A Digital Menu Platform Revolutionizing Restaurant Gift Cards

Plus, Reverb.com CEO David Mandelbrot on the pod!


Heyyyo,

Hoping you all enjoyed the holiday fireworks and returned home with all your fingers and toes 😂 It’s a short week so I’ll jump right into it.

This week on the pod I had the CEO of Reverb.com, David Mandelbrot, who took over for Reverb’s founder David Kalt after its recent exit to Etsy. Prior to running Reverb, Mandelbrot was CEO of IndieGogo.

Ironically, the current CEO of indieGoGo is my next podcast guest.

David and I discussed a lot of topics, from Reverb’s latest product updates that notify users when it’s a sellers market to democratized investing and some of David’s passions outside of leading tech platforms.

Listen to my interview with David Mandelbrot here 👉 https://spoti.fi/3xtnvWW

Follow me on Twitter @kitun.

Scott


Every week I breakdown startup pitches with the added hook that you can invest whether you’re accredited or not (if you don't know what that means, click here).

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Company Bio

Uptown Network is changing the way restaurant menus are used.

It feels like it’s been a decade since I saw my first AR menu experience. It never really took off — then Covid happened. Now, I literally cannot imagine using a paper menu again and the potential for restaurants using tech seems limitless. Uptown Network is a digital menu that delivers a powerful platform for restaurants to pre-sell, offer special gift experiences and save money!


Meet the Founder

Watch my full interview with Uptown Network founder, here.

Jack Serfass is the co-founder and CEO of Uptown Network. Prior to this, Jack started and sold 2 companies (Bowstreet to IBM and Preferred Systems to CA), before that Jack was an early Board member at Nielsen ($NTRT). Jack also owned and managed a restaurant for 8 years and he holds two patents.

Jack is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. Almost irrespective of industry Jack looks for tech-driven ways to solve complicated problems and Uptown is no different. His experience as a Board member of a public company and navigating exits instills confidence — throw in nearly a decade running a family restaurant and you have to feel confident in his ability to lead Uptown Network to a favorable outcome.


Traction

  • Over 3,000,000 users saving 22M+ paper menus since May launch, eliminating ≈ $8M in printing costs.

  • Clients incl. Hilton®, Marriott, Hershey Entertainment, Hard Rock, & more. 

  • 28% Growth in MRR while serving an industry highly impacted by the pandemic. 

  • Menus viewed in all 50 states and 70+ countries

Uptown Network is already working with some of the biggest restaurant chains and brands in the world. In 2020, they had $1.03M in revenue (69% gross margin) and continue to grow MoM. Covid certainly helped shape demand and assuming I’m not alone in preferring QR menus, restaurants stand to save millions in wasted printing costs. As we all return to the world, I’m excited to see how Uptown’s tech is utilized to increase sales and drive future customer behaviors.


Terms & Takeaway

Invest in Uptown Network here 👉 https://bit.ly/3xbxyzz

Security Type: Preferred Equity
Pre-Money Valuation: $21,300,000
Investment Goal: $1,070,000
Raised (as of publishing): $201,413
Minimum Investment: $100

Here's what I like: If there was ever a chance for digital menus to finally take hold, this is it — tailwind is certainly favoring Uptown. Additionally, I really like Jack and the founding team in this business because it feels like an acquisition waiting to happen. Restaurants took it on the chin for the past year and this has the potential to really level up the dining experience.

Here's what I don't love: The most obvious opposition is that QR codes and AR menus already had their shot and flamed out fast. It turns out, people are still very tactile and scanning a paper menu is just easier than trying to pull up a menu on your phone or iPad… so, what’s so different this time around? Uptown is betting on digital natives. Additionally, there is a bit of a PE/PM feel here — meaning Uptown can signup every restaurant in the world, but if people do not utilize the platform in a way that actually drives sales the QR party is over again (and likely for good).

Who should invest and why: Uptown’s offering is unique in that you’re investing on the same terms as the institutional investors that have already committed over $1M. Meaning, this is a priced round, which at $21.3M pre-money, is a bit steep given 2020 revenue. But, like most SaaS companies, the upside is pretty big if adoption turns into conversion. So, if you like to bet on great, inventive founders this deal is for you.

Additionally, if you want to support restaurants… extra points for Uptown Network!

As always, startup investing is super high risk, anything can happen. So, don’t spend all your lunch money... 🍔 💸

Invest in Uptown Network here 👉 https://bit.ly/3xbxyzz

Questions? DM me on Twitter @kitun


Disclaimer: It goes without saying, but this information should not be constituted as financial advice, my investing opinions are my own and all diligence is the responsibility of each individual investor.