Dropping Out and Hitting TechCrunch Is the New Teen Summer Job

Youths are our greatest national resource, and the youth of today are making apps for effortless on-demand junk food delivery. I talked to one, 19-year-old Max Hellerstein, who captured today's tech headlines with his new startup, Push For Pizza.

As the spiffy, surprisingly funny promo video above says, "Yes, it's real." But since when did companies need to start promising that they aren't elaborate practical jokes? Since when did teens start making pizza companies? Since when did Yo stop being idiotic and start being mimicked? I hopped onto Gchat, hoping to impress Max with my teen software fluency, to talk summer jobs. The following has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

MJH NYC

hey man

12:31

Sam Biddle

hey hey

I take it you're based in NY?

12:36

MJH NYC

we're moving!

12:37

Sam Biddle

who is we?

12:37

MJH NYC

We are based out of N.Y

So Push For Pizza is comprised of 5 teenagers

Max (Me), Cyrus, Graham, Will, and Demitri

Graham, Will, and Demitri handle the back end, Cyrus and I are the business and creative

12:38

Sam Biddle

how old are you all?

12:38

MJH NYC

19

12:38

Sam Biddle

college buddies?

12:39

MJH NYC

Cyrus and I actually dropped out early on in freshman year of college

while Will, and Demitri are at MIT

and Graham is at Brown

we are all childhood friends

12:39

Sam Biddle

got it—what made you two drop out?

12:40

MJH NYC

So Cyrus and I are really entrepreneurs heart

we've been working on projects since 2011

our site is 367pro.com, includes a brief portfolio of our projects

but Push For Pizza in a sense is our prime

12:41

Sam Biddle

is this your first app?

12:41

MJH NYC

in other words, we take our pizza very seriously lol

Yes, this is our first app

12:43

Sam Biddle

how long did it take you to made this app, and how much weed-smoking was involved during its development

12:43

MJH NYC

haha

So we began developing the app in January, and since the devs we're in school we basically took a little while just making the thing actually work

then we reached out to Adam at Sandwich [Video]

and he loved the idea, and we just kinda rolled from there

12:45

Sam Biddle

(OK so I'm going to assume a moderate amount of weed, which is probably what I was smoking the last time I ordered multiple pizzas, so no judgment max)

how'd you pay for the video? adam's clients are usually established or venture backed

12:46

MJH NYC

Haha you said it, not me

and we worked out a cash + equity swap deal with Adam, fortunately we were able to pay a smaller amount!

Sam Biddle

yeah he's a pretty prolific guy. OK so you've already handed over some of your equity. have investors talked to you yet?

12:55

MJH NYC

We spoke to one VC briefly a couple months back but nope, nothing major yet

we look to raise some money in the coming weeks!

12:55

Sam Biddle

what do you guys need money for?

12:59

MJH NYC

We are looking to raise money to make a crazy new smarter UI

Card iO implementation, multiple languages

12:59

Sam Biddle

isn't the whole point just pressing a single button and then a pizza comes?

12:59

MJH NYC

and building a backend to begin collecting our own restaurants

12:59

Sam Biddle

or do you want the app to do more than that

12:59

MJH NYC

yes it is, but we want to make that process even easier

and give the consumer more options

12:59

Sam Biddle

ah OK

1:00

MJH NYC

the idea of writing in your CC info is a thing of the past

taking a picture, now, thats cool

1:00

Sam Biddle

how easy do you think you could make pizza ordering? what's the next step after just tapping a button?

ordering from seamless is now going to feel like planning a wedding

1:05

MJH NYC

Yes exactly!

The idea is like, we literally want you to open the app, press the button, and boom, pizza.

it knows what you like to tip

what you like to order

and where you are

geo-location, huge.

We just hate the idea of going through menus

1:09

Sam Biddle

but it seems like you guys already mostly do that already

1:09

MJH NYC

plus people never even like to order through phone calls anyway

1:09

Sam Biddle

so how much easier can it get

1:09

MJH NYC

its such a process

yea, but there are small details that will make it even better

1:09

plus we want to work on growing a huge pizza database

1:09

Sam Biddle

have you ever ordered a pizza over the phone before?

