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GrubHub and Seamless: A Marriage of Convenience

The Marriage of GrubHub and Seamless

When Seamless Web launched, back in the fledgling days of e-commerce just before the new millennium rolled in, its original founders had designs on providing an intuitive and simple online catering service.  The site fulfilled its initial intentions, providing large companies and

individuals alike with a responsive and convenient interface for planning their next party or corporate event, years ahead of the first mobile smartphones and tablets.  While Seamless Web was a success, and continued to operate at a profit throughout the early 2000s, company executives and media officials realized that the growth was a bit stagnant compared to some of the other new companies emerging on the scene.

Of these new competitors in the emerging field of online ordering, perhaps none attracted more initial attention than Chicago-based GrubHub. The company’s early days were buoyed by a creative and viral-focused marketing campaign, which combined clever CTA advertisements that bordered on completely inappropriate for public consumption with well-designed company communications and customer service.  GrubHub also had the benefit of fortunate timing on its side as well, seeing its debut and subsequent rise coincide with the emergence of both iOS and Android, platforms that allowed the company to take its reach well outside of the Windy City with much less of a bang to the start-up’s budget.  GrubHub grew rapidly over the next few years, and its predecessors at Seamless were forced to watch as the new kid on the block expanded to a number of domestic cities, and eventually to international locations as well.

Why Fight Over a Market When You Can Maximize it Together?

image: wikipedia.org

image: wikipedia.org

As the hordes of smartphone and tablet users continued to grow, so did the number of restaurants looking to partner with these two online-ordering behemoths.  A network effect clearly took hold, as more and more customers were drawn to the convenient plethora of options afforded by both companies, and more and more food options were drawn to those customers.  The two big start-ups were on a collision course for years, but like all things in this digital age, that collision was rapidly accelerated by the profusion of new mobile technology.

That is, until early in May 2013, when both Seamless (having dropped the Web from their title a few years prior) and GrubHub made a stunning and groundbreaking announcement.  Instead of trying to outmuscle each other by positioning themselves for expansion and waging expensive marketing and innovation wars, the two companies had decided to merge and join forces.  Following the announcement, GrubHub Seamless was born, and now fans of both sites were given access to a platform that included over 25,000 restaurants in over 500 cities in the United States alone.  Aside from removing their biggest competitor, by essentially assimilating them, each site stood to gain much from this move for a variety of reasons.

3 Big Reasons the GrubHub Seamless Marriage Stands to Benefit both Companies:

1. There are still bigger fish in the sea – While the eye-popping number of restaurants and locations featuring GrubHub Seamless service now stands as a reminder of the success of these two companies both before and after the merger, it must be remembered that as with any technology innovation or product, there are still some sharks lurking in the market.  Google and Amazon especially have shown a focused dedication on challenging niche companies on their own turf, regardless of their likelihood of success.  One needs only to look at Google Wallet (bring it, PayPal) or the Amazon Kindle (how much did you say you cost, iPad?) to know that these are two big fish always looking for a new pond to swim in.  With the incredible market growth, and increasing profit margins of GrubHub Seamless, online ordering seems like a likely potential next step.  With that said, the merger allows GrubHub Seamless to pool its resources and extensive customer network to stave off any potential intrusion from the big boys in the tech business.

2. Resources, Resources, Resources – One of the consistent realities of the technology innovation wars has been the competition for top developmental and management talent.  The big boys like Google, Apple, Samsung, and Amazon continue to steal away the prime minds in innovation, but the merger has put GrubHub Seamless in the position to offer competitive benefits and incentives to bring in top talent for bringing the web app further into the market.  Furthermore, Chicago itself is increasingly becoming a magnet for top tech talent outside of Silicon Valley, meaning the company has its pick of the growing number of developers, social media specialists, and digital management professionals flocking to the Windy City.  They may never be able to compete with the top of the pyramid, but GrubHub Seamless should now be able to bring in ample talent to stave off future online ordering competitors.

3. The Ever-Growing Mobile Market – Perhaps one of the most significant advantages both of these companies had before marrying each other in May was their mobile development.  Both companies produced slick mobile apps, available on both iOS and Android, and accompanied those apps with creative marketing strategies and social media solutions that allowed them to grow a viral following while conserving ever-valuable startup capital.  With this head start in hand, GrubHub Seamless can now turn its much larger combined resources to advancing new innovations in their services and design.  One exciting new feature is the delivery live tracker, which allows customers to actually see their food being delivered from a restaurant on a Google Maps interface.  The sky remains the limit for new adaptations in this industry, and now GrubHub Seamless has the advanced resources to keep pushing its boundaries.

While mergers are frequently a case of a bigger fish swallowing a smaller fish, the GrubHub Seamless inception seems more and more like an ingenious decision to preserve and expand the future of both companies.  Between lessening the competition, increasing the resources, and expanding their combined networks to access newer markets and wider segments of the population, GrubHub Seamless stands well-positioned in the wake of their merger to continue the prolific growth that has driven each company so far in their existence.

Go cash in on today,

Adam

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Adam Hausman is a capitalist and educator of many ventures. His ventures include ClickChores.com, a micro task service network, as well freelance work with sites like TabletLeader.com. Adam is particularly interested in the continued growth of the service networking economy, which is connecting people to share resources and skills and make life easier collectively. His own current ventures, as well as new ones he and his former roommates at Indiana University and the University of Illinois-Chicago are scheming on now, are trying to grab a piece of this emerging market.

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