Slice Founder & CEO Ilir Sela

The pizza industry has long been dominated by multinational brands like Domino's and Papa John's, but one small startup is trying to level the playing field. Slice, founded by first-generation American Ilir Sela, is a technology platform created to help independent pizza shop owners succeed.

Sela knows small business owners' challenges, saying his family has owned pizza shops since the 70s. He explains, "Slice exists to help independent shop owners, specifically in the pizza industry, to be in business for themselves, not by themselves."

Unlike delivery apps like DoorDash and GrubHub, Slice's mission is to be integrated into restaurants to help them make money, handle their deliveries, and more. It provides commerce enablement through websites, online ordering with its brand, customer data, and a consumer app. It even has a point-of-sale system that reconciles all these channels. Additionally, Slice recently launched a Supplies product that brings buying power to independent merchants.

The response to Slice has been overwhelmingly positive from many independent pizza shop owners who feel it is a lifeline for their businesses. Slice provides the necessary technology that is both powerful and convenient and allows consumers to order directly from independent shops and shop owners to run their digital businesses.

The pizza industry in America is estimated to be worth around $48 billion, steadily growing. The pandemic has only intensified the desire of consumers to stay home, so delivery options have become more popular and necessary for local pizza shops to survive.

Slice has raised $125 million in funding, with a series C round of $43 million in 2020. Sela states, "There's a lot of room for growth. Again, we work with just about 20,000 shops. There are 55,000 independent local pizza shops in the country today, so we certainly have a lot of room to grow regarding the number of merchants on the platform where we can come in and help."

At the same time, Slice is looking to expand and grow beyond just pizza. There is the potential to serve shop owners of delis, bakeries, and taco shops, but for now, the focus is still primarily on pizza.

Sela stressed putting the customer first when asked about building and maintaining the company's culture. He shared, "Our culture is just thinking about the customer first and leading with empathy. You must think about the customer first to serve them well and ensure you provide them with the best experience."

The goal of Slice is to be the go-to source for all merchants, regardless of the size of their business. Through technology and modernizing the pizza industry, Slice is accomplishing its mission of keeping local shops thriving.

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