Two Georgetown University alumni have created a free online and mobile app called BlueCart that aims to revolutionize the way that restaurants and vendors interact.
Jagmohan Bansal (GRD ’11) and Konstantin Zvereff (GRD ’11) launched BlueCart in July 2014to make interactions between suppliers and restaurants more efficient by helping restaurants and suppliers place and manage all of their orders online, in one place. The app, which now has approximately 5,000 users, also helps sales representatives communicate with customers, access orders and share product lists online.
Bansal and Zvereff, who met at Georgetown University in the Master of Business Administration program, came up with the idea for BlueCart in their financial operations class when they were asked to work on an operations project that demonstrated their understanding of line flow design. They observed customers standing in long lines at restaurants and also saw that restaurant managers spent too much time making calls to providers. The pair worked on ways to optimize value in their project and aimed to minimize the time restaurants wasted placing orders with their suppliers.
According to Bansal and Zvereff, they developed a prototype for this idea and won every entrepreneurial contest they entered at Georgetown, including the first international competition that a Georgetown MBA class ever entered.
“We literally got to the finals and at the end we were competing against a group from Thailand that had genetically modified rice that had Vitamin D. They looked at us and they’re like, ‘Where’s the product?’ We didn’t have it,” Bansal said.
Their experience at the international competition with an underdeveloped app motivated Zvereff and Bansal to keep working on their idea before launching the final product. After graduating from Georgetown, Zvereff and Bansal each found full-time consulting jobs, while simultaneously testing their app in hotels and restaurants over a period of three years. Leaving their full-time jobs and working primarily for BlueCart, Bansal and Zvereff launched the finished product in July 2014.
Bansal said the company aims to expand their clientele in the next couple of years.
“The ultimate goal is that in the next two and a half years, we want to be in the hands of every single distributor in the hospitality industry,” Bansal said.
Red Apron Butchery, a locally sourced establishment dedicated to selling local and humane meat products, began using BlueCart one year ago.
“We’ve had sort of an interesting relationship with it because we are simultaneously customers and vendors, so we use it for our internal scale,” Lena Laskaris, Director of Operations at Red Apron Butchery, said. “We love that we can more efficiently and easily track trends in our purchasing and be able to go back and have on demand invoices every time that we need to check back on something.”
Other restaurants in the District of Columbia that use BlueCart include Bluejacket Brewery, Iron Gate, Churchkey and the Partisan.
James Hunt, a professor at the McDonough School of Business, acted as a mentor for Zvereff and Bansal during their time in graduate school at Georgetown. He taught Zvereff and Bansal in two of his classes, “Entrepreneurial Business Planning” and “Entrepreneurial Consulting Clinic.” Hunt supported their idea for BlueCart and witnessed the pair succeed in the Seed Investment Practica competition at the University of Notre Dame. This success reassured Hunt of the potential of their business concept and of his support for the company.
“I personally invested in the company,” Hunt said.