Hunger-fighting app GiftAMeal raises $500,000 in latest investment round

A mobile app allowing users to turn photos of their food into meals for those in need announced yesterday that it had raised $500,000 in a recent investment round. GiftAMeal, founded in 2015 by then-college student Andrew Glantz, is a St. Louis-based startup with a mission to feed the hungry through technology that gamifies social…

Photo courtesy GiftAMeal
Photo courtesy GiftAMeal

A mobile app allowing users to turn photos of their food into meals for those in need announced yesterday that it had raised $500,000 in a recent investment round.

GiftAMeal, founded in 2015 by then-college student Andrew Glantz, is a St. Louis-based startup with a mission to feed the hungry through technology that gamifies social media engagement and encourages patronage of participating restaurants. The startup has expanded to 250 restaurants across Missouri, Illinois and Michigan.

The premise of the GiftAMeal app is simple: each time a customer takes a photo of their order from a participating restaurant, GiftAMeal donates to a local food bank to provide a meal to someone in need. The program is funded by a monthly subscription paid by participating restaurants as a mix of marketing and giving back.

Currently, 250 restaurants (from St. Louis-area coffee shops like Espresso Yourself Café to the regional roast beef fast food chain Lion’s Choice) are involved, with over 650,000 meals provided so far.

The newly-announced funding comes from a mix of new and returning angel investors – as well as a non-dilutive $100,000 Growth Grant from the Arch Grants organization in St. Louis. 

GiftAMeal previously received a $50,000 grant from Arch Grants in 2018 in exchange for headquartering its business in St. Louis for at least one year. The Growth Grants Program was launched in 2021 to support high-performing Arch Grants portfolio companies as they grow and scale their businesses in the St. Louis region. Growth Grants funds must be matched by other investment funding and requires the startup to commit to maintaining and growing operations in St. Louis for at least two years.

Emily Lohse-Busch, Executive Director of Arch Grants, commended GiftAMeal’s progress, “GiftAMeal’s growth speaks for itself. They’ve shown tremendous perseverance, making it through a pandemic that hit both restaurants and the food-insecure hard. The Arch Grants team and judges saw the potential for GiftAMeal to become a nationwide company and we are thrilled to continue to assist in their development with a Growth Grant.”

For GiftAMeal, the money will fuel aggressive hiring as the company continues to grow, from regional sales staff all the way to a newly-created Chief Growth Officer position.

“Now that we’ve proven that our program can work in St. Louis for many different restaurants, I am excited to tackle the next stages of our journey as we expand into new cities, develop new sources of value for partner restaurants, and create partnerships with large companies across the restaurant industry. Ultimately, all of these will help us achieve our goal of providing millions of meals to those in need, putting a true dent in hunger in our communities,” said Glantz, founder & CEO of GiftAMeal.

 

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