Are investor checks bigger in Texas? A bootstrapping South Florida startup founder is about to find out.
Adam Garfield, co-founder of SpeedETab, will be the first entrepreneur to seek funding when a new CNBC show, “West Texas Investors Club,” premiers at 10 p.m. Tuesday. He will pitch his mobile application that modernizes the way customers order and pay for food and drinks at their favorite hangouts.
“West Texas Investors Club” is an eight-episode reality series set deep in the heart of West Texas featuring multi-millionaires Rooster McConaughey (brother of actor Matthew McConaughey) and Butch Gilliam, who struck their millions in the oil pipe business. In each episode the duo will be seeking their next big investment by interviewing up-and-coming entrepreneurs to uncover their potential as well as the potential of their products. The show is produced by the same team behind the network’s popular entrepreneur reality show “The Profit.”
Frustrated with poor service and long wait times in the hospitality industry, co-founders Garfield and Edward Gilmore developed SpeedETab to let customers order and pay for menu items right from their smartphone. Once the drink is ready, SpeedETab sends a notification to the user to pick up their items; it can also deliver promotions and customer analytics. An iOS version of the app is on the market, and an Android version will be released on Tuesday, timed with the show.
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Garfield, 27, was born and raised in South Florida, graduated from the University of Florida, worked in Boston after graduation at a hedge fund firm, and returned to South Florida earlier this year to work on his startup fulltime.
Garfield said he never set out to be on a reality show, but he met a Shark Tank producer at a Boston meetup who suggested he apply to be on Shark Tank. While that didn’t go anywhere, CNBC executives saw his application video for the contest on YouTube and reached out.
“At first I only knew that it would be a shark tank-like show,” said Garfield. But he is happy with the potential exposure. “It’s a little of Shark Tank meets Texas, the good old boys of Texas who have a slightly larger focus on the entrepreneurs behind the product as well as the product. We got to showcase that the product is serving a need, whether that need is South Florida or West Texas.” SpeedETab will be the focus of about 60 percent of the hourlong show, he said.
SpeedETab launched in South Florida in April with a dozen locations, mainly bars, and plans are to expand nationally. So far, the endeavor has been financed mainly by Garfield’s $100K in life savings.mainly
So did SpeedETab get funded? Like with Shark Tank, the episodes have already been filmed --forget Hollywood or New York’s financial district, we’re talking Midland, Texas -- and Garfield is sworn to secrecy about the outcome.
Yet, the press materials say there was at least one aspect of the business model the investors really liked: They would get their drinks faster.
UPDATE AFTER THE SHOW: SpeedETab accepted the club's offer of a $250,000 investment in exchange for 40 percent of the business and another $250,000 once SpeedETab is in 250 bars. The investors promised help to get SpeedETab in Caesars and other establishments. Something you'd never see on Shark Tank: The show went into the West Texas local Corky's bar and let Garfield loose to demo SpeedETab among the regulars. Though Corky's is not SpeedETab's target demographic, the bar goers really took to it – the bar waitresses, not so much...
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