Tapingo CTO: We've still got major growth potential

Uri Oster Photo: PR

Tapingo cofounder Udi Oster, whose company offers mobile ordering and pickup on US campuses, talks about his company's $150 million acquisition by GrubHub.

"Since it was founded, Tapingo has focused on improving the shopping experience at on-campus cafes, restaurants and cashier-less stores. People expect to get these orders the minute they show up at the restaurant, whether it's coffee in the morning with or without a croissant, or even a bottle of water," Tapingo cofounder and CTO Udi Oster told "Globes" after the exit with the company today.

According to Oster, Tapingo is making sure that we will not have to wait in line and that the coffee will not get cold. The time equation is therefore critical for managing the business's operations - ensuring the coffee is hot and the croissant is ready exactly when the user comes to pick up his order. Allowing ordering ahead digitally, is what makes this type of time saving possible," he says. 

"Globes": What do you do at peak hours when everyone wants coffee at 8 in the morning?

Oster: "It's a big challenge, and you have to start managing the line early in the morning. We've been dealing with this for a long time. It's very high volume, in which a lot of people are consuming the service at a particular time."

Tapingo's original focus was students, because "in addition to liking students, in our ecosystem on campuses, we can get the vast majority of businesses operating within the campus to work with us," Oster says. 

Oster adds, "The challenge is making the platform valuable for diners and merchants alike. We have always continued growing, and we'll continue growing. On campuses, we're an important player and we still have room for growth. The vision is to bring the technology to everyone and every place where there is a high concentration of businesses. The Grubhub deal will enable us to realize the vision, among other things through a food delivery platform in the US. They have also focused on optimization of food deliveries. We can provide the takeaway and pickup solutions, and they can provide the deliveries solutions for campuses and in general."

Oster explains that in today's culture, "People don't want to wait; that's the assumption. Everyone wants to save time. Waiting in several lines is something that no one wants to do. Once you study the consumers' behavior, the experience not only saves time, but also facilitates more efficient and better adapted ordering for everyone."

Have you tried to go beyond food halls, for example equipment for students on campuses?

"In principle, yes, but these spheres are very different from food orders."

Tapingo, founded in 2012, now has 90 employees: 30 in Tel Aviv and 60 in the US. The company's entire business focus in on the US. The company has a development center in Israel that is about to expand substantially.

"Now, after the deal, as one company, we'll continue with the consumer after he or she finishes his or her academic studies," Oster says. "We'll start with consumers as students and continue with them throughout their lives. After college and three years with Tapingo, we'll continue with their food deliveries through Grubhub."

A large development center in Israel

Israeli engineers, take note: Tapingo's engineering site in Tel Aviv will be Grubhub's first tech-hub in Israel and is planned to grow Oster explains, "Grubhub saw a huge value in our tech and people, so we want to leave the center in Israel, and it will remain. At this stage, it will be in Tel Aviv, but with the announcement of expanded development in Israel, we're looking at other cities. Throughout the negotiations, the fact that there are strong people in Israel and Israel's global reputation as a startup nation and in other aspects increased motivation and enthusiasm for investing in the development center we've established here. For us, bringing a company like this to Israel and bringing a development center here and leaving ours here is important news. The talents we succeeded in bringing to Tapingo are part of this."

Oster says that Tapingo will remain a distinguishable organization within Grubhub. "
Tapingo is doing well and we will continue our work towards our shared vision along with investing in our engineering site in Israel They have hundreds of open jobs for engineers, and there will also be substantial recruiting in Israel. 

The market here is strong and the future looks promising but I'd like to mention our investors who supported us through the ups and downs of a startup, which got us to where we are now," he says.

Another major deal in the sector has been approved: Israeli company 10bis was sold for $157 million. The company making the acquisition, takeaway.com, which was founded in the Netherlands in 2000, has an estimated €2.7 billion value.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 26, 2018

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018


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Uri Oster Photo: PR
Uri Oster Photo: PR
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