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I’ve written about NY-based online ordering site GoMobo several times including calling them a product that will change 2008. GoMobo provides a way to place an order using your mobile phone at a number of restaurants and then the food will be ready for you when you arrive. You pay via credit card through GoMobo so there is no financial transaction when you pick up your meal. The best part of GoMobo is avoiding the lines – for example, yesterday here in San Francisco I saw a line 20 deep at the Subway next to the hotel. Had the Subway location been using GoMobo, people could have sent their orders via mobile and not have had to wait on line at the store – their food would have been ready.
Yesterday CEO Noah Glass sent out an email that the company has changed their name to OLO. The GoMobo site will continue as their destination site for people to order food at fast-food establishments and restaurants that are part of the OLO program. Glass noted that there was some confusion regarding their name as mobile ordering is just small fraction of their overall service offering.
Glass also shared some recent stats on the business:
- Doubled users in the last 90 days
- 10x Monthly Transaction Volume in the last 12 months
- $1,000+ in Incremental Daily Sales for our top clients
They have also deployed their online ordering service with burger joint Five Guys across the U.S. I like what OLO offers because they provide real, timesaving benefits and with mobile so hot, they are well positioned to take advantage of the market as more restaurants also want to capitalize on the mobile device growth explosion.
Five… Five Dollar… Five Dollar Footlong – that horrible commercial jingle has now hit the online and mobile scene. NY-based GoMobo has partnered with Subway to provide online ordering. The program is called Subway Now and basically allows you to skip the line. Rather than standing in line waiting for your footlong, you order online with GoMobo and the sandwich will be waiting for you when you arrive. Payment is also handled on the GoMobo side so you don’t even have to wait in line to pay. What I like about the idea is that I might get the sandwich I actually want, the way I want it.
Subway Now launches on Monday in New York City and my guess is that if the program works, Subway will do a nationwide rollout. The advertising campaign for Subway Now will rollout on Monday with targeted online ads, inside subway (the train) ads and a "massive" online buy. American Express is the credit card sponsor of the program and will offer a free $5 footlong to anyone using an AMEX card.
We will see more partnerships like the one above this year as people try to "save" as much time as they can. Why wait in a line for a sandwich when it can be ordered to your liking and picked up when you want. Everyone benefits in the transaction: you save time, the eatery potentially adds incremental revenue and GoMobo takes a cut of the sale.
NY-based GoMobo recently signed a test partnership with the WaWa chain of convenience stores. WaWa is similar to BP, QT and 7-11. We’ve written about GoMobo before including naming them as one of three products that will change 2008. The GoMobo-WaWa test has taken place in the Pennsylvania cities of Malvern, Media and Philadelphia and they plan to expand the test to four additional cities in Pennsylvania shortly. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but GoMobo did share that their typical fee is 10% of all orders.
Howard Stoeckel, WaWa’s CEO, said testing online and text ordering is part of an initiative to increase the frequency with which customers buy deli foods and the amount they spend while doing so. The effort also entails a “Dinner Deals” promotion that discounts featured foods, he indicated.
So the next time you want a slushy or a large pop, you might just try ordering on your mobile on your way there. It will be interesting to see how this affects sales. I find in the 7-11, I always pick up something extra as I wander the store – will these impulse purchases be eliminated if the customer orders their hot dog and coke before they get to the store and it’s waiting near the register for them?
We review tons of products and services on CN, over 1,000 in the past year. Most are good to very good, but some just wow us when we check them out. I’d like to share three that have come across our radar in the last month that are game changers and should be very, very successful — and two of them are NY-based, the other calls Boston home.
Part of what will lead to the success is the distribution deals each one has already signed. As Marc Andreessen has said many times, distribution is the key. I am interested in your opinions on the companies listed below – leave your thoughts in the comments.
We took a look at GoMobo last month and also posted their demo video from the NY Tech Meetup. The basic idea with GoMobo is that you can order food from a fast-food joint or restaurant using your mobile for takeway. What this does is save you the time from standing in line. And we predicted 2008 would be the year of the time-saver apps.
Currently the service area is mainly NYC but they have expansion plans in 2008. Their distribution comes from the chains as a point of differentiation which includes Dunkin Donuts, Subway, Papa Johns, etc. Imagine punching into your phone that you want a large Milky Way hot chocolate, corn muffin and a bag of munchkins and having it ready when you arrive.
Think about the time saved from waiting on a line at lunchtime – especially for a person on an hour lunch break. GoMobo estimates the time saved by using their app is over 284 days, I don’t know how they calculated it but even if it’s just 5 minutes each trip, it can add up quickly.
