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Matt Salzberg

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Profile

Matt Salzberg, born in Edison, New Jersey, is the CEO and co-founder of Blue Apron, a meal subscription service that delivers pre-measured ingredients and recipes.

While attending Harvard, Salzberg was on the Board of Directors of the Harvard Student Agencies (HSA) and won Manager of the Year for running the HSA laundry service. He graduated from summa cum laude with a BA in economics in 2005 and an MBA in 2010.

Salzberg was a private equity analyst at The Blackstone Group, evaluating and executing a $20 billion leveraged buyout fund until 2008. He later worked at Bessemer Venture Partners investing in mobile, software and digital startups.

In 2009, Salzberg and Nick Tommarello, co-founded Stamp Mobile, an iPhone based point-of-purchase loyalty program. After launching the product within two months and with $5000, the project failed. Tommarello, another young entrepreneur and future founder of Wefunder and Startup Workaway, was interested in building apps to connect people and places, while Salzberg was interested in helping merchants connect with customers. These differing goals worked well for Stamp Mobile, but promised discord in future projects.

In early 2012, Salzberg co-founded Petridish.org, a crowdfunding website for scientific research, with Ilia Papas, an e-commerce veteran.

In early 2011, Salzberg approached chef Matthew Waidak about starting a meal delivery service. In August 2012, Salzberg co-founded Blue Apron with Matthew Wadiak and Ilia Papas. Papas lamented the time and energy spent finding a recipe and purchasing ingredients that might never be used again, a feeling Salzberg shared. Blue Apron delivers perfectly portioned ingredients, step-by-step photos and instructions for $10 per person. Menus are posted online one week ahead of delivery, allowing customers to choose dishes that appeal to them and decrease food spoilage due to pre-orders.

The name Blue Apron refers to the practice of beginner cooks wearing blue aprons and the company’s quest to help home cooks continue learning.

By early 2014, Blue Apron had raised over $50 million in venture funding and delivered 600,000 meals per month. In April 2014, Fortune valued the company at around $500 million. The company now delivers to over 80% of the United States by population.

Companies and Investments

Blue Apron (Co-Founder, CEO), SelectMinds (Board Member), Bessemer Venture Partners (Senior Associate), Stamp Mobile (Co-Founder), Harvard Student Agencies (former Manager and Board Member)

Lessons Learned

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Salzberg learned the value of diversity in innovation during his time as a venture capitalist. The businesses he has been involved in have not followed any theme but his drive to meet a demonstrated need with innovation.

Find the right team. Salzberg has co-founded nearly all of his businesses. He is very careful in choosing partners and employees, going so far as to leave positions open rather than hire the wrong person for the job.

Inspiring Quotes

Fortune favors the bold.

Pliny the Elder

Matt Salzberg's Quotes

I think the most important part of any business is the quality of the people. It’s hard work to launch a new company and it requires a very rare skill set because founders need to wear so many different hats. It also requires a certain amount of blind determination since most people will tell you that you’re going to fail.

Matt Salzberg

Theres no one right way to do something--there are a million paths to success. The only thing in your way is inaction.

Matt Salzberg

Focus on that one thing you do and do it well.

Matt Salzberg

Influential Books

Kurt Vonnegut - Cat's Cradle: A Novel

Orson Scott Card - Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet)

Mentors

Barry Salzberg

References


Technical

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