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base of total users and the amount that we would need to spend to increase the brand awareness was not worth it.
[Last year] we hired an expert in brand building from Duluth Trading Co, [Suzanne Harms]. We decided to invest a large portion of our marketing budget into [ads and marketing campaigns], realizing that having a strong brand will increase order frequency and basket sizes long-term.
X: Your company’s partial acquisition of Zoomer earlier this year increased EatStreet’s headcount significantly, to approximately 1,000 employees—though only 150 are considered full-time. Do you still consider EatStreet to be a startup?
X: What would it take for that to no longer be the case? Is it a matter of hiring additional employees, growing revenue, more time passing by, or what?
AW: It really depends on the definition, [but] we’ll always be a startup in my mind. It’s going to be difficult for me to forget those nights where we were up all night drinking beer, eating pizza, listening to Kanye West, trying to get the website to work—those will be ingrained in my mind forever.
But also, we’re going to take the culture of being scrappy, being the underdog, and we’re going to apply that wherever we go. We have a lot of big competitors, [so] it’s not that hard to cultivate the underdog mentality that startups often have.
Even though we have a large number of employees, the underdog mentality is not likely to change. When the policies that we put in place to maintain the culture of being small, being scrappy … when those policies [can no longer] be scaled to the number of employees that we have, then maybe that’s when we’ll say we’re not a startup anymore.