There are at least 12 on-demand food startups within the Bay Area – two of them focus solely on delivering cookies. And there are plenty more beyond the borders of San Francisco. With Postmates, Caviar and Grubhub doing this, let’s just say getting food delivered whenever you want is a crowded space. Mobile food orders startup Tapingo focuses on a more specific vertical to help it stand out here – college students.
But college students graduate and move off-campus and Tapingo is left with recruiting a whole new crop of freshmen to the app. The startup’s solution is to now move into surrounding areas near campus in order to retain the college student user base.
Tapingo has announced a Series C raise of $22 million led by Qualcomm today to help it do just that. DCM Ventures, Kinzon Capital, and existing investors Khosla Ventures and Carmel Ventures also participated in the round, bringing the funding total to $36 million now.
Currently, Tapingo partners with college campuses to coordinate pick-up hubs where students can pick up their orders. A student can make an order on the app ahead of time at a campus cafe and then pick it up without having to wait in line. Other students waiting in line see the student simply pick up their order and then download the app.
You can see how the idea catches on with the college students. Tapingo currently processes more than 25,000 transactions per day, with the average user transacting more than four times per week, according to the company.
This kind of growth and participation helped the startup expand from 24 to 85 campuses in Canada and the U.S. last year. It plans to expand to a total of
100 200 by the end of this year.
The possibility of going off campus and into larger institutions or surrounding areas could benefit both Tapingo and brick-and-mortar stores. Who really likes to wait in the long lines at Starbucks? No one, that’s who. This could mean eliminating lines in several other areas as well (amusement parks? the DMV?). The plan is just surrounding areas of campus for now.
Tapingo has already started testing a delivery service with its users and plans to expand beyond just food. This could be things like on-demand laundry or other delivery as well. It already allows students to do other, non-food related orders such as reserving a campus parking space.
Expansion into other verticals has always been part of the plan, according to Almog. He said college students were just the proving ground for what Tapingo was capable of. “What we didn’t anticipate was how quickly universities and students would adopt this new behavior. This validated our decision to bring the technology to analogous ecosystems,” Almog said.
Tapingo will use the new round of funding to rapidly hire a bunch of new employees to help with the expansion off campus as well as invest in product development, operations, and marketing.