The Exception Magazine recently connected with the founder of 365 Retail Markets & Verii, Joe Hessling. Through self-service technology, his company aims to make it easier at work to order snacks and beverages at work on-the-go.
Investors and total raised
Plymouth Ventures (exited) McCarthy Capital
Troy, Mi-Provo, UT-Santa Clara, CA
The Exception Interview
How would you describe your company and its product to someone who has never heard of it?
We help people buy snacks and beverages at work using our self-service technology
How did you come up with the idea for your company? How did you validate the concept early on?
In my past life, I was a co-owner of a food services company in Detroit. The idea came from the recession era that hit us in Detroit first. Companies still wanted food and beverage services on their campuses but had small budgets to work with. Our food services company began to look at self-service technology as a way to fill the gaps in service that we couldn’t offer within the clients budget.
What does your ideal customer look like?
Our technology is used in over 10,000 office locations across the US, UK, Canada and Italy, so the ideal user of our technology is really the everyday office worker looking for a convenient way to buy snacks at work. We most often sell our technology to a food service, vending or office services company that provide the products, we only provide the technology and service portions.
Where would you like to see your company in 5 years?
A couple of our long term goals are to leverage the popularity of self-service in food service by building more technology to connect office workers with the products they want, leverage the data we have to help companies provide better services and be more profitable, and also make it easier for consumers to make purchases in the easiest ways.
What broader trends are driving interest in the food tech sector?
It seems that the use of technology is driving convenience, efficiency and automation. These are great drivers of interest in any business because it leads to more profit and growth, however, especially important in the food sector because of the huge market size and long term outlook for growth.
What excites you personally about working in food tech?
I have been in the food services business for my entire working life, so I know it pretty well. The exciting part of food tech is that it solves problems that we have known about and been unable to solve before. This opens up all types of things that wouldn’t have been successfully offered in the past, like longer operating hours, more product variety, fresher products, faster service, smaller sized locations etc. All exciting stuff.
Do you believe your city/state supports its food tech startups?
The city of Troy and Oakland County have been very supportive while we have grown, especially offering help with talent acquisition and promoting our company as best they can.
What other companies or founders do you follow for inspiration or advice?
Elon, of course. Richard Branson, Marc Benioff and local Detroit leaders like Amanda Lewan of Bamboo Detroit and Jeff Cripe of Cargo to name a few of many.
What words of wisdom would you like to share with the next generation of food tech CEOs?