How self-driving mini marts will redefine how we shop


Time is our most precious commodity. Yet Americans make over 24 million trips to the grocery store every day, driving an average 4 miles to their preferred store. They spend an hour on average per trip and almost 70% of the time purchase fewer than 10 items, which equates to a combined total of 21 million hours — the equivalent of 2.5 millennia spent on grocery runs.¹ ² ³

Delivery held the promise of giving us back our time by having someone else pick and deliver our goods. Yet it not only takes a courier the same amount of time…

The promise of self-driving cars is to create a world where anyone, anywhere can summon a car and travel safely to their destination, at close to zero cost.

Mobility is a space that has traditionally been operated by city governments at low cost for low convenience or by private companies at a high cost for high convenience. With the advent of on-demand mobility players like Uber and Lyft who looked to disrupt the traditionally high cost of taxi services, consumers have benefited from lower costs. …

Forecasting the Future of Convenience

Technology’s purpose is to make our lives easier. With each new advance in technology, we’ve seen a multitude of services spring up that take advantage of the change to make our lives better and easier.

Some of the most successful tech startups of the last few decades have been able to leverage and ride off of the exponential growth of a new technological platform. In the 70s and 80s the personal computer created the platform for businesses like Microsoft and Cisco to sell the required software and hardware and become tech giants as a result. In the late 90s and…

When we launched Dispatch a little over a year ago, we set out to give people the absolute easiest way to shop, letting them order and get anything delivered simply by instant message. We very quickly found out that we’d created something that people loved and were willing to pay a premium for, something that most products are never able to achieve.

Over the past few years I have raised millions of pounds of investment for my startup Lutebox through VCs, private equity, angels, incubators and grants, and have advised other startup founders on fundraising. I am writing this short guide to help new founders navigate through the often overlapping and confusing stages of funding and understand how much to raise at each stage.

Stage 1: Seed

Stage 1 can be referred to as bootstrapping, seed round, angel round

The traction required to get to each stage will differ vastly from situation to situation, startup to startup, but usually at seed stage you would need…

Dispatch is an app that lets you shop by chat. Just make a request and we’ll find, buy and deliver products from any store within an hour of your choice.

We’ve been growing incredibly fast since launching nine months ago and have just hit a major milestone. We’ve now handled 50,000 requests, and doubled our userbase in just the last 9 weeks. We are growing buyers by 13% average per week and sales by 21% average per week. Our buyers on average buy 2.6 …

I’m the founder of Dispatch, an app that lets you shop by chat. Just make a request and we’ll find, buy and deliver it to you. Ever wished you didn’t have to search and shop on your mobile, open a dozen tabs, fill in countless forms, input your address and card details multiple times and then checkout, and then have no way of contacting the retailer to get updates? With Dispatch just chat with an operator via instant message and have them find, buy and deliver anything to you.

We launched Dispatch on August 1, 2015 and within 20 days…

Disclaimer: Although I don’t like the Apple Watch in its current form, I am actually quite bullish on the future of wearables. My company works on products that make communicating with family and friends more fun and convenient and we’re excited about the potential of wearables especially for our industry. Without further ado here are the top ten reasons why I believe the Apple Watch will fail.

1. I can’t see too many women or young kids wearing one

If you neglect to design for the next generation, it will be difficult to achieve mass adoption. Many youngsters don’t like the idea of wearing a watch, let alone a shiny bulky phone…

Why the future of mobile messaging is all about making texting more visual, expressive and fun

Recently Ted Livingston, founder of Kik Messenger wrote a piece on TechCrunch where he outlined his vision for the future of the mobile messaging space. Although I have tremendous respect for Ted, I completely disagree with his assertions. Ted believes that the future of messaging is building a platform where users can play games, make purchases, and do whatever else under the sun all from within a messaging app.

Sorry Ted, but you couldn’t be more wrong.

Let me elaborate on why the future of mobile messaging is actually about visual communication and not about building a platform.

Apple and…

The harsh truth that entrepreneurs need to know

Jan Hammer, a respected venture capitalist at Index Ventures recently had a post up on TechCityNews where he answered the question “If I choose crowdfunding will it put off future venture capitalists?” He offered a venture capitalist’s view and painted a pretty positive picture of crowdfunding so I figured I’d let other startup founders in on the harsh truth instead. As a software based startup founder, my view on this is clear:

Just don’t do it.

There is way too much stigma around crowdfunding, and people like Jan tend to focus only on the winners, the successfully backed startups, rather than the hundreds of…

Ali Ahmed

Founder, Robomart

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