It was predicted in that 2018 would be the year food startups would bloom, and they kept their promise. With the world of FoodTech becoming ever-crowded, it’s likely that similar ideas and concepts will crop up independently; multiple discovery is becoming more and more common. But as a start-up, what’s the best way to deal with competition? Forward Fooding think it lies in one word: collaboration.
We spoke to the founders of FoodSay, a company with surprising origins which we hope will inspire our start-up community to make collaboration, not war. FoodSay emerged when two start-ups with the same concept met at one of Forward Fooding’s FoodTech Meetups, and embraced their competition by choosing to rebrand and work together as one company. Egor and Jon’s idea blended perfectly with Paurav’s vision, and so the companies came together as what we now know as FoodSay. We spoke to Paurav, Egor, and Jon to learn a bit more about how their stories came to be interwoven!
So where did the motivation behind your separate ideas come from?
Jon: In parallel with each other, everyone had the same idea, with very different motivations. From our side, we’d started to get into fitness and healthy eating, but noticed a gap in the market for technology, whether that be an app or a plugin, which would allow us to apply essentially a filter to help us find places to order food from or new recipes to cook to stay in line with our healthy-eating goal.
Egor: We wanted to create something smart, something that learnt and grew with you. Our vision was to build a solution, which was a real-time food consumption learning platform, that would provide recommendations of the most nutritionally appropriate and goal specific food.
Jon: We quickly realised that our app had bigger ramifications and uses than just those we needed it for, such as helping allergy sufferers, pregnant women, and so on…that’s where the seed kind of started for us.
Paurav: So whilst Egor and Jon’s idea was coming together, my side had been brewing for years. My story is that I’m a diabetic type 1, insulin independent, and have been monitoring the food I eat since I was 12 years old. I wanted something which would help me out, and I just couldn’t find anything which ticked every box for me. When I had foot surgery and had two weeks in bed recovering, I decided to finally pursue it a little bit…and here we are!
So what was wrong with the current options out there at the moment?
Jon: So many of the current platforms for eating out there dehumanised their users — if I go on holiday, or if I have a birthday party, I’m not going to stick to a strict eating regime because I’m a human being and want to live my life, and other apps seemed to almost punish their users for doing that. It sapped the motivation to eat healthy.
Egor: So many platforms also had major de-motivating downfalls, like high costs, or only giving you a set number of meals which, after a few weeks, you’d used up and were hungry for something different.
Paurav: For me, I needed to be able to do three main things: have a one-off entry of food preferences, have a food tracker which would allow me to order food keeping my condition in mind, and be able to use these features to discover my next meal which was both safe for me to eat and that I’d enjoy.
Jon: Often, in current apps, if you say you have an allergy when you’re ordering food, they just give you the number of the food provider to call, and that’s just not a streamlined or enjoyable process for anyone.
How did you find one another?
Egor: Forward Fooding’s connection network — I knew a woman called Alex, who in turn knew Paurav, and we all met at an event. She’d told us ‘you should meet Paurav, he’s doing something very similar to you’.
Jon: We could at this point have got worried; we’d just been told we had already essentially direct competition, and we’d barely even started. But on both sides, we didn’t want that. Paurav was running his side entirely on his own, and his expertise would fit exactly into the skillset we were looking to build.
Paurav: Exactly. It was the natural next step, in our eyes, to collaborate and not to isolate from one another.
So how does FoodSay exist now?
Jon: It’s still early days, but we’ve got big visions for the future. The potential of the app is huge, and could help people with diabetes right through to those with allergies, pregnant women, or even someone who’s just trying to eat healthier.
Paurav: We’re excited to see where the idea goes, but having collaborated together, we’re in the best possible scenario for success as a team rather than as individual companies.
We hope you join us in watching out for the future of FoodSay! You can visit their website here.
The story of how FoodSay came to be embodies the morals and principles which we stand for here at Forward Fooding — meaningful collaboration and connection lies at the heart of all of our actions. Whether that be through our Global FoodTech Map, or one of our events, we want to enable those networking opportunities with established food organisations via partnership and investment opportunities for our community of start-ups. We’re seeing it more and more in the food world, such as in Sainsbury’s collaboration with a number of selected plant-based companies in their meat-free butcher. If you’d like to see what connections Forward Fooding could offer your start-up, feel free to get in touch with us at email@example.com! You can also add your company to our FMCG trends section on our platform to get free visibility within our corporate and investors’ network here.
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