In this weekly series, we profile entrepreneurs approaching the top of their game, and ask them how they got there. This week, we speak to Julian Gleizer, who wants to deliver essentials to busy professionals.
At the young age of 15, Julian Gleizer started developing his business acumen while working for the family business alongside his father.
After graduating from York University in political science and economics, he worked as a Project Manager for some of Canada’s big banks, including RBC and BMO. Despite his bank jobs, he always had the thirst and drive for the entrepreneurial side of things. “I realized the 9 to 5 typical job was not something I was interested in or born to do,” Gleizer admits.
In 2010, he noticed a website called Groupon (ever heard of it?) had just rolled out their online deal service. The site inspired him to launch his own daily deals website called DealTicker. Gleizer’s company was very successful and in 2014 after almost four years in business, DealTicker was acquired by a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ.
The challenges of growing DealTicker and enduring the demanding 12-14 hour work day of a startup founder proved even more difficult when he was also taking care of his ailing father.
Gleizer would make regular trips to the grocery store to pick up the daily essentials like water and bread for his father. The rest of his life was also becoming increasingly busy, recently married and with a child on the way, having to pick up groceries every night was a real problem.
As a solution, Gleizer began developing a proprietary platform for on-demand grocery delivery right to your doorstep and in 2015 he launched INABUGGY in Toronto.
How does INABUGGY work?
INABUGGY is a geo-based location app that you can use across all devices. Just type in your postal code and shop multiple retailers in your area with the added benefit of having all your groceries delivered at the same time.
The company has partnered with 41 retailers to date and is currently offering their grocery service across Canada, from BC all the way to Quebec. The long list of retailers includes places like Sobeys, Fresh Co., Costco, Wal-Mart and many more. The service makes it easy for you to avoid having to stop at many different places for different things, a godsend for those who want free up more time in their busy schedules. INABUGGY helps you say goodbye to lugging bottles of alcohol home, instead you can have your alcoholic beverage of choice delivered from the LCBO or Beer Store. If you need anything for your pets, Petsmart is another INABUGGY retailer you can opt for. You can even have your pharmaceuticals delivered from Rexall Pharma Plus.
INABUGGY customers can enjoy in-store pricing, the same as if you were to walk into the store and buy your groceries yourself. For the low-cost of $19.98 an INABUGGY shopper will pick, pack, and deliver your groceries right to your doorstep.
If you’re worried about the quality of groceries you will receive, Gleizer ensures us that all INABUGGY personal shoppers complete very strenuous training when it comes to both shopping and interacting with customers.
“Our app is very customized, when you’re picking your bananas you can add in the notes. Pick 3 green bananas and 2 yellow bananas. We’re picking the way you are or the way you would if you were shopping yourself.”
A testament to their success, according to Gleizer, the company is right now looking to hire 100 personal shoppers in different areas.
“As soon as the customer realizes they can trust us to pick the food the same way they would, they get their time back, and they become very interested and continue to use our service. Our repeat user base is very high,” Gleizer says.
Gleizer notes that his service is really for anyone who eats from the age of 24 onwards. From parents that order for their kids that are away at university/college to the other end of the spectrum of adults who order groceries for their parents and everybody else in between.
Initially being a leader in the Canadian market, INABUGGY was seen as a disrupter of the grocery industry. However, brick and mortar retailers soon realized that the on-demand grocery service could add value to their bottom line.
“With our service we can add more exposure and incremental revenue by going beyond their usual parameters. By offering retailers the customers that wouldn’t normally shop at their store because its further away, we give them access.” Gleizer says.
Gleizer admits that there’s a lot of great advice and feedback that comes in on a daily basis. However, he acknowledges the importance of spending time to build a solid team. “One person cannot build a business, you need a great team. We’ve been fortunate to hire people that are a part of the INABUGGY team, that make it happen everyday.”
Also, emphasizing the need to put the customer first to truly understand your business. “Listen to what your customers are saying, if you take a step to the side and listen, you can hear your business speaking to you,” Gleizer says.
“That’s the difference between success and failure, it’s about not just starting, but also executing, and getting it to be point where it’s a viable solution to the problems we’re trying to solve right now.”