It has become quite common to hear the words “GiftAMeal” and “winner” in the same sentence.
The GiftAMeal team has been on a roll since launching their social impact startup in 2014. The mobile app (formerly FoodShare), which funds a donated meal to the hungry with the snap of a photo, has locked in multiple victories at several local and national competitions, such as being named a Top 3 Student Startup at SXSW.
And now, they have added yet another accolade to the list this month with their participation in RECESS, a national competition for student-founded startups.
Their journey through the RECESS competition began here in St. Louis, where they competed against fellow Washington University teams in a pitch competition. After winning that round, they participated in the regional semi-finals pitch competition, facing the winning teams from St. Louis University and Webster University, and in proper GiftAMeal fashion, they won that round, too. Unprompted, Andrew Glantz, CEO and co-founder of GiftAMeal, took the opportunity to praise his opponents, commenting, “It was amazing to hear all of the ideas that other students were working on…We were really impressed by their companies.” This confident humility is their seeming cornerstone. In light of their repeated successes, their modesty never fades; instead, their hustle sharpens.
After winning the regional semi-finals, Glantz was flown out to LA for the national semi-finals, where he competed against fellow regional semi-finalists from Colorado University Boulder, University of California Irvine, Boston College, University of Pennsylvania, and Northwestern University, in addition to four wildcard semi-finalists from Harvard University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Brigham Young University, and University of Pennsylvania.
The finals spanned two days, June 8-9. On the first day, each of the ten semi-finalists set up booths for networking. The judges walked around to hear the teams’ elevator pitches and then selected three team finalists to pitch on June 9.
Although GiftAMeal was not selected as one of the three finalists, they were so well received by their peers that they won the Audience Choice Award. This earned them two round-trip flights anywhere in the US by Southwest Airlines. “This will be very helpful to us if we need to fly to a chain restaurant’s corporate office to pitch to them,” Glantz explained.
GiftAMeal also won the Top Explainer Video Award at RECESS for this marketing video. This won them $2,500 in Fiverr credit, which they will use towards their marketing and design efforts.
What’s next for the rockstar team? Glantz says, “Though our competition wins have been very exciting, we have remained focused on building up the core of our business. Now that we have 95 St. Louis partner restaurants, our next step is ensuring that we are delivering value to them, and then expanding to new markets. In a startup, things move quickly. I am eager to see what challenges and progress await us.”
Like I said, the hustle never wanes.
RECESS was created to inspire and support next generation visionaries who will shape the future. It creates exclusive experiences for millennials & Gen Z – from nationwide entrepreneurial pitch competitions to concerts by the hottest acts in music. The company’s flagship event, the RECESS Music + Ideas Festival, is the only nationwide college campus tour that unites the brightest young minds with successful entrepreneurs through a bracket-format student startup pitch competition and music festival. More than 100,000 student participants on 55 campuses nationwide, including Cornell, New York University and the University of Pennsylvania, have participated in previous RECESS events. Previous RECESS student entrepreneurs have gone on to raise aggregate seed funding of over $12.5 million from investors, such as Tim Draper, Mark Cuban, Marc Benioff and others.
RECESS was named one of Fast Company’s ‘Most Innovative Live Events Companies of 2016’ and has worked with world-leading brands, such as L’Oreal Paris, Microsoft, IBM and LinkedIn.
For more info visit www.RECESS.is