Textaurant wins $10K from angel Dave McClure’s Twilio fund

Textaurant wins $10K from angel Dave McClure’s Twilio fund

Founded: 2009
Headquarters: Waltham
Web: www.textaurant.com
Email: josh@textaurant.com
Phone: 617-851-8204 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              617-851-8204      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Employees: 3
The pitch: $50,000 to $100,000 in funding for testing at additional sites, and marketing, branding, sales and product development.

Waiting in line hasn’t seen much in the way of innovation since the birth of the plastic light-up buzzer thing some restaurants give you. Textaurant is trying to change that.

While waiting for a table at the Cheesecake Factory in the Burlington Mall, the three-person startup’s president, Josh Bob, received a text message, and a startup was born. You could leverage text to help people make better use of their time.

“A and B came together into ‘Eureka,’ ” Bob said.

A restaurant or other service can enter a customer’s name and mobile phone number into the web application, and the customer goes about their other business, such as shopping. The application then performs a calculation to send users a text message when whatever they’re waiting for is ready, so the user can return at the right moment. Over time, as the restaurant’s database of customer information grows, Bob said the quick calculation would be developed into an algorithm for determining the right time for an alert.

“We want to give users the opportunity to leave the area, do whatever they want and reclaim their time,” Bob said.  

Textaurant is targeting businesses whose services tend to take more than 45 minutes — getting a table at a restaurant, getting a car fixed, getting a prescription filled, getting a license renewed.

“Most people are willing to wait about a half hour pretty patiently,” Bob said.

The startup plans to test its service over the winter at the Asgard Irish Pub and Restaurant in Central Square, Cambridge. Textaurant will provide the pub with a computer on which it can use the Textaurant service. In addition to providing Textaurant with the metrics that are a product of using the service, the Asgard staff will provide weekly feedback on how the service is working.

Textaurant says its service could allow restaurants and other businesses not only to send alerts but to maintain a dialogue with customers before, during and after their visit.

The Waltham-based startup has three employees: Bob, formerly of email marketing firm e-Dialog Inc.; vice president of technology Nathan Ray; and vice president of sales Brendan McCorkle.
Bob started working on the idea in 2006 but formally launched this year. 

The company plans to make money by charging the businesses who send the service alerts to their customers. It also plans to sell marketing information, and the ability to send marketing texts to customers. So far, Textaurant is running on friends and family funding, but it’s also looking for $50,000 to $100,000 in funding under the right conditions, Bob said.

“We’d be open to funding, provided it came with someone with experience in the software-as-a-service or the restaurant industries,” Bob said.

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