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St. Louis startup, GiftAMeal, has successfully raised its second round of seed funding. Their product empowers restaurant marketing while feeding the hungry.
GiftAMeal is a mobile application that helps provide a meal to someone in need each time a user takes a photo on its app at a partner restaurant. If a user then shares that photo to Facebook or Instagram, a second meal is “given.”
Essentially, GiftAMeal has gamified the trend of everyone taking pictures of their food and added a much needed dimension of social good. The photos operate as a shared list of restaurant recommendations among friends and for every social photo update a donation is made to a local food bank partner.
Gifting a Meal
Over 150 restaurants are participating in GiftAMeal’s program and over 175,000 meals have been donated so far.
GiftAMeal is based in St. Louis and so provides the donated meals through the local food bank, Operation Food Search. However, each organization is local to the region to ensure freshness of the meals donated, so as GiftAMeal expands nationally the startup has pursued new food bank partnerships, such as Lakeview Pantry in Chicago and Forgotten Harvest in Detroit.
Andrew Glantz, GiftAMeal’s founder, explained the concept, “With GiftAMeal, we saw an opportunity to both help the community, and help provide restaurants with a unique method of engaging customers. After our initial success, we are excited to use this funding to take GiftAMeal to the next level.”
Founding Before Finishing
Hailing from Los Angeles, Glantz came to St. Louis to attend Washington University in St. Louis in 2013. He founded GiftAMeal in 2015, while still an undergraduate student.
In 2016, at 21 years old, he earned the claim to fame of being the youngest founder (and only undergraduate) ever to receive an investment from the Capital Innovators accelerator in St. Louis.
Since graduating in May 2017, Glantz now works on GiftAMeal full-time and was recently the youngest person named to the St. Louis Business Journal’s 30 Under 30 List.
Figuring Out The Formula
GiftAMeal plans to use this latest investment round to accelerate their latest growth trajectory. The first 12 months were dedicated to fleshing out a minimum viable product (MVP) and testing adoption. The last 12 months has been a period of testing and refining the core product, capturing feedback and adapting to requests from the market.
In a phone conversation with EQ, Glantz reported, “We’ve really been figuring out a lot of different components; just working on getting the formula right. From perfecting user engagement to demonstrating and quantifying the value of what we do for restaurant owners.”
Landing And Expanding
It’s been time well spent, as the startup was able to produce a case study that cemented their value proposition to restaurants.
The case study was published in April 2018 and has caused game changing results since gaining coverage in the St. Louis Business Journal. Over the last 4 months, GiftAMeal has doubled their monthly recurring revenue, hired their first full-time employee and rapidly expanded their restaurant base to 125 in St Louis, 20 in Chicago and has just broken into Detroit.
“We’ve been donating over $1,000 per month and are set to break our current record, this month,” Glantz explained. “With this funding round, we will be able to reach new heights to further expand our reach and make an even bigger impact on our community”.
This latest tranche of funding for GiftAMeal came from nine angel investors, five of whom were based in St. Louis. What is especially impressive is how successfully GiftAMeal has been able to activate the community of restaurant entrepreneurs in St. Louis. It’s great to see the app gain support from many well known local restauranteurs, such as Gerard Craft, and investment from restaurant chain owners such as Michael Staenberg.
Join the Movement to Fight Hunger in Your Local Community
If you own a restaurant or know one that would be a good fit, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.