EatStreet, a popular food-ordering company, is adding delivery service to its app after acquiring Philadelphia-based startup Zoomer.
This move by the Madison-based company follows a $15 million funding round in September; this brings total investments to nearly $40 million.
“We definitely want to take over the world of food delivery,” said EatStreet CEO Matt Howard. “We’re really excited to have this under our belts.”
Before the recent acquisition, EatStreet focused mainly on local food-ordering, acting as the “middleman” between diners and local restaurants.
But now, the company is expanding its scope to include delivery in order to control the entire food-ordering process, Howard says.
“We were intrigued by delivery, by owning the process from start to finish,” he told WisBusiness.com. “It was the best thing for our diners to get the ‘number one’ experience.”
The company, initially called BadgerBites, was started by Howard in the UW-Madison dorms in 2010 with the simple mission of making it easier for UW-Madison students to order from local restaurants.
It graduated from gener8tor’s startup accelerator program in 2012, and has since secured investment from Cornerstone Opportunity Partners of Chicago, CSA Partners of Milwaukee, Great Oaks Venture Capital of New York and others.
“We’re obsessed with ensuring the food-ordering experience is effortless for customers,” Howard said. “We’ve built a customer-driven delivery strategy and bringing on board the talented Zoomer workforce allows us to own the process from the moment of hunger to the time the food arrives.”
Now, the app is used in more than 250 cities throughout 43 states, connecting users with over 15,000 different restaurants.
Adding Zoomer will allow the company to “give customers a better experience” with more accurate estimated time of arrivals and driver tracking, Howard says. It will also let it expand services to many new restaurants that might not have delivery drivers of their own, and improve delivery speeds overall.
With this purchase, which includes restaurant contracts, EatStreet will go from 150 employees to about 1,200. Over 1,000 of those new employees will be drivers; they will go from being contractors, like Uber drivers, to being full employees with benefits such as health insurance.
“We felt the need to make drivers employees,” Howard said. “Ultimately it’s a scary number, but we want drivers to be part of EatStreet. Drivers are critical to a good customer experience.”
EatStreet will open a field office in Philadelphia to support its expanded network. Howard says the company is out of the fundraising stages for now, but more acquisitions are a definite possibility.
“We are expanding as fast and as efficiently as we can,” he said. “Our goal is a lofty one, and we have a lot to do.”
As the company continues to grow, Howard insists it hasn’t lost its Wisconsin roots.
“We are proud to be based here, and proud to have a largely Wisconsin staff,” he said.