Friday, December 08, 2006

How To Pay For Your Meal With A Cell Phone

Noah Glass Story

Before he finished his political science degree at Yale, Noah Glass had already worked at Shutterfly, Amnesty International, Braun Consulting, and been accepted to Harvard Business School. But he deferred admission to pursue an opportunity at Endeavor, a non-profit organization supporting high-growth entrepreneurs in developing countries. After interviewing more than 150 entrepreneurs in South Africa, Glass found that the entrepreneurial bug had bit him, too.

Tired of waiting in long lines for coffee in his hometown of New York City-and assuming that others felt the same way, Glass invented Mobo, a mobile ordering system where customers order and pay for takeout meals from restaurants on their cell phones. The service, which launched in June, 2005, alerts users with text messages when their meals are ready, and is quickly catching on, neighborhood by Manhattan neighborhood.

So far, Glass says restaurants that use the service report a surge in business, since it saves them time by improving kitchen efficiency and gets people in and out faster, reducing lines. Restaurants pay Mobo 10% of each sale generated through the service. And although the service is easily scalable, Glass says he's trying to grow relatively slowly—New York this year and into Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and London by the end of 2007. But Glass isn't just interested in food. He says Mobo could extend into movie-ticket ordering and parking-meter payments, for starters. Eventually, Glass visualizes a GPS-aided taxi service that customers can preorder, forgoing waits and rainy-night frustration. Until then, the company is poised for serious growth, with 2007 revenues expected to top $1.8 million.

The Last Days Of The Dollar