceutical deliveries, document collection, and dry-cleaning are all starting to grow as new and existing app users understand everything that LazyAz offers. We’re a bit like a personal assistant.
What sets LazyAz apart from other delivery apps like Uber Eats and Menulog (other than the fact you deliver more than just food)?
We offer the most extensive choice of restaurants and eateries with over a 150+ restaurant partners in central Auckland alone.
Our drivers are like personal assistants and can head to any store in the LazyAz area. This means that by using the LazyAz app, you can support your favourite local eateries (or get that exact dish that you crave) even if they’re not one of our retail partners.
We handle all our own deliveries – other models rely on the store’s delivery service. This means we offer a consistently high standard of service.
How do you become a LazyAz deliverer and what are the requirements to get involved?
To become a deliverer, you can sign up with us on the LazyAz website. Our team offers training and provides gear, so you can be on the road as soon as possible. You need to be 18 or over and have a smartphone to access orders through the LazyAz deliverer’s app.
Do you have any plans to scale/grow further and if so, what are they?
Yes we do. We are currently working on raising capital to expand out to major New Zealand CBDs including Wellington and Christchurch. We are aiming to head over to Australia in the near future.
Lastly, tell us about a start-up or business that you really admire right now.
I’m really impressed by Ashutosh Sharma, another 19-year-old who has tremendously grown his startup, Sell My Good. Seeing other young New Zealand entrepreneurs taking their products global is always an inspiration. I understand first-hand the struggle and anxiety start-ups bring and to overcome that at such a young age is very admirable.
The Spinoff’s business content is brought to you by our friends at Kiwibank. Kiwibank backs small to medium businesses, social enterprises and Kiwis who innovate to make good things happen.