Watch Requested launch on stage here.
This interview with Requested cofounder Sonny Mayugba was conducted by the Job Portraits team during preparations for the LAUNCH Festival.
Let's start with your elevator pitch. What are you making?
We've built a mobile app where consumers can name their own price at restaurants they'll love.
Using Requested, consumers select one or more restaurants and name their own price, and then the restaurants either accept or deny the request. During the hours that are typically slow for restaurants, customers can pay less than menu prices. For busy nights, we've built and tested a feature where a customer can submit a high request and possibly receive VIP treatment.
Why did you decide to solve this problem, and why are you the right person to tackle it?
Unlike most tech companies, which are typically run by software engineers, I have experience as an actual restauranteur. I owned a place called the Red Rabbit Kitchen and Bar, which is 4000 square feet and has 53 employees, not unlike the 900,000 other restaurants in America. I’ve also started five other companies, with a couple of exits, so I’m not new to this road. Most importantly though, this is a very personal itch I’m trying to scratch. From my experience with the Red Rabbit, I realized advertising is almost always an awful investment for a restaurant, so Requested has its roots in my own attempts to solve the restaurant marketing problem. I really do love this industry.
You've obviously been in stealth mode. Now you're going to be in front of 10,000 people. What are you hoping to learn from your first month being out in the world?
We want to learn what our users do most in the app. The second piece is: What requests are merchants accepting? That’s important because, for the first time, merchants aren’t just issuing a promotion—they’re in control of what they accept and reject. They control the product.
The final piece is that we're not sure what size market will be best for us. There are A, B, and C markets in the U.S. The A’s are obvious—San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City. But did you know there are 280 U.S. cities between 100,000 and 500,000 people? And even below that, there are thriving cities at even 80,000 people. I’m hoping to learn where we’ll thrive the most, so we're launching in one of each, and we're excited to see where the app resonates most.
What are you guys actually offering when you stand on stage?
We'll be releasing our beta. We’d love people to download the app and give it a try. In San Francisco we have 15 really cool restaurants in our network. We'd really appreciate if people use the app and tell us the good, bad, and the ugly. Every startups has all three, and we’re excited to get real, honest feedback.
Want to hire great people faster? Job Portraits helps startups hire smarter through storytelling.