Once Upon a Founder: OrderEAT – Dreams of Seemingly Endless Youth

Three lifelong friends turn a lunchtime conundrum into a successful entrepreneurial venture, with a vision to conquer the United States market.

Jul 25, 2023 · 4 Minute Read

This story was written by Mauro Berchi as part of the “Once Upon a Founder” series, where Mana Tech aims to provide a behind-the-scenes look into the unique and impressive origin stories of Latin American startups.

It was 2018, and winter raged in Maldonado State, Uruguay, just minutes away from La Mansa beach, where the Uruguayan Argentine Institute stood resilient against the sea’s might. Inside the doors of Punta del Este’s most prestigious bilingual school, Luispe, always seated in the front row by the window, shared the space with his best friend, Juan Manuel Rodríguez, known as Lolo.

Both excelling students, they decided to venture into engineering in their senior year, cherishing newfound free time to play with their cellphones, discuss different topics, and, most importantly, eat.

Luispe, full name Luis Pedro Carrero Mautoni, religiously ate at the school restaurant since Kindergarten, embracing life’s structure and certainties, while Lolo, with three brothers and divorced parents, navigated life’s improvisations.

Lolo was naturally skilled with computers but indifferent to sports. He usually brought lunch from home, occasionally reaching for the school restaurant’s menu.

Around 11:00AM one morning, Lolo realized he forgot to order food from the school restaurant during the last recess. He quickly calculated that at 1:40PM, he would have 30 minutes to eat, but 15 minutes would be lost waiting in line. With any luck and no transgressions, he would have to devour his meal in less than ten minutes. He also had to remember to write down how much he owed in his family’s account since the school didn’t accept money from students.

“It would be amazing if we could order our meals using our phones,” he told his lifelong friend, with a frustrated tone, not realizing the beginning of a groundbreaking idea.

With a spark now lit, they shared the concept with their long-time friend Matías Cravioto, a natural leader and the third member of this innovative trio.

OrderEAT founders Luispe, Lolo and Matías as kids

Events unfolded rapidly, and their tech solution, although well-received at school, remained unnamed until they presented it at the Idea Lab for a local incubator.

As a result, OrderEAT secured $4K in funding from the National Agency for Research and Innovation (ANII) of Uruguay in December 2018. With this budget, they validated their Minimum Viable Product (MVP), allowing them to present the project to the National Development Agency in 2019. They received $20K in funding to expand within the national market and set foot in Argentina.

By this time, the three founders had already started their college careers, pursuing higher education while simultaneously working on OrderEAT. It only made sense, considering their consistent dedication to improving themselves. Matías was an Olympic volleyball player until two pneumothoraces ended his athletic career. Luispe was a sailor and competed even during the first year of college. And Lolo, continued computer programming.

OrderEAT’s growth knew no bounds, and its founders were encouraged to pitch in the Innovative Entrepreneurs Program at ANII. Shortly afterward, they secured $70K in funding, which was used to rebuild the platform from scratch.

Despite the challenges due to the health restrictions in 2020, the trio persevered, with Matías as the CEO, Lolo as the CTO, and Luispe as the CCO. By the time everything returned to normal, their parents began to understand that their children’s college careers were no longer the sole priority.

Since last year, everything has been about OrderEAT, especially after the successful seed round funding of $300K, as a result of having participated in Uruguay XXI & BID – Building The Bridge 2022. The program, coordinated by Mana Tech and Base Miami, culminated in an in-person event in Punta del Este.

Today, settled in Mexico alongside Luispe, Matías reminisces about the mentorship of Etienne Gillard, while his friend, in charge of sales in one of the largest Hispanic markets, highlights the conversations he’s shared with Charly Esnal and Matías Barbero.

With a team of 16 employees distributed throughout Latin America, this close-knit group, all under the age of 25, look towards the horizon knowing that the next big leap awaits them in the United States market.

They are not afraid, nor are they worried. They are living the most extraordinary dream of their lives.

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