Student-founded startup GiftAMeal announced another major partner in their innovative approach to feeding the hungry and promoting restaurant patronage. The Missouri Restaurant Association is teaming up with GiftAMeal to fight hunger through an app that allows users to interact with friends and provide meals to the hungry, by simply taking a picture of their food. Participating restaurants donate the cost of meals posted through the app to local food banks.
Andrew Glantz, BSBA’17, CEO of GiftAMeal, was incredibly positive about the implications of the partnership, saying, “Our partnership with the Missouri Restaurant Association is indicative of the large impact we are having for our participating restaurants,”said Andrew Glantz, BSBA’17, CEO of GiftAMeal. “The Missouri Restaurant Association will fuel our growth to support more restaurants, increasing the amount of meals we can provide to those in need.”
Jacob Mohrmann, BSBA’16, Chief Marketing Officer of GiftAMeal, told the Olin Blog, “The Missouri Restaurant Association broke the news with an article in their quarterly magazine. It explains how the app provides meals to the needy, and explains that GiftAMeal generates positive publicity and greater customer engagement for the restaurants involved.” Mohrmann added that the Missouri Restaurant Association also named GiftAMeal as an Endorsed Partner on their website.
Above: GiftAMeal CEO Andrew Glantz,BSBA’17, and CMO Jacob Mohrmann, BSBA’16, after winning the St. Louis regionals round of the RECESS pitch competition.
The student startup that has collected several top honors in competitions (including being named a top three student startup at SXSW) is yet again headed to the final round of a national competition.
Olin junior Andrew Glantz, CEO of recently rebranded GiftAMeal (formerly FoodShare), told the Olin blog that the company will head to Los Angeles to compete in the final round of the RECESS pitch competition and Capital Championship on June 8. The startup will compete for a chance at $250,000 after winning the St. Louis regionals round of the RECESS pitch competition.
The company also rebranded in April from FoodShare to GiftAMeal, to better reflect the startup’s buy-one-give-one model.
Award-winning startup co-founded by Andrew Glantz, BSBA’17, FoodShare has a new name: GiftAMeal. Here’s the reason why as explained by the founders on their website:
“We are excited to announce that we are re-branding FoodShare as GiftAMeal. Over the last few months, FoodShare has grown tremendously. This growth begs one major question: what’s next? As our team discussed the future of FoodShare, we realized that we wanted to further embrace our buy-one-give-one model. Under this guiding vision, we have decided to rebrand as GiftAMeal to more effectively communicate our mission to our users, restaurants, and community. We look forward to growing GiftAMeal into the future and continuing to make a dent in our nation’s hunger problem.”
Companies typically offer incentives directly to customers who refer friends. Google Apps, for instance, offers customers $15 for each new friend they recruit. And World of Warcraft, the video game, offered users a free month of gaming if they successfully influenced friends to buy a subscription.
Suppose, however, that the reward went to the friends—instead of the existing customers? New research shows marketers could win more customers because existing customers may value the boost in their reputation among friends more than a “selfish” financial incentive.
Olin’s Cynthia Cryder, associate professor of marketing, and coauthors examined how social dynamics change the outcomes of incentivized behavior.
The benefits that come from being generous to one’s friends substantially influence decisions in ways that are not obvious to everyone who designs incentive programs, Cryder said.
The researchers focused on customer referral programs in which companies offer incentives to customers who refer people in their social network to become new customers. To the best of their knowledge, the research is the first to investigate “anticipated reputational benefits as a driver of prosocial behavior in referral programs.”
Reputational rewards motivate people to behave generously because of their strong desire for social approval and the fundamental human need to maintain close personal relationships, Cryder said.
For one study in their research, Cryder and coauthors conducted a field experiment with the startup GiftAMeal. GiftAMeal partners with restaurants and encourages diners to take pictures of their meals and share them on social media. Then, GiftAMeal donates a meal to a food bank each time a customer shares on social media. (Andrew Glantz, BSBA ’17, founded the company while he was a student at Olin.)
The experiment tested different incentive structures on new customer conversions. GiftAMeal emailed 6,364 customers, asking them to refer their friends to download the app. The customers were randomly assigned to one of five experimental conditions:
control with no monetary incentive,
sender-benefiting (Customers received a $5 Amazon gift card for each friend who downloaded the app.),
recipient-benefiting (Referred friends received a $5 gift card if they downloaded the app.),
shared (Senders and their friends each received a $2.50 gift card if the friend downloaded the app.),
or donation (GiftAMeal donated $5 to the charity Feeding America for each download.).
Overall, the conversion rate was low in the study, which is typical for referral programs, the authors said. Nevertheless, they detected significant differences between experimental conditions. The conversion rate was marginally higher in the friend-benefiting condition relative to the sender-benefiting condition. Multiple follow-up studies confirmed this pattern.
Scarcity of friend-benefiting rewards
As part of the research, a research assistant searched for about 300 referral incentive programs online and categorized them based on who received the reward. Of the 351 referral incentive programs, 40.5% offered sender-benefiting rewards, while only 2.6% offered recipient-benefiting rewards. (Fifty-five percent offered rewards that the sender and recipient shared.)
