A Madison online restaurant-ordering business has landed $2 million in funding, its first major investment round.
EatStreet, formerly known as UConnect and BadgerBites, at 107 N. Hamilton St., will use the money to expand its locations and add staff, said co-founder Matt Howard.
"We are very excited," Howard said. "Our main objective is to start really expanding the company."
EatStreet currently offers online food ordering from 700 restaurants in 20 cities. Howard said he plans to add 25 cities this year and increase the number of restaurants to more than 1,500.
About 130 restaurants in the Madison area are among those in the program.
The company, founded in 2010, targets small- to medium-sized cities, with populations under 500,000. "That's where we feel we can grow the fastest," Howard said.
Many of them are college towns, where students are likely to order from restaurants. "And they're most likely to do it online," Howard said. "Not too many college students are going to go to a phone book."
He said data have shown that about half the undergraduate students at the UW-Madison, or about 20,000 students, have used EatStreet's services.
Leading the current funding round is Cornerstone Opportunity Partners, Chicago, with participation by Great Oaks Venture Capital, New York; Independence Equity, Chicago; and gener8tor, a Madison and Milwaukee accelerator program in which EatStreet participated in 2012.
EatStreet has 12 full-time employees, all in Madison, and 35 part-time employees, including about six in Madison. Howard said he expects to be up to 65 to 70 employees by the end of the year, with about 35 in Madison.
EatStreet provides local restaurants with their own websites and mobile apps, and in Madison, a partner company, Straight2yourdoor, provides delivery services.
Howard said the company wants to add small-sized corporate chain restaurants and will soon offer tablets to its restaurant members to handle orders easily.