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Tech Cocktail - Mike Evens and Matt Maloney
Benjamin J. Higginbotham

Technology Evangelist went to Tech Cocktail 2006 in Chicago, IL to interview some of the interesting people attending. Mike Evens and Matt Maloney are the founders of Around 2 years ago, Mike and Matt were working at a major Internet company in Chicago. They were just sick of ordering from <insert restaurant name here> and frustrated that one of the original promises of the Internet, ''Find out who delivers to you'' was still unfulfilled. It wasn't a eureka moment, it was more disbelief that no one had done this before. Matt started with,'' Grub '' and Mike replied, '' Hub. ''


Full transcript after the jump

What brings you to Tech Cocktail?
Mike: We're the owners of Grubhub is a web site where people can to find all the restaurants that deliver to their address

Matt: Yeah, all you do is you enter your address on the web site and we show you all the menus and coupons from all the restaurants that deliver to that location. It's totally free for users because we use lead generation for delivering restaurants. We try to promote their business more.

How has your demo gone at Tech Cocktail?
It's been going pretty good. We've been a little bit flaky on the Internet connection, but you know, pretty good.

Matt: The network keeps going down because everybody's using it. Our voices are basically shot now just from talking to all these people. We're yelling right now because of the loud music.

How has the crowd been at Tech Cocktail?
We've actually both spent a lot of time traveling back to San Francisco over the last few months, and the excitement that you get and the technology people there is kinda present here tonight. It's similar to what I experienced a little bit in Boston as well. It's just, there's been a lot of excitement about startup companies here in Chicago. It's kinda nice to see that here in the midwest.

Matt: Yeah it's great to have this kind of community spirit because you're just talking to people, people are interested in what we're doing and we tell them. And then... what are you doing? And they're all doing something cool like I learned about 3 or 4 more businesses that I hadn't heard of before just from this.

What are your roles in the business?
Co-founders. We started it together and we built it from until we actually had to hire more people. We had to hire graphics people because we're terrible artists. We had to hire someone to deal with the customers better because we're more developers than customer service people.

What inspired you to start GrubHub?
A couple of things. There was a push and a pull. The push was I didn't like working for the man and I wanted to start my own business. The pull was I was sitting at home and thinking I would really like to know who delivers to me. Matt talked a lot about the whole, the need that restaurants have to get customers to order more delivery and we said, well these things work together. It started out that way, moved into a couple of late night programming sessions and before you knew it, both of us are pretending to be business people running business. Oh, I shouldn't say that on tape. [laughing]

Matt: When we started it was more of a hobby, we weren't charging for it. It was kinda like that initial Internet promise of finding all the restaurants that deliver to you, you know you've heard it two or three times. Even Google local said something about it at one point. You can't do it without actually finding out the delivery areas for all the restaurants that deliver. So we just say screw it, lets just do that. We did it and we did the search and then we realized how to monetize that traffic as time went on. Most of the listings on our web site are free. We don't get paid for a lot of the orders that are put on the web site, and that's fine because at least there's a place where people can find out who delivers to them.

What is a typical customer for you?
Our best customer is like a micro chain, it's a restaurant owner that owns three or four locations. They might do pizza, they might do Mediterranean food, they might do sandwiches but it's your basic customer who delivers to a pretty large area, maybe goes into late night. That's our best customer.

Matt: Yeah. We kinda define our customers as restaurants because that's who pays us. In terms of users it kinda goes across the spectrum. I mean, you have the single people who are just out of college and they just order all the time. And then you have the single working people and the coupled working people. Then you have the people who have kids. We've done demographic studies on who actually uses GrubHub and there's no way to kinda define it as one segment. You just have to say anyone who orders food. I mean, that's... everyone.

How do people find out about GrubHub?
Well then that's the question, isn't it? That's what we've been spending 24/7 trying to figure out. How are we going to get the name GrubHub out in to the consumers mind? So we do ads on the on the Mass Transport - Mass Transportation Systems here in Chicago. We do ads in the back of the Time Out Chicago magazine. Internet advertising, search engine optimization, whatever you can think of. Press releases, we've got a couple of stories in newspapers. Whatever we can do to get our name in the user setting.

How has business been for you?
Yeah, we're kinda, basically doubling every 60 days at this point. Which is nice.

Matt: We just opened up our San Francisco and New York City markets. We did Milwaukee mid last year just to kinda see if we could do a second market. So Milwaukee's out there. We're doing Boston, Seattle, DC right now and we want to do Minneapolis. Yeah, hopefully soon. I'm still not convinced. I think Minneapolis is a good market for us.


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» GrubHub Food Delivery Search Expanding from Somewhat Frank
Even with a drawer full of take-out menus finding places to order food can sometimes be a tough task., a Chicago-based food delivery and menu startup, looks to help you find a place to order food and has been making some moves to improve. P... [Read More]

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