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Popmenu earns raves from investors for its marketing and delivery software for restaurants

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Brendan Sweeney didn’t know anything about the restaurant business before he and his co-founders launched the Atlanta-based startup Popmenu.

What Sweeney did know was that it was nuts that while every other business was using incredible graphics, curated text, carefully crafted images and fancy videos to make their pitch to customers restaurants were — posting a text-based menu.

“It’s just crazy that restaurants present their inventory, which is their whole story, their whole selling proposition in plain text,” Sweeney said.

Popmenu, he company he co-founded with three former colleagues from software businesses around the Atlanta area (and which has closed on $17 million in new financing) offers a solution.

What the company’s software aims to do is keep customers on restaurant’s own online real estate by incorporating third party reviews, images, recommendations, and better descriptions into the webpages that it hosts for the culinary creators that use its service. “If you had all that information on a restaurant website it would probably reduce the need to bounce out so much,” Sweeney said.

Popmenu does more than just prettify webpages for the savory savants whose coding skills may not match their craft in the kitchen. The software also helps with social media management, emailing and, yes, even the all-important delivery services that have become vital in the time of a still-spreading pandemic.

It’s the pandemic that juiced the company’s growth, Sweeney said. “We saw ten years of trends in the first ten weeks of COVID-19,” he said. “A lot of people were unprepared for it.”

Sweeney and his co-founders Mike Gullo, Anthony Roy, and Justis Blasco had all worked together at either CareerBuilder or Commissions Inc. It was the experience at Commissions that actually gave Sweeney and his colleagues the idea to start Popmenu.

Popmenu co-founders Brendan Sweeney, Mike Gullo, Justis Blasco, and Anthony Roy. Image Credit: Popmenu

Where Commissions was about designing tools to help local real estate agents and brokers take some power back from the large online platforms that were eating their lunch, Popmenu is bringing the same tools for small businesses to restaurateurs.

“I got this playbook for helping small business with SAAS. [And we’re] helping restaurants take control back from Yelp and TripAdvisor,” said Sweeney.

Other companies around the country, like ChowNow out of Los Angeles, are trying to do something similar. But while ChowNow is focused on online ordering, Popmenu started with marketing and… well… making menus “pop”.

The company is going to use the new cash it raised to add services like on-premises contactless transactions and from there could have a connection from the front-of-the-house to the back-of-the-house operations and ordering and fulfillment services.

Existing investors like Base10 Partners and Felicis Ventures returned to finance the company’s Series B along with new lead investor Bedrock Capital. Popmenu has also received some celebrity financing in the form of a commitment from Mantis VC, the newly launched investment firm from the wildly popular Chainsmokers band.

Apparently, they wanted something just like this, according to Milan Koch of Mantis VC. “When Alex, Drew and I met the Popmenu team, it was obvious to us right away how much they really cared about restaurateurs,” Koch said in a statement. “Having close ties with owners and hospitality groups worldwide and knowing the unique challenges they face, we got excited about how Popmenu’s product could help impact their businesses in so many different ways.”

Popmenu sells its software for a monthly fee of $269 per-location.

“So many industries have experienced radically accelerated trends through the COVID crisis, probably none more so than the restaurant industry,” said Sweeney, in a statement. “They’ve embraced technology as key to weathering these challenging times. We are fired up to give them even more help attracting guests and reducing costs and complexity on the road to recovery.”

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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