And more importantly, outside of Manhattan, think about the possibilities using mobile in your car – no waiting on a drivethru lane, you just drive directly up to the pickup window at the moment you desire.
The service is free for consumers and GoMobo generates a percentage of the order price. The food establishment doesn’t care because a good percentage of this business will be incremental sales.
Aviary is the newest of the apps that we believe will change 2008. The demo of their first app is just amazing. Aviary is a suite of tools targeting the artist community. It’s an actual competitor to Photoshop and Illustrator online. Of the 80-100 demos at the NY Tech Meetup I’ve seen in the last year, this was the first one to receive massive noise and excitement after the demo.
Sure, there are other products like Skitch which are great but appeal to more of the basic graphic needs. I haven’t seen any other product that takes the perspective of what an artist needs and moves it online. The distribution angle for Aviary is to their core group of potential users, the artists. They have tied into their core business, worth1000 to grow excitement and buzz.
The unique angle and game changer for Aviary is in how it deals with copyright and royalties. Since the application is built for artists who make a living at selling their works, it makes sense that the copyright and royalty piece be part of the application. Each piece of the final work is tagged from the source files. Maybe this will help issues like the one that blew up last year with Richter Scales usage of photos. I wouldn’t be surprised if Aviary starts receiving acquisition offers soon.
Yesterday I met with Flixwagon VP Marketing Sarig Reichert and VP R&D Roy Ginat. Flixwagon is based in Israel and their goal is to make video sharing less cumbersome. If we look at the videos from the NY Tech Meetup, I shoot them, download them, compress them in Windows Movie Maker, upload them and then finally embed them into a post. Flixwagon changes that by shooting live video on your mobile device and having it appear on your blog immediately in real-time. Sarig says that they are empowering a revolution.
You get the full impact of the possibilities when Roy walked outside the coffee shop into Rockfeller Center and began shooting live video while Sarig and I watched it on the laptop. Imagine the parent who was away on business while the child was playing in a soccer championship. The parent could watch the game live from another location. The possibilities are endless.
Their distribution will come from partnerships with major brands. They hosted MTV’s Choose Or Lose special for the Super Tuesday primaries this week in which 51 live streamers were in every state in the nation sending back live video to the MTV Web site and on the TRL tv show.
Soon you will be able to ping Twitter when you are broadcasting and they are working on scheduling and an upload function to YouTube once the live version has completed.
Another company in this space is Qik. Qik has been getting major buzz recently thanks to webulebrity Robert Scoble and his use of the application. I can’t speak to the differences as my phone currently does not handle mobile video, but Sarig says both companies are creating a market and he likes what they are doing. Saris is proud of their video capture quality and the system is built to handle massive traffic.
Once video on mobile devices becomes a standard, Flixwagon is set for success. Photos are so 2005. This is where Yahoo Live should be.
Will mobile food ordering become the newest way that we use our mobile devices? If mobile food ordering works, it could be a huge time saver. Instead of waiting in line to order and hoping that the clerk gets your order right, you just zap it over to the establishment using your mobile and then pick up your order when you arrive. For those on lunch breaks that are timed, this could be a way to get back precious minutes. We’ve also seen national pizza chains Pizza Hut and Papa John’s enter the mobile order space in the last month.
Here in NYC, I’ve been using SeamlessWeb a good bit and back in Atlanta I found myself using CampusFood regularly though neither one offers a mobile option. I spoke with two companies in the mobile food space who have different approaches: GetQuik and GoMobo. Here are my notes from both conversations:
I spoke with CEO Ken Ryu about GetQuik to learn more about how they are solving the mobile food ordering problem. The service took three months to build and launched in August 2007. They are currently driving $1 million in annual revenue. The service is currently available in the San Francisco area and they are looking to expand outside the bay area soon. The team is 4 people in the U.S. and 4 more in China for development; the company has some angel funding and is looking at raising a round this year.
GetQuik works for take-out and delivery and has 150 restaurants in the system currently. Their differentiator is in the architecture which allows for very high rapid transactions.
The customer can pay with a credit card or PayPal and the merchant pays a small percentage to GetQuik. Ryu says that the industry is still using fax machines to handle inbound orders and that’s how GetQuik works but there is a slow movement to XML directly into point-of-sale systems (POS) and that will revolutionize the industry.
Ryu believes that their interface is better than a "sms favorites" system as it offers more options and flexibility and that most people don’t want to have to remember special codes just to place an order.
