TwentyTables is a socially conscious startup serving $6 lunches to consumers, and providing free meals to the hungry or food-insecure.

3Advance developed the cloud infrastructure and mobile marketplace that connects consumers with restaurants and food-trucks.

1st

STARTUP WINNER
SXSW 2019

15,000

MEALS DONATED
To Food Charities

4.5+

APP RATING
iOS & Android

1st

STARTUP WINNER
SXSW 2019

15,000

MEALS DONATED
To Food Charities

4.5+

APP RATING
iOS & Android

After a successful career as a DC lawyer, Alex Cohen finally took the plunge. His dream was to create a Community of Food – a meal ordering service that could also spread social good.

With a background in group purchasing, he realized the potential for low-cost food pricing that works for all sides of the market, including partner food charities that would be supported through platform donations. Alex needed a development team that supported his vision, and had the ability to pull off a mammoth task in short order. He was sent to Paul at 3Advance.

The restaurant ordering market was already saturated, though thankfully the big players (Amazon, Uber Eats) are more concerned with the delivery aspect. That said, the closest price-point competitor had infiltrated DC so time was of the essence. It was important we all understood the reasons why this competitor was struggling for a foothold in the city – most of all, the experience.

TwentyTables is a two-sided marketplace, meaning that this app was to be used by both consumers and restaurant folks.

User Experience design began with a competitive analysis that allowed us identify the good, the bad and the ugly alternatives to TwentyTables. Our goal was to blow competing apps out of the water. So we did…

Now Alex came prepared. His business plan was deep and he knew what he wanted. It was our job to translate his needs into an intuitive app that hides system complexities under the surface. Workshop-style sessions allowed us to draft whiteboard wireframes, and with careful iterations, transform them into digital inter-connected screens that cover all significant user journeys. Now, Alex arrived with a well-defined brand, logo and personality. Translating our wireframes into high-def designs was something we did with ease. The resulting clickable prototype would be used to raise money, and serve as a blueprint for pending development. This process took six weeks, with development ready to start around four weeks in.

The core database and API schema were first designed – programming had begun. Although we used two-week agile development sprints, we still followed a basic waterfall model as we rolled through the API, and begun app development. Keeping iOS a month or so ahead of Android allowed us to identify challenges and crush them before moving on to the next platform. An Administration panel was created for managing users, restaurants, menus, and tracking payouts among other things. Throughout this time, we ran regular face-to-face meeting with Alex to make sure our understandings were consistent with his plans, and to ensure he always knew the rate of progress during this period of backend development.

Three months after kicking off we gave Alex his first real taste of what earlier had just been a dream – an alpha version of TwentyTables was on his iPhone. From then until launch, builds were being continuously developed and deployed, almost every day. With minimal restaurants and users online initially, we opted to pre-launch iOS first while Q/A continued on the Android version. Android was ready a month later, and by then a handful of restaurants now online, and finally the other half of our office could now order low-cost lunches through their smart phone. TwentyTables was ready for primetime.

The TwentyTables iPhone and Android apps have been a huge success, especially with downtown workers and local food-trucks. The perfect price-point and the location awareness allows swift integration with social media – and consumers always have new options in their neighborhood.

Meanwhile, with no prior tech background, Alex has become the darling of the DCTech community. In October last, TwentyTables pulled first prize in DC Startup Week’s pitch contest. TwentyTables was then the only area startup selected to present at South-by-Southwest, representing WEDC in Austin in March 2019.
The growth of TwentyTables, and the partnership with the food-distributor PFG in addition to charities Capital Food Bank and DC Central Kitchen is living proof that profit can go hand-in-hand with charitable giving.

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