1:10

MJH NYC

yes

and usually is an annoying process

unclear messages

credit card risk

and delivery address risk

this, is all streamline

and getting a loyalty relationship is hard

1:10

Sam Biddle

what about just saying the word "pizza" at your phone, a la google now

1:11

MJH NYC

thats a great idea

1:11

Sam Biddle

I think giving me 5% of the company would be fair

speaking of money, how much do you think Push For Pizza should be worth right now

given that Yo is probably worth like what, $10M? and people are already comparing you to Yo

ballpark figure

(grubhub's market cap is $2 billion)

1:15

MJH NYC

$100 Billion

1:15

Sam Biddle

now you're talking

1:15

MJH NYC

just kidding, maybe, 1 million to start?

We are trying to revolutionize the pizza industry, not sell chicken nuggets

1:16

Sam Biddle

if grubhub wrote you a check for $1 million today in exchange for buying your entire company, would you take that offer?

(ps if you say no you're possibly crazy)

1:20

MJH NYC

I think we'd take it

But my team would have to agree of course

1:20

Sam Biddle

that's smart. why do you think a million bucks isn't considered a lot of money anymore?

I mean even if you divided it with all of your friends, you'd still have a lot of money for a 19 year old

1:22

MJH NYC

this is very true, audi's for the whole team

1:23

Sam Biddle

what made you want to start an app instead of doing other fun teen summer things? I think I spent my whole summer when I was 19 in a pool

then again you are probably smarter than me

1:25

MJH NYC

well we are all just kids who love pizza, and technology

i've been glued to a computer screen since I was 11

well have social lives, and go about jobs and obligations

but this was something that allowed us to free from that a little bit

1:27

Sam Biddle

it's impressive. beats most summer jobs at least. do you have other friends who are pursuing the startup life?

1:27

MJH NYC

Here and there, not really super common

I think people support us

we're getting love on facebook

from all the people who never said anything to use before

so i'm taking it as we're doing something right

1:28

Sam Biddle

and are you going to head west?

1:28

MJH NYC

Not sure yet, I think we really just need to see what the people think, and if they really like the idea

1:30

Sam Biddle

what do you think of Yo?

1:31

MJH NYC

and Yo is super cool

Or has already reached out to us

we're going to be working together on some promotion

1:31

Sam Biddle

do you see him as a competitor in the "click this thing that only does one thing" space?

1:32

MJH NYC

nope, we offer two completely different products, and if anything, work hand in hand

2 buttons are better than one

yo! for pizza

1:33

Sam Biddle

but isn't their argument that Yo can be for anything, including pizza?

1:35

MJH NYC

yes, true, so thats why our goal is to make us the guys they go to to make it happen

1:35

Sam Biddle

Are your parents down with this life plan so far?

1:36

MJH NYC

we've never quite met eye to eye

So originally the plan was to do this business thing until college

I went to college for one semester, a local school called Brooklyn College and that just wasn't for me.

so basically I did that kind of to put a smile on my parents face

more particularly my father

but he's grown to accept my path and respects my place

1:39

Sam Biddle

that's good. parents are hard to deal with sometimes. I mean, I am a blogger. I get it

1:39

MJH NYC

my fathers side is very traditional

1:40

Sam Biddle

How much money would it take you to screw over all the rest of your friends, a la Zuck or Evan Spiegel?

let's say instead of a $1M buyout seamless offered you $800k that you didn't have to share...

1:42

MJH NYC

I don't like that question lol

1:42

Sam Biddle

that question was a test and you have passed the test.

congratulations you are a good friend

1:43

MJH NYC

lol yea man i'm not about politics

showing love, thats the brooklyn way

1:43

Sam Biddle

OK next question: what do you think you will be doing in exactly five years? so, 1:43 pm, five years from now

or what do you HOPE you'll be doing at 1:43 pm, five years from now

1:47

MJH NYC

I hope to be in a really cool office with fancy drinks and ping pong tables and unlimited pizza

and potentially a pizza jet

that would be super cool

1:49

Sam Biddle

a pizza jet? can you explain what that means

1:49

MJH NYC

a leer jet

with our logo on it

used to fly around the world

1:49

Sam Biddle

oh hell yeah

1:49

MJH NYC

maybe, if you are nice to me you can come on it

1:50

Sam Biddle

I'm going to hold you to that

OK last two questions: are you surprised to see giant mainstream tech publications like techcrunch and the verge covering a pizza delivery app with one button?

and: why no breadsticks? c'mon man.

2:02

MJH NYC

A) We are super excited about it, had no idea it would get this big

this quick

really excited to turn the world upside down

and breadsticks, coming soon

If Hellerstein and his friends can sew up that promised breadstick option, he might be able to secure a multi-million dollar valuation before his 20th birthday.