As part of its work highlighting innovators in the dynamic tech sector here in Nebraska and the region more broadly, the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center is reaching out to regional tech leaders to ask them a few questions about their work, how they got started, and where they see their company headed in the future. Today we are featuring Andrew Glantz and his company GiftAMeal, an app that aims to “fight hunger with photos.” Users take a photo of their meal using GiftAMeal’s app at a partner restaurant, and GiftAMeal helps provide a meal to neighbor in need through a local food pantry.
Tell us a little about GiftAMeal and the work that you do.
I founded GiftAMeal as a way to support local food banks and local restaurants. I realized that many individuals choose to support businesses based on values, but with restaurants incentives were mainly financial (coupons/discounts). With GiftAMeal, it'd be an easy way for restaurants to engage guests in a free giveback experience to boost satisfaction while also making a social impact.
What led you to found GiftAMeal?
I put my savings into the company, hired an app developer, and went up and down the street pitching restaurants to get the first few onboard.
What early barriers did you face?
It was really challenging to get the initial restaurants onboard before we had proof of concept since restaurant owners are insanely busy.
What is the business climate like for tech companies in the Midwest?
The startup scene in the Midwest has grown immensely over the last 5 years and it's a super supportive ecosystem.
What advantages or challenges does the Midwest pose for a tech firm?
The Midwest has the advantage of generally being lower cost and having a great ecosystem. The challenge is access to funding.
Where do you see GiftAMeal heading over the next five to ten years?
We hope to scale GiftAMeal nationally across over 20,000 restaurants providing over a million meals to those in need annually!