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Umair Kamil - Blink Eat



My enterprise project

My enterprise achievement

Blink Eat is a marketing and queueless ordering platform I am creating for local independent coffee shops and their customers.

For coffee shops, Blink Eat means they’ll be able to make offers to potential customers in the vicinity. For their customers, this means they’ll be able to avoid the ordering queue and quickly collect hot beverages and snacks during peak hours. Customers pre-order online using Blink Eat with just a few taps on their mobile phone.

I witnessed the frustration of University of Warwick students when they became late for lectures or important appointments while waiting for coffee and other hot beverages in massive demand. In January 2016, while working on my second year business project, I had the idea to develop a solution.

After surveying over 500 Warwick students, I concluded there was strong demand for such a service. I also interviewed local coffee shops on campus and in Leamington Spa to better understand their views on the idea. This lead to the inception of Coffee Rush, which was later named Blink Eat to cater for a variety of eateries.

The Student Enterprise Fund award was spent on developing the mobile application and the website. I prioritised spending the award on areas where I am not comfortable; such as coding the back-end. That left the user interface and graphic design mostly to me.

I established the website, which is integrated with Google Maps and has also been structured into an Android application. Another important feature is how the payment gateway is structured. I am happy to say that it can now process payments. The next step is to add test locations across Leamington Spa and to enhance the payment gateway.

The award helped me structure my thoughts and put things into perspective. I think attention to detail and predicting how each user in the process perceives the service are key. The biggest thing this award gave me is motivation. I feel honoured that I was selected by the Enterprise at Warwick panel. Every time I reflect on that day, I can see how far I have progressed my pitch towards a product.


My enterprise learning

My future enterprise

Over the past months, I collected detailed market data, interviewed various people and designed the user interface for the application. Also, I was accepted onto the 14-week course on entrepreneurship run by Warwick Incubator. This led me to develop the minimum viable product, prototype the user interface and test its appeal with potential users. I learnt the value of understanding and putting the end customer first. I also learnt that software coding and bringing ideas together requires commitment and much redrafting. Studying business helped me understand Kaizen: continuous improvement. I can really see the benefits of adopting such a philosophy.

If I could turn back time, I would start product development earlier so that I could easily test it in my home country, as well as in the UK. The biggest challenge I face is not having a tech co-founder, so instead I work with an off-shore development team. In the future, I hope to have a solid tech co-founder so we can enhance the existing platform.


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I am going to spend the next few months testing and bettering the product. I aim to roll it out by December. Before then, it is key for me to ensure that I can meet the demands of every user in the chain. Starting with the eatery/coffee shop, I am going to focus on functionality and constantly take feedback from a group of cafés that have offered to take Blink Eat on board. Some testing will be done at the University to see how the end-customers behave. Based on the results, I will vary the functionality, features and presentation of Blink Eat. Every process will revolve around 3 key aspects: volume, speed and ease of use.

The Student Enterprise Fund has helped me turn on the engine and drive things forward. Beforehand, I had a map in my hand, but no GPS signal to help me navigate. I think having a map in hand before the award really gave me time to think and visualise where I want to drive. The award pushed me to go the extra mile and made me realise that one can take initiative and pave the way for great change.

I won’t lie to you, the problem I am addressing is minor, but occurs often. It isn’t a global cause and nor will it end world poverty. It’s a simple solution to a simple problem. The award has helped me simplify things further. I have been able to generate results, see the future of queueless ordering, what coffee shops/eateries are looking for and how all these elements can be put together to deliver a cohesive solution.

 

 

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www.blinkeat.com

u dot kamil at warwick dot ac dot uk