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Eric Martell is cofounder of EatStreet, a popular online food ordering service. It was Founded in 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin by Matt Howard, Eric, and Alex Wyler. The company has expanded to over 10,000 restaurants nationwide with over 100 employees. EatStreet hosts over 6000 restaurant websites and has partnered with Yelp to include online ordering on review pages.

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What will you learn in this interview?

  • Why does he say eCommerce is tough?
  • How has EatStreet grown so quickly?
  • How do they attract new talent for their teams?
  • What were the first steps to creating EatStreet?
  • What does their hiring process entail?
  • What were some mistakes he’s made that others should avoid?
  • What was his biggest leap of faith he had to take?
  • What were some of the doubts in starting the EatStreet business?
  • How did his team handle fundraising and financing for their business in the beginning?
  • What was one of his proudest moment?
  • What was his lowest moment?

FUN FACT:

  • He’s allergic to orange juice. He is the only person he knows who cannot drink orange juice.
  • He plays guitar
  • He swims a mile or two a day to try to keep his body healthy and release some stress.

Business Mentors, Tools, Books mentioned:

  • Matt Howard – cofounder of EatStreet
  • Eric Martell – cofounder of EatStreet
  • Alex Wyler – cofounder of EatStreet

Background:

Here are some facts about Eric Martell:
Young entrepreneur with experience in both large corporations (Intuit, Thomson Reuters), and startups (co-founder and COO at EatStreet).

Extensive technical experience in ground up development of a commerce platform facilitating millions of dollars of transactions with one other developer, and in a larger business environment.

Management/ business experience includes co-founding startup, and hence being involved in marketing, sales, hiring, fundraising, management, etc since the beginning in a company that has now grown to 110 cities, with 50 full time employees, and 10,000+ restaurant clients.

Credentials include National Merit Scholarship recipient, Dean’s List at the University of Wisconsin, winner of 2011 University of Wisconsin Business Plan Competition and Keynote Speaker of the event in 2012, Eagle Scout, National Honor Society President, High School Cross Country team state champion, and various leadership roles in the Sigma Phi fraternity.

EatStreet History

Initially launched by co-founders Matt Howard, Eric Martell, and Alex Wyler on February 1, 2010, the company began as BadgerBites and operated solely in Madison, WI. In August 2011, the company began expanding to additional markets and now has operations across the country, from Arizona to Ohio to North Carolina and many states in between. On January 21, 2013, the company launched a redesigned website and began national expansion under the new name “EatStreet.” As of April 2014, the company employs 65 total employees.

The company raised $2 million in a Series A investment round led by Cornerstone Opportunity Partners LLC in February 2013. Independence Equity, Great Oaks VC, and gener8tor also participated. EatStreet won the G. Steven Burrill Business Plan Competition and placed 3rd Place in the NEST competition, both at the Wisconsin School of Business. The company was also a finalist in the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

In April 2014, EatStreet secured a Series B investment round worth $6 million. Investors included Cornerstone Opportunity Partners LLC, Independence Equity, Great Oaks VC, CSA Partners, Silicon Valley Bank, and angel investors.

EatStreet was named the #2 “Food Delivery Startup to Watch” by StrategyEye. CEO Matt Howard was named to Madison Magazine’s 2013 “M List” honoring entrepreneurial excellence. In early 2014, EatStreet partnered with the National Restaurant Association as part of the association’s Extreme Digital Makeover promotion.

EatStreet’s Services

EatStreet offers services that connect restaurants and individual diners. For restaurants, EatStreet provides an online food ordering platform including access to an online “food court,” wireless tablets to receive orders, customer service, marketing solutions, custom-designed websites, Facebook ordering, mobile apps for iPhone and Android, and digital marketing services. In addition to providing these products and services, the company also operates its own “online food court” that lists all its restaurants on a single website. Based on a diner’s address, EatStreet.com provides a list of all restaurants in the area open for delivery or takeout. Diners can then filter the list by cuisine, cost, and other parameters. Additional information, including Yelp, Inc. reviews, hours, and delivery range is also available. From there, diners can order meals tailored to their exact specifications. EatStreet also offers diners exclusive specials and coupons through its rewards program.

EatStreet’s Charitable Endeavors

EatStreet donates 5% of its profits to community-based nonprofit and student organizations. When ordering, diners can choose to which of EatStreet’s partners they would like 5% of the profits from their order to be donated. EatStreet has many charitable partners, including Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life, Aids Network, Wisconsin Humane Society, Iowa Youth Writing Program, Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Camp Kesem at MSU, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, Eau Claire YMCA, and Virginia Red Cross.

In addition to the regular 5% donations, EatStreet also orchestrates “Give Back Weeks,” during which a large percentage of their weekly profits are donated to a partnering nonprofit. For example, EatStreet supported Hurricane Sandy relief by donating 100% of their weekly profits to the Red Cross in Richmond, VA, and Wilmington, NC.

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