Yet, Cryder’s research shows referrals that benefit one’s social connections are more effective than sender-benefiting referrals: Recipient-benefiting referrals offer reputational benefits to the sender while also directly incentivizing the friend to sign up.
“The preponderance of sender-benefiting referral incentives in the marketplace suggests these effects are not expected by marketers who design incentive schemes,” she said.
Part of a series of Q&As with Olin BSBA alumni. Today we hear from Andrew Glantz, BSBA ’17. Andrew founded GiftAMeal, a company that developed a mobile app that helps restaurants reach new audiences while empowering users to feed someone in need.
What are you doing for work now, and how did your Olin education impact your career?
I am working on growing a startup I founded while I was a student at WashU called GiftAMeal. GiftAMeal is a mobile app that helps provide a meal to someone in need each time a user takes a photo at a partner restaurant.
Restaurants pay a monthly subscription to be on the app for marketing, and then we cover all the costs of donations to local food banks to feed the hungry. My Olin education has massively assisted GiftAMeal’s growth. From entrepreneurship courses like The Hatchery to marketing to negotiations to organizational behavior, I constantly pull from knowledge learned in Olin.
Additionally, the professors have been amazing advisors of mine, and we have actually been able to run some marketing experiments on GiftAMeal led by WashU professors to get their expert analysis!
In addition to the valuable course content and professors, my fellow classmates were majorly impactful. Olin has so many smart, driven students that are also incredibly unique. From conversations in the dorms, over lunch, or in the BSBA lounge, I was constantly learning from my peers and seeking their feedback.
What Olin course, ‘defining moment’ or faculty influenced your life most, and why?
The course that influenced me the most was organizational behavior. I bounced around from finance to economics and strategy. After taking OB 360, I realized my passion laid at the intersection of business and psychology.
Learning how people and organizations operate fascinated me and directed how I formed my team, negotiated contracts, built sales pitches, secured investment and built sustainable practices for my business.
How do you stay engaged with Olin or your Olin classmates and friends?
I stay engaged with Olin in a variety of ways. I serve as an associate member of the Alumni Board of Governors, a member of the Olin LEAD Committee, and as a member of the Skandalaris Center Eliot Society Committee.
I also occasionally guest lecture at WashU, hire WashU interns, conduct research with WashU professors, work with students who do class projects on GiftAMeal and mentor WashU student entrepreneurs. I stay in touch with my friends who graduated alongside me through Facebook, LinkedIn, phone calls, texts and occasional visits to one another.
Why is business education important?
Business education is crucial to build a solid foundation for how to think through problem solving and the fundamental components of what is needed for an organization to succeed.
Regardless of the organization, knowledge of finance, accounting, marketing, organizational behavior and strategy is just so necessary in order to make yourself a value add and to be able to see the bigger picture.
Looking back, what advice would you give current Olin students?
Looking back, I would advise Olin students to write down a few key takeaways at the end of each semester that they had about each of their courses. Then, when you have graduated, you can occasionally look back to remind yourself of those learnings and have them act as sparks to help you remember important things you learned in your courses.
I would also say to enjoy college, balance having fun and academics and get involved doing something you are passionate about. Olin presents so many opportunities for students, and this is the time to experiment and learn what you like and don’t like and find out who you want to be as a person in your future career.
Three startups spawned on the WashU campus joined the latest class of 20 companies to receive Arch Grants worth $50,000 each. All three companies were launched through Olin’s Hatchery course, one of the longest-running entrepreneurship courses in the United States.
The three Arch Grants recipients established at WashU are:
Balto, founded by Marc Bernstein, BSBA ’15. The company markets software that uses artificial intelligence to improve the success rate of sales reps working in call centers.
CheckTheQ, founded by Adam Hoffman, BSBA ’17. The company has created a monitoring system that delivers real-time information on wait times at airport security to airport operations.
GiftAMeal, founded by Andrew Glantz, BSBA ’17. The company markets a mobile app that helps provide a meal to someone in need each time a user takes a photo on its app at a partner restaurant.
“The entrepreneurial drive of these young alums, and the progress they are making with their companies is really remarkable,” said Cliff Holekamp, professor of practice in entrepreneurship, who teaches the Hatchery course. “It wasn’t that long ago that these students were sharing their new business ideas with me in my office, now to see them win Arch Grants is very exciting and a meaningful validation of the traction they are making with their companies.”
The three companies, along with 17 others, learned they’d each receive the $50,000 grant on November 16 at the Arch Grants gala, according to a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Arch Grants organization does not take an ownership stake in the companies it supports, but does require them to operate for at least a year from St. Louis in order to qualify for the money.
The Olin Hatchery course involves student teams that work on a commercial or social venture idea proposed by a student or community entrepreneur. The students work to produce two presentations to a panel of judges and a complete business plan for the startup enterprise. The course is open to any WashU student who has taken the prerequisites.
Watch the Arch Grants video about all the 2018 grant recipients.
Pictured above: Arch Grant recipients Marc Bernstein, BSBA ’15, Adam Hoffman, BSBA ’17, and Andrew Glantz, BSBA ’17.