Gopuff Buys Time for Its 30-Minutes-or-Less Delivery Promise

“Once you can implement, and obviously it’s difficult, it wins in the long run,” he said.

Gopf added that he was putting the public offer on the back burner because the stock market was volatile and he had enough cash. The layoffs were part of a global restructuring process, he said.

Mr. Gola and Mr. Ilyasayev met in 2011 as a student at Drexel University in Philadelphia. In their second year, they set up Gopf for college students, offering quick late-night delivery of junk food, condoms and smoking materials. They called themselves the “One-Stop Puff Shop”, which gave them the name Gopf. Delivery was available until 4:20 am

To differentiate itself from DoorDash and Instacart, which connect customers to restaurants and grocery stores through their apps and rely on gig workers, Mr. Gola and Mr. Ilyasayev decided that Gopf would buy goods from distributors and wholesalers and would have a warehouse. Its warehouse workers will be full-time employees, although its delivery drivers and bike messengers will be contractors.

Mr. Gola, who dropped out of college, and Mr. Ilyasayev, who received a degree in law studies from Drexel, became co-chief executive of Gobrand’s parent company, Gobrands. To fund the business, they sold used office furniture on Craigslist and eBay. They also offer discounts on orders to attract customers and charge only $ 2.95 for delivery.

As Goff got traction ahead of the Drexel students, Mr. Gola and Mr. Ilyasayev expanded his product offering and established warehouses in Boston, Washington and Austin, Texas. Starting in 2016, the company raised money from venture firms such as Anthos Capital and, later, from investors, including the Japanese conglomerate Softbank.

“We saw it in the data: customers come back several times each month, very strong customer retention, customers who will stick forever, basically,” said Jet Fein, partner at Headline, a venture capital firm that invests in Gopf.

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