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Rapid growth for Skip the Dishes

450 jobs needed in expansion

Chris Simair (left) and his brother, Joshua, co-founders of Skip the Dishes, in their new office on Market Avenue.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Chris Simair (left) and his brother, Joshua, co-founders of Skip the Dishes, in their new office on Market Avenue.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/12/2015 (885 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Since launching in 2013, Skip the Dishes, the Winnipeg information-technology company masquerading as a restaurant delivery-service operation, has been growing about 20 per cent per month.

And now, it's getting ready for some real growth.

It already has more than 200 employees and will need to hire another 450 to handle the planned expansion. (It will do so aided by about $5 million worth of training support from the province.)

Founded by Joshua, Chris and Daniel Simair (who are originally from Prince Albert, Sask.), Jeff Adamson from Saskatoon and Calgary-based Andrew Chau, it already looks like a company that would be more at home in Silicon Valley than the Red River Valley.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/12/2015 (885 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Since launching in 2013, Skip the Dishes, the Winnipeg information-technology company masquerading as a restaurant delivery-service operation, has been growing about 20 per cent per month.

And now, it's getting ready for some real growth.

It already has more than 200 employees and will need to hire another 450 to handle the planned expansion. (It will do so aided by about $5 million worth of training support from the province.)

Founded by Joshua, Chris and Daniel Simair (who are originally from Prince Albert, Sask.), Jeff Adamson from Saskatoon and Calgary-based Andrew Chau, it already looks like a company that would be more at home in Silicon Valley than the Red River Valley.

It just moved into new offices in 50,000 square feet of space in a heritage building on Market Avenue that will include a gym and other amenities made famous by the California tech scene.

The company is now hiring programmers and development people locally and from California, New Zealand and across the country, and its human resource team is working on citizenship and employment permits.

With proprietary software and machine learning systems, Skip the Dishes has built a sophisticated IT and logistics company that's delivering thousands of restaurant meals in cities across the country every day.

It recently went live with its first U.S. markets in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio.

It is scaling up to expand to more than 100 low-population-density cities across Canada and the U.S. over the next couple of years.

Josh Simair, the CEO and co-founder, said the company is about to go live in 25 more cities immediately.

"We are passionate about this business," Simair said, although he plays his cards close to the vest when it comes to sharing business metrics.

Not unlike Uber, Skip the Dishes integrates GPS and many other elements into a network that maximizes delivery efficiencies. The company prides itself on not charging a markup from menu prices and takes a percentage of the meal cost. Its service offering promises increased business for the restaurants, allowing it to attract only the best restaurants in each of its markets.

The company has a team of developers who comb through data about restaurants in each city it operates in admitting only the highest-performing ones onto its network.

"We have an entire team of engineers and operation teams that build our incredible user interfaces that makes the whole process seamless and so intuitive for all our users," Simair said. "With hundreds of thousands of people using it, it has to be intuitive for all."

He wouldn't confirm it, but the company is likely primed for a round of venture capital investment many startups in this town could only dream of.

"We get several investor requests per week from people who do not know a lot about Skip the Dishes, and they are shocked to see how fast we are growing," Simair said.

Marshall Ring, the CEO of the Manitoba Technology Accelerator who has been working with the Simairs since they moved here from Saskatchewan, said their unrelenting drive for growth is what sets them apart from other smart startups who have good ideas.

"One reason for that is that they aren't from here," Ring said. "They left their friends and family to move here because they thought this was the best place to do this business."

(The company still maintains an engineering office in Saskatoon with a staff of about 25 people).

Simair, 28, who worked as an investment banker in London after graduating from university, peppers his language with endearments toward smaller cities, the target market for his business and the kind of places in which he grew up.

He said the Winnipeg startup ecosystem was valuable in the company's development.

"It takes a village to raise a startup," he said.

Vince Barletta, the head of Yes! Winnipeg, said, "We've been involved with Josh and his team for a while, and it is incredible to see this come to such a critical milestone moving into a new space and to grow their head office here."

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Read more by Martin Cash.

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History

Updated on Thursday, December 17, 2015 at 8:35 AM CST: Replaces photo

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