Despite what it may look like, CupsOver is not a partying service for college students, says the company’s young founder.
Yes, the company does door-to-door delivery of red cups, ping-pong balls and fold-out tables — the three pillars of beer pong, the popular college drinking game.
And yes, up until recently it offered a “party package” for University of Wisconsin-Madison students who want cups and ping-pong balls in multiple bulk deliveries for $150.
But the 20-year-old Jack Weiss said CupsOver, which also delivers products like plastic cutlery and clorox wipes, is “a college campus company,” not a “drinking company.”
“When I think of a red cup, it just reminds me of college,” he said. “Not the partying and drinking aspect.”
Weiss is a junior studying business at the UW-Madison. He said he launched CupsOver in 2016 after he was inspired by what he heard from a professor about entrepreneurship.
"He put things simply: Find a problem, find a solution,” said Weiss. “I found a problem, I saw it every day — I was always out of cups.”
Weiss started his venture as a delivery service exclusively for red plastic cups. He would buy them in bulk from CostCo and clients who would see the flyers he plastered around campus could send him a request for on-demand delivery.
A year later, the business model has changed. Weiss now offers 11 disposable products, along with tables that customers can rent, to customers who subscribe to regular deliveries or who request on-demand service. Instead of generic cups from CostCo, he now offers cups he’s designed himself, emblazoned with the company’s logo and sponsorships from UW-centric brands like Sconnie. Those cups are on sale at locations like the Triangle Market on State Street.
Weiss said he’s aware that his company has a reputation as a drinking-oriented enterprise. He said he’s taking steps to change that. He’s thinking of adding anti-drinking disclaimers on his cups. He has also tweaked the language on his website, eliminating things like the “party package” and descriptions of the tables as “pong tables.”
“Those tables I want to be for people to eat their dinner on, not for people to play pong with,” he said.
Weiss added that students use his products for drinking far less than others might think. Red cups, he said, are a versatile good that many students turn to when they’re out of cups on a school night.
Weiss said his company helps students pursue their passions and dreams by freeing up their time. Instead of running to the store for toilet paper, they can practice music or sports, or maybe focus on homework.
Other major tech companies — namely, Amazon — also let consumers sign up for regular disposable good deliveries. Weiss said that his business will be like a “collegiate Amazon.” His platform will focus strictly on what a college student needs, making it simpler to order in-demand items. Plus, his offerings are cheaper than Amazon’s goods, he said.
CupsOver has become well-known around campus thanks to a robust marketing campaign through social media, flyers, and tables. Weiss and the three other employees of the company often set up a table on State Street, laden with company swag.
Weiss said he wouldn’t reveal his income or how many subscribers he has — his primary investor, his father, had advised against it. However, he said that the company has been rapidly growing. He already has an plan to expand to 10 more campuses in the near future. In 10 years, he wants CupsOver to be at every college campus in the country.
“I just love creating things and having an entrepreneurial mindset. I want to put something out there and change this world,” he said.