From the food at Nodevember and PyTennessee code conferences to the indoor s’mores table at Nashville Technology Council’s holiday party, many in the Nashville tech community have encountered the delicious food made by Sifted. And for those who work at iCitizen, Stoke.d, Emma and others, Sifted has been a regular part of their team members’ lives. Within a year of founding the business, this Nashville, Tennessee-based company on a mission to serve pop-up lunches as a perk, had found itself linked to the tech culture, without being a tech startup itself.
For Lyft, which provides catered meals a couple times a month for their team members, the consistent lunches have served to keep the team energized and engaged during rapid transition. “Sifted has gone above and beyond to meet the needs of our quickly growing team,” says Kristi Drenth, Nashville office coordinator at Lyft. “They have provided delicious food along with top-notch service with a smile.”
This year, cofounders Kimberly Lexow and Jess Legge took their concept to Atlanta, where they signed Yik Yak as their first client in ATL. Within two months of the expansion, they doubled their business. And they’ve hit another milestone: $1 million in ARR (annual recurring revenue) in under 13 months since launching the business.
In their own words, the founders share some of the lessons they learned in how they reached this milestone:
We work with clients who are a cultural fit. Lots of companies bring in lunch, but it is important to us to work with companies who are using our lunch program as a way to consistently treat their staff. When evaluating companies, we look for a vibrant company culture, emphasis on personal growth and a startup mindset, no matter the age. When a company has these characteristics, they tend to enjoy our healthful, adventurous meals. And the consistency translates to predictable revenue for us.
- We’ve resisted building tech at this early stage. While all of our competitors have a tech component, we’ve focused on building an active client base. We’ve
garnered client loyalty, and now, with feedback from our clients, we are working to build technology that would support our service. Building tech on the front end would have slowed our growth and distanced us from our clients.
- Organic growth and client referrals have allowed us to grow rapidly. Our clients are some of the fastest growing brands in ATL + BNA, so we’re growing with them. Eventbrite has almost doubled, and Lyft is busting at the seams in their current space.
- Having a unique model has also allowed us to reach this milestone. We own the process from start to finish, unlike most food delivery services. We control menu design (using client feedback), create all lunches and dinners and have a team of dedicated hosts and account managers. Because we have our own kitchen, we can create out-of-the-box experiences like a Rice Krispy bar for Lyft or sushi-burritos for Stoke.d.