Episode 463 of “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” is an interview with Foodee CEO Ryan Spong. In this episode he shares his journey from Investment Banking to being a top entrepreneur in the ever expanding food industry.
About Ryan Spong
Ryan Spong is a reformed investment banker, successful partner and restaurateur of the popular Tacofino and Superbaba brands in Vancouver, and now CEO and co-founder of the Vancouver-based food-tech startup, Foodee. He is a founding board member of the Knives & Forks Investment Co-op where he advocates for local businesses and economies.
Ryan was recruited from his MBA at the University of Toronto in 2003 to a formal career in investment banking. Three years later, he founded Mainstreet Advisors, a boutique financing company. There, he and his team raised tens of millions of dollars for public companies, some of which he served as CEO and CFO. Over the years, he started, grew and sold several innovative businesses, including Raincity Rock and Preform Construction. In 2010, he invested in Tacofino Cantina and helped lead its growth to eight stores. In 2013, he joined Foodee as CEO and put in place growth strategies that led to the 2017 and 2018 Deloitte Fast50 Awards.
He and his family live in the growing tech startup hub of Mount Pleasant in Vancouver, BC. Ryan recently moved Foodee’s Vancouver headquarters to the heart of technology startup culture in the shared, collaborative workspaces of WeWork.
A few years ago, brown-bag desk lunches, bad catering and random pizza days at work were acceptable. Not anymore. The tech industry raised the bar for workplace benefits and standards—and offering daily office meals is the new norm cross-industry. Innovative leaders know that food brings people together and the simple act of providing free food at work goes a long way. Eating together as a company encourages socializing, boosts culture, employee happiness, wellness, and productivity and attracts and retains top talent as a competitive perk. Companies are even folding corporate catering—or feeding their employees, rather—into their core values.
Foodee is a proud contributor to this shift. Foodee CEO Ryan Spong had the idea to connect the top local owner-operated restaurants with innovative companies looking for a competitive edge.
Foodee has since grown by 1125% and serves 12 major North American cities with more than 700 restaurant partners and is further expanding in the US. Foodee is among the first companies to receive investment from the $100 million-dollar BC Tech Fund in 2017. This is due to the company’s considerable growth and ability to create jobs and strengthen local economies. Foodee most recently partnered with DoorDash to support further expansion.
Foodee’s growing list of clients includes top names in tech, finance and consulting, such as Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Visa, Comcast, and The Weather Channel. Its innovative approach is the secret to success. Foodee evolved its unique business model, finding its niche as a software platform with innovative partnerships that allow for greater transparency and personalized customer preferences. The company aims to become the largest local food provider to offices without owning any kitchens, cooking any food or delivering any meals.