Three alumni dish on their experience in a NYC startup
A few years ago, the startup company Stadium was delivering dishes from different restaurants together as a single delivery to businesses all across New York City. The company was growing quickly and had endless possibilities ahead of them. Out of nowhere, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world and New York shut down in an instant. Suddenly, people were working from home with no need for in office lunch delivery. The team put their heads together and created SnackMagic, which saved their business and was the best pivot response to the pandemic.
UD alumnus Jordan Bank was a key piece on the Stadium team that made the transition to SnackMagic. The team noticed that many of their old Stadium orders contained a fair amount of boxes that had not just meals but snacks and drinks as well. An idea clicked to send these snacks and beverages to remote workers. They loved the idea because they were able to tweak the business model slightly to cater to a now much larger global audience. This allowed Jordan to focus on recruiting for the rebrand, and he started the search back at his UD Horn roots knowing the work ethic, knowledge, and experience gained through Horn Entrepreneurship. He was able to bring on a two Blue Hens and the newly improved SnackMagic team was ready for business.
From the ashes of Stadium, SnackMagic emerged and took the world by storm. SnackMagic pivoted from delivering meals in bulk, to allowing employers to easily send their workers fun snacks for long zoom meetings, to celebrate big wins, thank them for hard work, and a reprieve from working from home.
The idea caught fire, and SnackMagic now supplies some of the biggest companies in the world. SnackMagic proudly went from making $0/day in April 2020 to having a $20M annual run rate in December 2020. University of Delaware Horn Entrepreneurship alumni, Nick Novoa ‘21, Greg Travers ‘16, and Jordan Bank ‘16, are SnackMagic all-stars, and they stopped by to answer some questions about their story and give us some secrets to a successful startup. Here is what they had to say!
Answers from the Experts
Horn: What is the SnackMagic startup story?
SnackMagic: After the COVID-19 pandemic sent New York City into lockdown, we instantly knew that they would need to pivot our business strategy. We noticed that many orders as Stadium contained packages that were just snacks and drinks. Shipping full meals to individual houses was not logical, but care packages of fun snacks could keep morale high in a tough time for the whole world. We realized that people missed a sense of connection in a remote world, and that employers needed a simple way to give their employees just that. SnackMagic emerged and became an instant hit. People loved customizing their own boxes, finding new snacks, and sending packages to their friends. Since then, we have been able to expand internationally, as well as begin adding customized swag to our gift options. The next step is becoming the one-stop shop for all things gifting. You can learn more about our story of snackmagic in this short video.
Horn: Who recruited who and how do your roles interact?
SnackMagic Team: Jordan recruited both Nick and Greg after the company had transitioned to SnackMagic. Jordan and Nick work together in sales, and Greg handles video as a director and cinematographer. We really enjoy having Horn values and a UD feel at work every day.
Horn: What Horn lessons apply at SnackMagic?
SnackMagic Team: One thing that has reigned true for us especially at SnackMagic has been Vince’s saying, “Pivot, perish, or persevere” (Vince DiFelice, our Senior Instructor of Entrepreneurship). Clearly we needed a strong pivot after losing all of our Stadium clientele. We have worked hard to do so, and we are now doing better than we ever did as Stadium.
Another fun Horn lesson was the no tie policy. Here at SnackMagic we aren’t concerned about how anybody dresses. Suits and ties may look nice, but dedication and work ethic are what actually makes a company tick. We like to work hard but we also enjoy having fun and keeping the energy high.
Horn: What are some pieces of advice that you wish someone in your position had given you when you were in college?
Jordan: I would say don’t worry so much about your salary and position right out of college. Take every opportunity you can, and the money will follow with the great experiences. What is truly important is finding a great culture that allows you to learn and grow.
Greg: My biggest takeaway is to seek out what you want at your own pace. Take every opportunity you can, but don’t rush into things if they do not work for you.
Nick: I would tell myself to chill out and trust that things would work out. I recommend learning everything you can, because you can take a lesson from every experience that you have.
Horn: There are many different types of entrepreneurs. How do you describe yourselves?
SnackMagic Team: We see ourselves as disruptors and innovators. SnackMagic hopes to disrupt how employee benefits and virtual events are handled worldwide while they redefine the gifting experience.
Horn: What else would you like to share with our readers?
SnackMagic Team: There’s a lot to be excited about for SnackMagic’s future. We are currently expanding our international efforts and delivering gifts to over 130 countries. We also are launching SnackDrop, our first app and entry into the Direct-To-Consumer Market where we’ll be dropping Snack Stashes at about 75% off. We are launching another product called Dept. of Superior Dishes, where you can send famous restaurant dishes (think: lobster, steaks, cookies, cakes) to anyone, anywhere. We are also launching SwagMagic, our one stop shop for all things custom merch. We are using 2022 to go deep into the snack vertical while going horizontally wide when we think about what the future of corporate gifting looks like. Learn more about SnackMagic in the following videos, produced and directed by UD alumni, Greg Travers.
About Horn Entrepreneurship
Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement at the University of Delaware. Currently ranked among the best entrepreneurship programs in the US, Horn Entrepreneurship was built and is actively supported by successful entrepreneurs, empowering aspiring innovators as they pursue new ideas for a better world.