Appetize is a social dining application that allows people to host events, meet new people and earn money while doing it! Think Airbnb, but for dining! It was founded by three Trinity College students, Robin Fitzpatrick , Padraic Rowley and Glen Byrne. Robin discovered social dining while working in Austin, Texas, and Padraic and Glen saw the potential of social dining while working together in their students’ union.
Fail, fail again fail better (Samuel Beckett)
Getting Appetize off the ground was a combination of determination and some important failures. The team believed in the idea and felt that the dining industry could be changed for the better, letting people enjoy dining more socially and with a healthier offering. Though unsuccessful in gaining full admittance into the Trinity Launchbox program, we bootstrapped the business. This meant that we could participate in the program, but we did not receive funding, and were each working full-time whilst getting Appetize off the ground. Early on we found success. We were accepted into the NDRC Pre-Acceleration Program, which is the number one accelerator program in Europe, and number two in the world.
Still aiming to achieve, we pitched the idea to Blackstone Launchpad, this time for a spot to attend the Techstars & Blackstone program in New York City. We were selected for the spot along with fellow Trinity-founded company, Zorin OS.
Techstars & Blackstone
The event was hugely beneficial to the company. The program covered crucial elements for startups at any stage, from marketing to the importance of diversity in recruitment. Some of the highlights included Ryan Kuder on marketing - “‘Lean’ in startups is not about being cheap! It’s about cutting the fat and going to the core of what produces value”. Other talks included Finance 101, which gave an insightful overview of what investors are looking for particularly early on.
Clement Cazalot was one of our mentors during the program. His perspective and advice around building Appetize really changed how we looked at the company and how to ultimately achieve success.
Away from the programs center in Galvanize, Blackstone held an event in their new ‘innovation center’. It was humbling meeting Amy Stursberg and Steve Schwarzman, who built Blackstone into the multi-billion dollar company that it is today. They both discussed their experiences, which were fascinating, to say the least.
The two-day event aimed to give young entrepreneurs the tools and knowledge to build businesses that were engaged, socially-aware and successful. Everyone in Blackstone and Techstars worked hard to create the event and it truly was something to remember.