I first came across NY-based GoMobo when they presented at the NY Tech Meetup earlier this month (check out their demo). GoMobo has actually been live since mid-2005, has 10 employees, raised $2 million in funding and currently has 200 locations in their system. GoMobo is going after the large chains along with the smaller establishments.
GoMobo CEO Noah Glass told me that some believe that remote ordering could total 25% in the next ten years. GoMobo has been featured on shows including Good Morning America and listed in the Wall Street Journal. They are currently operating in NYC but have plans to expand to the major cities on the east coast this year.
Their technology is what makes them different – it works on a "Go Time" method – when you place your order they can tell where you are and when to send the order to the location so that it’s hot and ready for you when you arrive. They are also working on some new technologies which Glass asked me not to write about yet.
I am very excited about what GoMobo is offering – it seems a bit ahead of its time but could be the big winner in this space if they can continue to gain distribution.
Will mobile food ordering work in the U.S.? Sure, if two criteria are met: time saving and getting the order right. If customers have to bitch and moan at pickup because the order isn’t right, then it will fail miserably.
Something to think about: Imagine being on a McDonalds drive thru with 10 cars ahead of you, a sign says text your order to xxx and then you can bypass the line – how much time would that save? I always find waiting in drive thru lines to be even more frustrating than waiting inside.
Tonight was the January 2008 edition of the NY Tech Meetup. Six companies took to the stage, my comments and videos are below. I am quite disappointed that neither leader Scott nor his assistant replied either here on CN or in the mailing list to the ideas I raised. Oh well I guess. I’ve decided to provide my raw notes and immediate feedback on each startup that presented.
GoMobo lets you place an order for a fastfood joint you like online or by text message so that you can avoid the line and go directly to the pickup point. It’s a good idea, and the demo looked good but will it really save that much time? I just know that when I get to Dunkin Donuts to pick up the coffee that I just ordered, that they won’t have it ready, it will be in the wrong place, etc. They currently have 200 locations in NYC in the system and are in 8 other cities. Establishments are reporting a 5% uptick in incremental revenue. I am not sure it’s incremental since I would go to the place anyway and wait on line. This demo left me wanting to learn more, I will try to get a real interview with the team later this week.
I can’t comment on TagItOn because I have no idea what it does. The demo left me wondering what it is, does and why it’s alive. It’s not tags for content, I guess it’s like “tag you’re it”. Apparently you can friend people in different degrees and then do things with them. Other than that, your guess is as good as mine. They really need to work on this demo before they show it ever again.
You should know Gilt by now, they’ve had several posts on Silicon Alley Insider :) Founder Alexis Maybank presented the app by basically showing a bunch of half-naked women in lingerie and I guess they are all at sale prices (no, not the women). It’s all short-term sales of clothing and accessories from top designers. Basically online closeout sales. Site is kind of ugly. They have 3-4 sales a week and are adding mens clothing soon. Unfortunately Scott ended their demo at the 3:30 mark so I don’t have many more comments about it. Seems like it could work pretty well. Perhaps my stylish friend Patricia could provide more insight into Gilt Groupe. If you want a login – go to “www.giltgroupe.com/vip/nymeetup”
iminlikewithyou sure gets a lot of love from the Tech Meetup – perhaps the most I’ve seen to-date. They presented several months ago and “got away” with a flash demo and tonight they got to pimp both iminlikewithyou and their new game Tetris Blockles. I wish I could remember the name of the game that was the same as this back in 2000. I think it was on AOL but Blockles is basically a multi-player tetris. It’s very good looking. You get gems which give you superpowers and you can screw with your opponents. It’s not a new concept at all, but the iminlikewithyou crowd will eat it up like a hot Krispy Kreme. Dude from the service says current average time on site is 45 mins per day per player. Dude uses a lot of curse words for cheap crowd cheers.
Here’s the idea. You have a reservation at your favorite top-of-the-line, you ain’t getting it if you ain’t Jason Calacanis kind of place. But you can’t make it. Rather than call the place and tell them you can’t make it, you can slap your reservation up on TableXchange and make money on it! This Hannah Montana! The audience immediately asked why you couldn’t just make reservations all over town and put them on the site. I already signed up an offshore team to start making reservations in the morning. I think the idea is a good one, the execution will be the downfall of the app. It just sets itself up for abuse.
Not really sure how to explain USFirst but it’s a site that helps kids get the most out of technology. They put on various competitions — the one they showed us was from the Georgia Dome with 27,000 kids and robot technology. The group was founded by the guy who developed the Segway. Check out the video to get more about the company. They are looking for people to participate – either in time or financially.
Update: Hank Williams has a review of the evening’s demos as well.