Though I had always been entrepreneurial, I didn’t really identify as an entrepreneur. I served as Vice President of a children’s charity when I was 17 and co-owned a non-profit store when I was 18, but didn’t see myself going full-time as an entrepreneur. While at a venture capital internship in the summer of 2014, I started to catch the startup bug as I saw the innovative solutions startups had to the world’s challenges. Yet, I still thought the startup route may be too risky for me.
Then, I had an idea. I was 19 years old, sitting in a restaurant munching on pizza with fellow intern Aidan Folbe, explaining how OpenTable worked. Then our conversation bounced to how people look for restaurants, and then to ways we could optimize restaurant recommendations. We started to build a restaurant recommendations app, and given our knowledge of how vast the hunger problem is, we pledged to donate a portion of our revenue to feed the hungry in our community.
As our conversation continued through the coming months, we started to talk about how millennials give back: the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, TOM’s Shoes, Warby Parker, and freerice.com. We asked ourselves, what if we could take advantage of millenial trends to incorporate giving into the core experience on the app rather than just a side element?
Our excitement built as we came to our idea: with each photo someone took at a restaurant, we would make a donation to give a meal to someone in need. We hypothesized that restaurants would pay to be a part of this program since they could be differentiated as socially conscious, which would drive restaurant traffic and increase customer loyalty. So, we pivoted our idea to build the app around the “take a photo to give a meal” concept, relaunched, and never looked back.
Though there have been lots of ups and downs in our journey, I am proud to have built a company that embodies a profits-with-purpose model that does well while doing good. Together with our users, partner restaurants, and food banks, we are fighting hunger in our community, one photo and one meal at a time.
Andrew Glantz, Founder and CEO
GiftAMeal seeks to empower people to fight hunger in their community while supporting local businesses.
We do this by partnering with restaurants to provide an easy way for their customers to make a difference.
Making community-oriented decisions to create a positive impact
Being transparent about our operations to do business in a way our partners can be proud of
Bringing together people and organizations to help achieve their goals
Inspiring people and organizations to do good by providing an easy way to make a difference
Openness to New Ideas
Accepting constructive criticism to continually
Embodying an uplifting outlook to create joy in peoples’ lives
4240 Duncan Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110