Our operations software makes it easier to run--and grow--your cafe

We’re a passionate team of dreamers and builders, determined to liberate small businesses from the not-so-fun aspects of the job so that they can focus on what’s fun and important.

Jobs at Odeko

Team Size:371
Location:New York
James Burkhardt
James Burkhardt

Hear from the founders

How have you kept in touch with the YC community and continued to use YC resources & programs since the batch ended?

It’s often said, but it bears repeating - although the batch itself was an incredibly valuable experience, we’ve benefited far more from the value that’s created across the YC community itself. This community has led to an incredible number of introductions and relationships with partners, customers, investors, and friends - it’s truly endless and we’ll forever be grateful to participate as a small piece of this growing network. It’s also important to note that the advise doesn’t end when the batch does, and we could never have navigated the COVID-19 pandemic the way we were able to if it weren’t for the advice of our partners throughout. Gustaf, Aaron and Dalton were responsive, informative, and ultimately supportive of the decisions that we made throughout that process, and to this day continue to be trusted partners and friends.

What's the history of your company from getting started until the present day? What were the big inflection points?

When we first started we didn’t have a product, nor did we know what product we were going to build. Instead, because of our experience successfully scaling multiple SMB-oriented startups, our initial focus was on assembling the right team and identifying the best sub-vertical to support. With those steps completed, we set out to establish relationships with coffee brands who could help us identify their industry’s operational pain points. After quickly building relationships with some of the biggest independent brands in the industry like Birch Coffee and Joe Coffee Company, we honed in on solving their frustration with procurement and set out with an excellent team, a large available market, and several engaged customers to build the first piece of the Odeko platform. As a company, we’ve endured several booms and busts before finding product-market fit and scaling rapidly - from our early days as an AI-powered procurement engine that showed signs of life before the pandemic, to our soul searching days in early 2020 that led to our merger with Cloosiv, and ultimately the post-pandemic economic recovery that saw us rapidly on a first-of-its kind platform that sparked rapid growth for our company. Today, Odeko is stronger than ever, with 90% of our pre-COVID customers reopening their doors and using Odeko’s new, more robust platform to run their businesses. We faced the pandemic head on with little room to maneuver, and emerged from it not only armed with a second critical piece of our platform, but having grown to support nearly ten-times the number of small businesses than we had before the lockdown.

What is the core problem you are solving? Why is this a big problem? What made you decide to work on it?

Where large chain brands value structure and speed, the modern local café has historically placed a premium on the human experience. Although a noble pursuit, the value of slowing us down to enjoy a beautiful latte and an easy conversation has concurrently slowed the pace of operators, with small businesses more often employing analog solutions for the big problems they face. As the world around them continues to evolve, local cafés have slipped further into the crevasse. Behemoths have expanded their footprints across the globe, each new store front strategically placed to snuff out the local cafés' existence from Main Street. This is largely a result of evolving national competition that rapidly develops and tests new technology at scale, while independent brands are victims of the available mass market, where technology has yet to evolve past various iterations of the point-of-sale system out front.

What is your long-term vision? If you truly succeed, what will be different about the world?

Odeko addresses the problem, by building an intuitive and affordable technology stack that’s designed to help small businesses increase their revenue, lower their costs, and reduce their carbon footprint. We got started in 2019 by first identifying coffee shops, bakeries, and cafés as the best entry point into the quickserve market, because of the vertical’s limited technology footprint, relatively standardized workflow, and low SKU count. We then narrowed our attention to focus on the two areas of concern that we most commonly heard to be pain points for our early café customers - supply and demand. With these two points of entry, we’ve solidified the foundation to build our technology stack on top of, allowing us to continuously ship new components and immediately test the value of that work with our customers. Today, we support thousands of coffee shops, bakeries, and cafés with our supply and mobile ordering products, and will soon empower them to succeed with a platform of tools spanning ops management, finance, marketing, procurement, expansion, and much more.