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Photo: Help Main Street

In the latest version of its volunteer effort, the Help Main Street project is linking directly to the many small businesses offering their own ordering systems, in an effort to help them avoid giving a cut to various middlemen.

Why it matters: Large, tech-based intermediaries like Grubhub often take a significant cut of revenue, eating into badly needed cash for already struggling restaurants.

Background: Help Main Street began two months ago as a way for people to buy gift cards to support small businesses. Then the volunteer-run effort added GoFundMe so people could donate directly to businesses.

  • With the new update, Help Main Street offers links to the direct ordering pages of more than 30,000 of the 121,000 small businesses in its map-based directory. Help Main Street has about 20 volunteers, mostly from New York's tech scene.

What they're saying: Help Main Street founder Nihal Mehta, a partner at VC firm Eniac Ventures, said the team was inspired to add the component by a viral Facebook post that showed how one restaurant got just $376 in revenue from more than $1,000 worth of GrubHub orders.

  • "That's nuts," Mehta said. "At a time like this you want to help businesses, you don't want to make money from them."
  • Mehta said he encourages businesses that want to offer takeout to use a system like Toast, that charges a flat $50 per month, rather than taking a big commission. For gift cards, he encourages them to use Square.

The big picture: Help Main Street is one of a number of efforts launched by tech investors to help small businesses. Another, Frontline Foods, started by Ryan Sarver, helps feed health care workers and provide business to local restaurants. Others have helped collect masks and procure other needed supplies.

  • "We're really happy to see all that stuff and play our part," Mehta said.

Go deeper

Kim Hart, author of Cities
Aug 15, 2020 - Health

Exclusive flash poll: Parents will lean on family members for help

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Parents expect to rely on family members to help babysit, tutor or tend to their children's needs in the fall as they try to juggle competing demands and uncertainty, according to a flash poll of 310 U.S. parents who are part of an Ipsos-run community panel conducted Aug. 10-12.

The big picture: Parents are facing another semester of tackling the superhuman task of managing virtual education from home while also working.

Aug 15, 2020 - Sports

Trump says he talked to Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence about fall play

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence on June 13. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters at a Saturday press conference that Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence called him about the upcoming college football season.

What they're saying: “...I want college football to come back. These are strong, healthy, incredible people. These are people that want to play football very badly," Trump said Saturday evening. "A great, great talented quarterback Trevor Lawrence called me two days ago; I spoke to him a couple times."

Why learning pods aren't a panacea for remote learning

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Pandemic learning pods — also called microschools or co-ops — are popular options for parents looking to fill in the academic and social gaps for children who will be learning virtually come fall.

How it works: Across the country, groups of parents are pooling resources to hire a teacher, tutor or child care professional to preside over a small cohort of students, direct their studies and provide general supervision so parents can work.