A startup about Food, nothing could make us happier 🙂 When Miikka, the founder of Foodiac, told us about his startup, we just LOVED it. When you think about it, food is a community thing. It
just brings people together, to cook, or to enjoy a nice meal together. It creates good moments. We very much relate it to COWORKIES. Gathering people, to create those good moments and share experiences.
Being a coworker with his startup and the words Food + Community were enough for us to decide on interviewing Miikka 🙂 (Plus, he is a super cool founder, so we HAD to make that interview happen)
Ladies & Gentleman, time to get some delicious content!
Hey Miikka, it’s great to be with you today! Let’s start with a first quick and easy question: can you quickly introduce yourself?
Sure thing, I am Miikka, one of the founder and CEO of Foodiac. I have a business background, mostly in sales and marketing and I am from Finland. Obviously, I am a big Foody guy too 🙂
Tell us about the Foodiac journey. How did you come up with the idea? How did you start the all thing?
We started 1 ½ years ago. Me and my friend Ioni used to run an association around food at university where students could take cooking courses and try food from around the world.
One afternoon, we were in a Sauna in Finland and Ioni came up with the concept. At that time, food delivery was becoming very popular in Finland. We started to think a bit further and we wondered how could we bring a Chef in our house to cook instead of just delivery.
We decided to dig into that idea and we met all the masterchef / Topchef TV winners in Finland and also few very well-known chefs. We got the first 10 onboard quite easily. We developed a very simple webpage with a form that people could fill in and profiles for each chef. At the time, we were handling all request manually. It was quite painful especially when we saw that the business was picking up and we were getting many enquirers.
How did you move forward once you were receiving orders ?
We bootstrapped and decided to build the technology. When the technology was ready, beginning of last year, we started to do more marketing around it. Started to contact investors as well. At the end of last summer we got our first investor on board, when the Finnish business was doing kind of ok by proving the concept. Then after that we got money from the investors, we flew to Dubai, set up Foodiac there and then came here in Germany a month ago.
How many people started Foodiac?
2 of us at the beginning and then we started to look for more people among our friends with tech, financial skills. We took 4 more people on board so we are now 6 in the founding team. 3 of the guys are still on their normal job so they are more like advisers and the 3 others are full-time into Foodiac.
Why did you choose to have a startup in the food “industry”?
Me and Ioni are close friends and we always wanted to start something together. It’s just difficult to start your own business if you don’t have passion for it. As both of us are food lovers, it was kind of a natural road we took. It gets us motivated and we love what we do. Plus we can try amazing food from our Chefs which is a very nice part of the job :).
What were the biggest challenges you faced when you started?
Investors were our biggest challenge. Especially in Finland where the market is very small. Every investor wants you to have revenue, business, traction before they invest money into it. Compared to US or UK where you can get investors with just an idea. We had to put a lot of our own money into it before having our first investors.
If I had to start Foodiac again, I would not start it in Finland but move somewhere else with a bigger market like Germany, UK or even US. If you prove it in one of those market, then it’s easier to make it work anywhere else. Plus you can get investment at a very early stage, which is not the case in Finland as I said before.
And today, what are your big challenges?
Today the big challenge is still money. We are running out of money quite soon, so it’s always hard to make that long term plans or hire people and keep them motivated when you know that you can only tell them that we can hire them for the next 4 months only.
We are currently negotiating for a next round of funding. It’s always nice to hear those fairy-tales on how money should come and how long it lasts, but usually for most of the startups that I know it’s more like you get investment and then you run out of money, so you constantly need to hustle. Our business requires a lot of investment before hand. It’s capital intensive, so we need more investors on board.
How did you find your first investors? Was it easy?
At the moment we have 3 investors, that came on board during the first round. 2 of them are Finnish, 1 is from Dubai. The first one is a well-know Chef in Finland and his is a service provider on our platform too. He was easy to get on board because he sees our business case.
We wanted to enter the Dubai market, so we applied to few accelerators there. We got into one startup accelerator and they put money into Foodiac.
Then we were able to get one VC on-board during the 1st round. They will be investing more money into us in the coming rounds. They were a bit more challenging to convince but we are happy we could get a VC on board at that stage as they are committed in a longer term.
If you had one advice to give to someone who is starting his startup now, what would it be?
Hmmm, good question.
Don’t build too much before having customers and tractions. I have few friends who spent a lot of time spending their money on building a super cool platform but they could not get any customer or the product was not working as expected. Do everything simple for the first half a year and then go to investors and show them results.
If you had to explain Foodiac in a tweet, what would you say?
Market place for #dining and #catering
You are now working from the Rainmaking Loft in Berlin. Is it your first coworking experience?
It’s not my 1st coworking experience. We were in a coworking space in Dubai too.
How do you like it?
In Dubai it was such a good experience that we wanted to find a coworking space when we moved to Berlin. There is bunch of Finnish startups who are offering their space here, so we had plenty of options. But the good thing with coworking spaces is that there is a lot of events happening and everything is provided so you don’t have to worry about internet and so on. There is also people to network with who can help you get different things, so for an early stage startup it’s a good idea to work from a coworking space I think.
What did it bring to Foodiac so far?
Connections to different people. Potential partners and clients. Networking thing has been the main benefit for us.
Last and least, what do you think COWORKIES brings you as a member of a coworking space?
Our concept is pretty international so it’s good thing to be connected to new cities. We can start from COWORKIES to reach out to people and spaces in other cities. You can browse different spaces and get a bit more insight of what’s happening and who are the people inside the space, it saves time and it helps you to make better decisions depending on what you are looking for. Plus it connects you to a lot of people with different focuses. I could also use COWORKIES to find freelancers I need around me.
Thanks Miikka, it was great to have you with us 🙂
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