At Waitwhile our mission is to make waiting in line feel like not waiting at all. Our technology helps businesses delight their guests by letting them join a line remotely and then wait from anywhere, saving them time and eliminating the frustration caused by pointless waiting. We’ve made great progress this year and are excited to share the latest milestones in our journey.
Today, we’re thrilled to share that we’ve raised a $12M Series A round led by CRV, which is known for investing at the earliest stage of high-growth companies like Twitter, Dropbox, DoorDash, Zendesk, Airtable and others. This will help us in our mission to transform the way people wait in line.
People waste an inordinate amount of time standing in line
Waiting in line has been part of daily human reality as long as there have been things worth waiting for. No one likes it, but we do it because we think there’s no other choice. People spend a staggering 1 Trillion hours every year standing in lines. That’s an incredible amount of human potential to unlock.
Lines appear in virtually every business sector. We wait at doctors’ offices, line up for Sunday brunch, sigh at the DMV, and practice patience at the post office, bank, grocery store, airport, and pharmacy. The list goes on and on.
It’s now 2021 and yet most technology used to manage lines is... well, antiquated. Millions of businesses still rely on pen and paper waitlists, buzzers and pagers, and numbered lists to manage their crowds. While stanchions and barricades are regularly being used to regulate physical lines. There is a better way.
The shift to virtual modes of waiting in line has been inevitable for some time. People already have phones in their pockets that can be used to join a line remotely and track the wait time in real time. In fact, mobile searches for “wait times” have been doubling year over year as people are getting more impatient and wanting to know exactly how much time they’re committing to.
Waitwhile makes waiting worthwhile
In 2017, we set out to build the definitive Wait Management platform. Our goal was to create a turnkey solution businesses could use to convert their existing physical lines into virtual lines in minutes. We also wanted to build in enough flexibility to allow businesses to integrate our powerful queue features directly into their existing applications via an API.
The premise of Waitwhile is simple. Guests can join any line by sending a text message, scanning a QR code, or signing up via a website from anywhere.
Once “in line”, they can monitor their wait time on their phone and will be automatically notified when it’s their turn. Instead of physically waiting in front of the business, they can go for a walk or grab a coffee.
Meanwhile, in the background, the Waitwhile platform automatically learns about wait times, resource constraints, and guest preferences to help businesses reduce wait times and improve operations. And the experience for the host is delightful and automated, keeping the time they need to learn and manage the line at a minimum.
Over the past years, we’ve helped thousands of companies, including Louis Vuitton, IKEA, Hartford HealthCare, Applebee’s and Patagonia, to revolutionize the wait experience for over 80 Million guests. Collectively, we’ve given people back over one million days they would have otherwise wasted waiting in line.
Partnering with CRV
Waitwhile has made great strides on our own. And by partnering with CRV for our Series A, we will accelerate our trajectory and take the company to the next level.
We are excited to have Kristin Baker-Spohn join our board. We admire and resonate with CRV’s and Kristin’s long-term approach to company-building and respect their exceptional track record of backing category-defining companies.
Since our launch in 2017, Waitwhile has operated as a profitable company with healthy organic growth. We plan to continue to operate a sustainable business and leverage our investment in three strategic areas:
- Growth of our technical team: In order to build the definitive wait platform and solve difficult problems around resource orchestration, wait time ML modeling, and automation, we need the best engineering talent.
- Expansion into new markets: We’ve been focused on North America so far, but our solution works just as well in Asia and Europe. We're excited to expand our footprint and improve product internationalization.
- Enterprise-building: As more Fortune 500 companies adopt our solution, we need to ensure we’re providing them with the right level of service and functionality. This will be an area of focus for the year ahead.
With funding and support from our new investors, we can accelerate growth and pursue our goal of making Waitwhile the defining standard for queue management.
Building a holistic queue management solution
We believe customer flow management is the heart of every business workflow. However, oftentimes it is not synced up with other systems along the customer journey - such as the Point-of-Sales (POS), which can create seamless payments, the CRM, which can centralize contact information, the Survey tool, which can gather guest feedback post visit, and Workforce Management, which can synchronize resource availability.
Waitwhile sees enormous opportunity in being able to create a magical experience for customers while finding business efficiencies by seamlessly integrating all the touchpoints and systems along the customer journey. In addition, we believe our solution can help greatly improve the human side of line management and that Waitwhile can become a benchmark for queuing best practices for any type of industry.
As we move closer to realizing this vision, we want to announce the launch of some of our biggest features yet:
1. Integrating wait management into platforms like Google Maps
We believe that in today’s tech-forward world, customers should be able to join a line from anywhere, and are working hard to make virtual waitlists the new norm. Because so many people already use Google to decide where to go, it made sense for us to introduce a new Waitwhile integration with Google Maps. Now, people can see the current wait times at places of interest and join waitlists directly from Google Maps.
This is just one example of how Waitwhile will become ubiquitous across platforms and services. Next quarter, we’re launching integrations with Square, Shopify, Toast and Wordpress to make queue management more seamless and to be wherever customers already are.
2. Connecting appointments with walk-ins
We believe that there is no real difference between an “Appointment” and “Waiting in Line”. If the wait time estimation is accurate, when you join a line it’s basically saying: “You have an appointment in 45 minutes” based on the current wait time.
That’s why when someone joins a Waitwhile-powered business, they have the option of saying “I want the next available time” (join the line now) or “I want to come on Tuesday at 3pm” (make an appointment). On the backend, we treat these requests the same and combine them into a single list of guests for the business to monitor and serve. Guests with appointments will be moved to the virtual waitlist at the exact time to make it so that they’re “first in line” by the time of their appointment.
3. New Waitwhile API and single-sign on
With dozens of new integration methods and improved documentation, Waitwhile makes it easy to incorporate our queue management functionalities – including wait time estimation models, scheduling functionality, guest lifecycle events, and messaging or ingesting queue analytics – into the existing products and applications of any business through our powerful API.
Recently, Westfield mall needed to build queue management and in-store appointment capabilities into their existing Westfield app in order to keep shoppers and store personnel safe during COVID-19. As Waitwhile customers, they were able to build Linepass and add the exact functionalities needed on top of the Waitwhile API in a matter of weeks.
Additionally, we’ve made Waitwhile more secure by allowing businesses to manage access via Single Sign-on (SAML V2) so that they can use their own authentication mechanism when accessing Waitwhile or using the API.
We started Waitwhile with a simple insight: People spend far too much time waiting in line. It doesn’t have to be that way. The current approach to wait management is mostly analog and clunky. It doesn’t do a good job of actually reducing the wait time by using all the readily available data. We want to see a world where waiting in line doesn’t feel like waiting at all and we believe this is possible with Waitwhile.
We are grateful for all the support we have received from our customers, partners, and investors. Let’s make waiting in line a thing of the past together.