During the busy Christmas season, consumers are expected to spend more than $220 billion on e-commerce purchases. With online shopping becoming increasingly popular, delivery drivers are facing higher demands. However, a new app called Routora, developed by co-founders Luke Blazek, Brian George, and Tom Vazhekatt, is here to assist these drivers in optimizing their routes.

Routora utilizes artificial intelligence and seamlessly integrates with popular navigation platforms such as Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze. By providing faster and more efficient multi-stop routes, the app not only saves drivers time and money but also reduces their carbon footprint. Its target audience includes independent drivers who work for companies like Amazon, Walmart, and Target, as well as individuals running everyday errands.

The idea for Routora originated with Vazhekatt, a computer science major, who created a Google Chrome extension. Recognizing its potential, Blazek and George joined forces with Vazhekatt, and the trio founded Routora in the summer of 2022. With support from Notre Dame’s IDEA Center, they launched the app for iOS and Android platforms in September 2023.

Since its launch, Routora has already demonstrated its impact. A total of 1.7 million miles have been saved on the road, resulting in savings of $300,000 in fuel costs and a reduction of over 600 kilograms in carbon dioxide emissions. Impressively, the app has attracted more than 30,000 drivers from over 90 countries, despite having no marketing budget. This collective effort is equivalent to saving 31,000 trees.

The students credit Notre Dame’s IDEA Center for providing crucial funding and connections with attorneys and startup coaches. Additionally, support from the Notre Dame alumni network and faculty played a significant role in the app’s success. Notre Dame’s emphasis on sustainability and equitable access to technology resonated with the co-founders, motivating them to improve people’s lives through Routora.

Routora swiftly gained popularity, ranking among the top 100 transportation apps within a week of its launch. Currently, the students are working on an update that will enable the app to integrate directly with delivery drivers’ software used by Amazon and Walmart.

Reflecting on their journey, Brian George appreciates the impact of Notre Dame’s Sheedy Family Program in Economy, Enterprise, and Society. The program encourages students to find meaning in their business endeavors through the integration of liberal arts education. George believes the program’s collaborative dialogue and exploration shaped Routora’s decision-making framework, while the connections with professionals provided valuable guidance.

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