Matt Salzberg: 10 Things You Didn’t Know about Blue Apron’s CEO

TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014 - Day 3

Matt Salzberg is the son of Barry Salzberg, who serves as the CEO of Deloitte. However, he is better-known in his own right as the CEO of Blue Apron, which is a meal delivery service in the United States that started up in 2012 but has managed to become one of the most powerful players in its chosen field since that time. Moreover, Salzberg is someone with a strong background in dealing with start-ups, which in turn, is reflected in his projects over the years as well as the wide-ranging nature of those projects. Regardless, his successes make him one of the most impressive millennials in the world of business at the moment, particularly since Blue Apron has managed to rise so high so fast.

Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Matt Salzberg:

1. Won Manager of the Year At Harvard

While he was a student at Harvard, Salzberg served on the Board of Directors for the Harvard Student Agencies (HSA). There, he managed to win the Manager of the Year award for his running of the HSA’s laundry service, which might have foreshadowed his later accomplishments. Regardless, Salzberg followed up by graduating summa cum laude with a BA in Economics in 2005 and a MBA in 2010.

2. Ran a Leveraged Buyout Fund

For a time, Salzberg served as an analyst with The Blackstone Group, where he was responsible for evaluating and executing decisions regarding a leveraged buyout fund that was worth $20 billion. For people who are unfamiliar with the term, a buyout means buying a controlling percentage of a corporation’s shares. As a result, a leveraged buyout means buying a controlling percentage of a corporation’s shares while making partial use of debt and equity.

3. Spent Some Time Investing in Startups

The Blackstone Group was not Salzberg’s sole experience with investing. For example, he joined up with Bessemer Venture Partners after his time with The Blackstone Group, which is one of the best-known venture capital firms with a particular interest in healthcare, information systems, telecommunications, and retail. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that Salzberg was involved with investing in digital, mobile, and software startups.

4. Co-Founded Stamp Mobile

In 2009, Salzberg co-founded Stamp Mobile with fellow entrepreneur, Nick Tommarello. In brief, Stamp Mobile was a point-of-purchase loyalty program that was meant for exclusive use with the iPhone, which brought together Salzberg’s interest in connecting merchants and customers with Tommarello’s interest in connecting people and places. Unfortunately, the project failed within a mere two months, which is not all that unusual when it comes to start-ups. While the two co-founders managed to collaborate on this Stamp Mobile, their similar but not quite the same interests resulted in conflict in the future.

5. Co-Founded Petridish.org

Crowdfunding has become popularized in recent times, with the result that crowdfunding platforms have become more and more specialized so as to increase the compatibility between the people providing funding and the people seeking funding. One example is how Salzberg co-founded Petridish.org in 2012, which is as its name suggests, a website meant to help researchers find funding through crowdfunding rather than through more traditional avenues. It is interesting to note that Salzberg collaborated with Ilia Papas on this project, which led to further collaboration on further projects.

6. Co-Founded Blue Apron

For example, Salzberg and Papas co-founded Blue Apron along with the chef Matthew Waidak. In brief, Salzberg and Papas got the idea for the project while discussing the time and effort that would have to be spent in finding a recipe and then purchasing the ingredients for it, which may or may not be used ever again. In other words, the two identified a problem that was not restricted to them before seeking out the expertise and experience that they needed to make their solution to said problem a reality, thus the addition of a chef to the team.

7. Blue Apron Named for Chef Tradition

Blue Apron is named thus because there is a tradition for beginner cooks to wear blue-colored aprons. Since the business was founded to help home cooks continue learning how to cook, it was not just a distinctive name but also a memorable one. Something that is particularly true because of how Blue Apron meals come with instructions and step-by-step photos to go along with their prepared ingredients.

8. Matt Salzberg Net Worth

No one knows Salzberg’s personal net worth at this point in time. However, a great deal has been written about the net worth of his company, which started out by raising $50 million in venture capital but has since managed to become a $2 billion company in 2015. Something that comes as less of a surprise when one learns that its operations can deliver to 80 percent of the United States when measured by population rather than landmass, which is actually more appropriate as a measurement in this case because it is more useful for telling how well Blue Apron can serve its potential customers.

9. Believes in the Power of Innovation

Given that he was involved with start-ups for some time, it should come as no surprise to learn that Salzberg is a true believer in the power of innovation. In fact, he has stated that there is no single path to success but rather numerous paths to success, meaning that what matters the most is the determination to continue pursuing one’s dreams in spite of the odds being against them. Salzberg’s commitment to this principle can be seen in how his own projects have been incredibly divergent in nature, thus showing his commitment to not just innovation but also diversity of thinking.

10. Prefers Leaving Positions Open Rather than Hiring the Wrong Person

With that said, it is important to note that Salzberg pairs his determination with care and consideration. For example, the high chance of failure for start-ups means that he is extremely careful when it comes to who he teams up with. In fact, Salzberg is so selective that he prefers to leave positions open rather than hire the wrong person for them, which makes sense considering how the low resources of start-ups make them less able to absorb the consequences of serious mistakes.


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