Entrepreneurship is alive and well at the 5Cs. And, at long last, we finally have a way to have snacks from the Coop without leaving the comforts of our dorm.
Cartpool was conceived of as a student-to-student delivery service, where students at any of the 5Cs can submit an order online from any retailer or food service within 15 miles of campus and have it delivered to their dorm within the hour.
“We’re trying to instill a really high entrepreneurship climate at Pomona,” co-founder of Cartpool Quinntin Ruiz PO ’17 said.
Ruiz co-founded Cartpool with Patrick Shao PO ’17 over the summer and began deliveries at the 5Cs several weeks ago. They brought on Sterling Schwartz PO '18 to handle finance and Asher Abrahms PO '18 for marketing.
The service runs from 7 p.m. to midnight every day. They have special hours for events happening around the 5Cs, such as during the Pomona College Daze party last Saturday. Cartpool also can make special deliveries from places out of the 15-mile radius, such as from Los Angeles, if given early notice. Payment is through cash or Venmo, although the company is working on obtaining credit card readers.
In addition to the cost of the items, the service charges a $5 flat fee for gas plus a 15 percent service charge. Sterling explains that this pricing model is cheaper than competitors, such as Postmates, which charges a $6 flat fee plus 20 percent service charge. In addition, the founders believe what sets Cartpool apart from other delivery services is the fact that it’s student-to-student.
Ruiz explained how he and Shao conceived of the idea. After working at different startups over the summer, they decided they wanted to test their entrepreneurial spirit on their college campus.
“We were noticing that there are a lot of [students], especially in the freshman class, that don’t have cars, and they have trouble getting to and from [retailers] …especially since Zipcars are so expensive,” he said.
They spent the last few weeks of summer devising Cartpool and launched it on the Pomona campus soon after the start of the fall semester.
Currently, Ruiz and Sterling split the delivery orders they receive, but they have plans to contract student drivers from the 5Cs in the future, after they launch Cartpool at the other Claremont Colleges. The idea is that the student drivers will be treated as independent contractors rather than employees so that they can work on their own time and keep a majority of their profits.
The company is set to launch at the other 5Cs within the next three to four weeks, targeting dining halls and other main thoroughfares on campuses with posters and flyers, as well as looking into sponsoring various organizations around the colleges. Although the company has not officially launched at the other schools, they have still been making deliveries to all of the 5C campuses, relying mostly on word-of-mouth.
All founding members seem excited about the positive responses they’ve received, especially about the service and the pricing. The company has been averaging about a 40-minute delivery time, as well as giving out free t-shirts for the first 100 orders and making an online presence known through posting pictures of deliveries on Facebook and Instagram.
In a couple months, the company hopes to have a mobile app that can also cater to other colleges in the local area, such as Cal Poly Pomona, University of Southern California or University of California, Los Angeles.
Sterling and Ruiz stress that beyond the business aspect of the company, they are trying to build a community as well.
“Just being able to show people … we can be entrepreneurial at Pomona, we’re not just liberal arts, we’re not just going on the grad-school track.”
Cartpool wants to be part of a culture-shift on the 5C campuses toward encouraging entrepreneurship and student-startup ventures. In a nutshell, as Ruiz put it, “There are other options.”