If you sit in a Starbucks with someone for five straight hours, you’re either on a really good date or have a really good business idea. Turns out it was the latter for Eran Henig and Yishay Waxman, who were introduced in 2014 by a mutual friend.
Waxman has a sales career that could make anyone’s head spin: 25 years. 92 countries. Pioneer of the early app days. Sold the first ever ringtone in North America. Worked with Madonna. Got Angry Birds and Candy Crush into the hands of millions. Waxman is a man of great drive, and one can imagine, a lot of stories. Then there’s Eran Henig: tireless tech innovator with dozens of successful projects under his belt; a seasoned master of code, and for as long as he can remember, a uniter of people. From organizing massive events for thousands of people in Israel, to transforming a culture of siloed tech engineers at the University of Toronto, Henig brings two things to the table: smart ideas and people.
Both men had recently sold companies and were ready for a new adventure. Waxman was looking for the next culture-shifting idea to sink his teeth into, and around the second or third hour of that fateful first meeting, their conversation turned to a subject that piqued his interest. Henig, with his mind for tech and penchant for community stimulation, had recently focused his attention on the world of corporate catering, and saw an opportunity that no one had tapped into. E-commerce was on the rise, but e-commerce for food hadn’t been mastered yet. He wondered if there was a better way companies could be feeding their teams.
Henig’s theory got Waxman reflecting on his days working for a company in Boston and eating the same tuna wraps, Monday to Friday for nine years, essentially because it was the most convenient option. It sucked, and he wondered if that’s how other companies felt about their food programs. He wanted to know if the business problem was big enough to invest in solving, so he traveled to offices around North America, speaking to office managers, CFOs and employees to find out every single pain point that came with ordering lunch for the team. Three months later he returned to Henig with a clear conclusion: the problem was big and the two of them were going to make a platform to solve it.
But this wasn’t just about food. Both men, despite their vastly different professional backgrounds, understood how valuable it was to bring people together; to share meals with peers and friends, connect with each other, and create memorable experiences. Their respective lives had taught them that sharing a meal in good company was never just about sharing a meal. They understood there was something powerful to it, almost magical. And with that, they knew they weren’t just going to make a better way to order lunch to the office. They were going to make something that fuels all aspects of company culture.
Building their own company culture from scratch, Waxman and Henig brought together some of the smartest, most creative, most motivated people they knew. Once they had their dream team, they set up shop in Waxman’s house, alongside his wife and children and dog Maverick and from what the OG team members recall, even a few birds. It was a tight, chaotic squeeze but the team got to work – coding, cold-calling, perfecting features, pounding the pavement; using their sharp, creative minds to shake up the stale world of corporate catering and wake it up to something better.
What started as an idea between two guys over coffee was blooming into something with genuinely disruptive potential – all thanks to this team of bright, energetic people who believed in it.
“When I was first going to be introduced to Yishay, I thought he would just be some kid with an idea,” says Josh Martow, one of the original five. “But then I quickly realized, ‘oh wait this thing actually has serious potential.’” Martow brought his background in politics, and his ideas, one of which won the team their biggest order ever (feeding election teams on the campaign trail) and catapulted the platform to its next level of success. Today, as Director of Business Intelligence, Martow continues to set his sights high for Platterz. “I want this thing to fly,” he says.
Tal Brodsky, Director of Business Development and another instrumental member of the pioneering team is similarly inspired by the evolution of the company. “We were scrappy in the beginning. Did everything manually. We’d say yes to requests on the fly, and then figure out a way to make it happen. It didn’t click for me until later that we were building something that had never been built,” Brodsky says. “Even now, our vision hasn’t changed, but we keep evolving. Eran and Yishay have always motivated us to keep pushing, and they always make sure our most ambitious ideas come to life.”
Eventually Platterz moved out of the condo and into a bigger office, and then into several offices. Once they reached $20 million in VC funding, this team of unstoppable thinkers and makers became all the more unstoppable.
Not only did the team invest in strong minds for tech, creativity and business, they incorporated people highly trained in human psychology.
“Psychology plays a huge role in our hiring and retention strategy,” says VP of Brand Strategy & Organizational Psychology, Valeria Latman. “We understand that people’s day-to-day should be challenging enough to take them outside of their comfort zone, but also allow them to be who they are, and have opportunities to connect with others. To get people to achieve something great, you have to invest in them and what matters to them. We make sure our employees feel seen and valued, and we want to create technology that helps other companies do the same thing.”
The dynamics of people and connection and human interaction are the beating heart of this platform, and the driving force of an engaged, motivated company culture, so it’s a top priority for everyone at Platterz to understand what makes a group of people thrive together.
“From the first day until now, I’ve learned so much,” says Iryna Korsunska, VP of Talent at Platterz HQ in Toronto. “It all starts with Eran and Yishay and how they approach every situation – people first. They encourage you. They teach you about valuing others, and being there for each other. I’ve seen so many offices where people crave alone time, but here it’s different. We all crave each other’s company.”
A team of people who are inspired and motivated by each other isn’t just the culture created at the Platterz office, it’s the culture this platform is helping fuel in offices around the world. Now operating in multiple cities across North America and Europe, serving 50,000 employees a day, Platterz has expanded beyond catering to offer more services and solutions that energize employees and help companies of all sizes realize the true, formidable potential of a well-engaged team.
Even with the platform’s widespread success, the team remains ever-hungry for what’s next; expanding to other countries, developing more solutions that empower employees, creating powerful new tools for gathering feedback. The Platterz team is in the process of reinventing company culture as the world knows it, and one thing’s for certain – we’re all in it together.
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