Driven by his experiences as a food courier during his Ph.D. studies in biotechnology, Rufus Vinod is determined to transform the food delivery business to be fairer for all parties involved. That is why he founded Reilu Kuljetus (direct translation: Fair Delivery). Together with his business partner Lauri Koittola, they are ready to change the game. We asked a few questions about Rufus’ experiences of startup life in Turku!
- About the company: Reilu Kuljetus is a Turku-based startup to provide fair food delivery services for all parties.
- Founded: in 2018, the services for customers started in 2022
- Team: 2 founders, 2 minority shareholders, and the fleet of couriers is currently growing
- Location of the office: Kupittaa, Turku
- Latest achievement: Reilu Kuljetus just received Avainlippu (The Key Flag symbol), which helps customers to choose Finnish alternatives.
- Random fact: “We consider ourselves a family, not just a place to work.”
On a hot summer day, I arrive at the Kupittaa area and head towards a co-working space called SparkUp, operated by Turku Science Park Ltd. SparkUp is a place for innovative startups ready to challenge the market. Rufus takes this task seriously as his company Reilu Kuljetus has decided to challenge the big players in food delivery.
Why did you choose Kupittaa for our meeting spot?
“Kupittaa is a great place for startups as there are so many other new companies that you can share your ideas with, get feedback and develop your idea even further.”
Reilu has been using the SparkUp office space for free as a part of an accelerator program. Yet the benefits of the location are not limited to saving on rent. The space is a meeting hub for university students, inventors, and innovators, a place for every kind of interaction, from large inspiring events to random coffee-break discussions that spark new ideas.
Urban and modern business hub Kupittaa has transformed itself within the past decade and offers a home for many companies and higher education institutions in the region. It is located a few kilometers from the city center, and a railway station with trains headed towards the capital region is right at the heart of the area. Not to forget, the biggest city park in Finland —Kupittaanpuisto— is just around the corner. Kupittaa is truly a place to build networks and start something big!
What does the Turku region offer for startups and international talents?
“It was my childhood dream to come from Pakistan to Finland: my cousin came here earlier, and he always told me stories about the country. I applied to three universities in Finland to work with my Ph.D., and I was lucky to be accepted to the University of Turku.”
“It was my childhood dream to come to Finland!“
According to Rufus, the Turku region is a great place to study, work, and be an entrepreneur. He values the structure and greenery of the city. There aren’t too many tall buildings, nature is all around, and the moon and stars can actually be seen during the nighttime. In addition, he appreciates that you can walk almost everywhere in the city; that is a luxury for people coming from big cities.
Rufus also wants to highlight the fact that even though the cost of living has risen, the price level is still affordable compared to many bigger cities. In the Turku region, you don’t have to live in a tiny apartment and can actually have a space to breathe. The saved money can be used for something else rather than spending everything just on living costs.
“Turku is great for people but also for companies! First, we just had an idea, and then we needed support, which we have got from the people here in SparkUp.”
Rufus has participated in quite a few programs organized by Turku Science Park Ltd. He started with the Startup for Beginners course, and next, Reilu participated in a year-long program called Level Up, which pushes companies to develop their businesses from every angle. One of the perks of this program for the participants is, of course, free office space for a year. In addition, Rufus values mentoring, guidance for the issues connected with intellectual property rights, and all the help that would make them ready to attract investments.
“It is amazing how the local government is supporting us startups!”
What kind of work does Reilu Kuljetus do?
Reilu Kuljetus delivers food in a fair way. They make fair contracts with couriers and offer a fair commission to partner restaurants without compromising quality and speed. They are passionate about creating a sustainable business ecosystem that will benefit all parties. Rufus is responsible for technology and his partner Lauri takes care of business.
“Currently, drivers don’t have a proper status in many cases, and the pressure for the local restaurants is too much. For this reason, we established a company where all the players are truly part of the work and our family.”
Reilu couriers are employed by the company, and on top of a fair compensation, they also get employee benefits, including insurance and workplace health care. In addition, it is possible to become a member of the cooperative as an entrepreneur. Working hours are flexible and, in addition to deliveries, employees can perform administrative tasks if they so prefer.
“We established a company where all the players are truly part of the work and our family.”
Smaller restaurants have been especially excited about the new food delivery player as current commissions paid to food delivery companies are often too high for them. The owners or managers of the restaurant chains have been harder to reach, yet Rufus is optimistic to win their business as more people learn about their company.
Reilu has started its journey in Turku, and its home city is the testing ground for the business. Rufus emphasizes that Reilu will always be a Turku-based company, even though they are also reaching for international markets. Reilu app can already be downloaded from app stores, and the first restaurants are added to the service. The next step is to start marketing it to the people of Turku.
“The delivery cost for citizens will be only a few euros more than with the competitors. We don’t want to put a burden on their pockets.“
It seems such a small price to pay for a fairer delivery.
What does an international expert think about his current home city?
“Turku is a good place to start a company and live your life. At least for me, it is an ideal place to be.”