Last Ingredients Added to NoWait Restaurant Apps-Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund - Carnegie Mellon University

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Last Ingredients Added to NoWait Restaurant Apps

Juggling a basket of bread and honey cinnamon butter atop a stack of appetizer plates at Texas Roadhouse in Monaca, venture capitalist Chris Olsen was simultaneously out of his element and perfectly in line with duties as an executive board member for an Oakland-based tech company.

Mr. Olsen, principal at Columbus, Ohio-based venture firm Drive Capital, knew he would have to take on his first stint in the service industry since May, when the firm lead a $10 million funding round for NoWait and he was appointed to the reservations app company’s board of directors.

However, when the time came for Mr. Olsen and fellow board member Sean Ammirati of South Side-based Birchmere Ventures to trade in suit jackets for black Texas Roadhouse T-shirts, the executives said anxieties faded and the much-needed lesson on NoWait’s restaurant host app saved the day.

“The really interesting question coming in was, ‘Will we be able to do this?’ But after this experience I can definitely say that our team built an app so simple that even VCs like us can do it,” said Mr. Ammirati.

For Mr. Ammirati, a Birchmere partner and adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University, and Mr. Olsen, a co-founder of Drive Capital and former inventor and professional squash player, it was hard to imagine a greater shift from the norm than being a host at Texas Roadhouse...Read more»

By: Deborah M. Todd