It's a familiar scenario to anyone who's been up until the wee hours: it's late, you're inebriated (or worn-out from a work all-nighter), and you want pizza, like, yesterday. While there are no end of food delivery websites that will get you what you need, you'll likely have to spend some time figuring out what's open, whether they'll deliver to your house, if your order is enough to meet the minimum, and whether their reviews indicate you'll get a serviceable pie or something approaching cardboard.
This is the problem PizzaTheApp was invented to solve—actually, re-solve, because as it turns out, the pizza problem once occupied the minds of Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who founded the search algorithm only after their original idea, pizza orders by fax, tanked. "We're finishing the work they started," says Michael Brandt, who co-founded PizzaTheApp with fellow Stanford alum Adam Ting. Not one to dream small, he already has his sights set on another tech titan: "We want to be the Uber for pizza."
The way the app works is pretty simple: open it up (or use PizzaTheApp's website), create the large pizza of your choice (to minimize friction between pizza joints, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, and olives are the only topping options), input your delivery and credit-card info (the latter via Stripe), and await pizza. The app's algorithm will pull from a database of 15 pizzerias across SF that have three-star-and-above Yelp reviews (Brandt says he's delivered from every one with no complaints), matching you with the best fit in terms of location, opening status, and price minimum. The price includes tax, delivery fees, and a $3 tip for the driver.
Naturally, some questions arise here. How much money is PizzaTheApp making on each transaction? (A few bucks, enough to keep the servers on—both Brandt and Ting still have day jobs.) What if the pizza is late, or doesn't show up? (Brandt texts every pizza-orderer personally when they place an order, and they can respond to him directly for resolution, or just to send pictures of pizza, which he says he gets lots of.) And most importantly, how do people know their pizza will be any good? According to Brandt, PizzaTheApp isn't really about quality, per se: "This is an app for people who want pizza, period. If you want pizza from Pizzeria Delfina with an egg and arugula, that's great, but to us, that's not pizza, that's sushi."
For now, PizzaTheApp's sphere of influence is limited to SF proper, but a joking "thought leadership" post on Medium says they're interested in expanding to Seattle and Pyongyang. Brandt's dream is to someday have fleets of cars roaming the streets, Uber-like, their trunks full of steaming pies. "You'd be able to call them, and a few minutes later, they'd be at your door with a slice." Larry and Sergey may have just found their next acquisition target.