This week, HEConomist meets Foodetective, an online platform for foodies, by foodies which promises to revolutionize the way in which we seek out the best places to eat and drink. Honest reviews, trustworthy taste buds and tailored recommendations: they know what they’re talking about! Exit culinary disasters and hours spent searching, Foodetective seeks out the finest places just for you.
So, stop settling for average: check out their app and start indulging!
Tell us a bit more about yourselves, your backgrounds.
We are both big foodies, entrepreneurs and we love technology.
Andrea: After a first successful entrepreneurship project out of high school, I went on to study entrepreneurship at Westminster University. I then co-founded Green Van in Lausanne and founded Let’s Brunch in Geneva. I now focus full time on Foodetective.
Bernard: I studied at EPFL which is when I started my first company Jooce, a digital agency focused on web development and digital marketing. I am currently doing my PhD at UNIL and work for Jooce and Foodetective.
What inspired you to create Foodetective?
Andrea: During my past experiences in hospitality, I encountered two major problems: fake reviews and the need to centralize all online services onto a single platform. There is a lack of personalisation of the user experience in foodtech, offers need to be more tailored.
What challenges are user-generated content-based platforms facing? Is demand shifting back toward expert advice?
People don’t want bullshit anymore. We try not to have UGC but PGC (professional generated content): not anyone and everyone can write on Foodetective.
With giants already present in your sector, what is your strategy to penetrate the market?
Creating better content. We’re smaller but better. All you need is 5000 users to start growing your community: if your product is good and user friendly, people will talk about it. In a way, early birds do the job for us in the beginning. And we still have a few tricks up our sleeves for when we reach a critical level…
How did you go about financing your project?
We had two financing rounds: a first seed round in January 2018 and we just closed our second round recently, 3 weeks ago to finish the product. Initially, friends and family supported our project, then angel investors.
How do you recruit your trustee detectives? Who are they and how are they trained?
Our detectives are passionate about food and showcase a strong interest for the food industry (for example they have a blog, are present on social media). We have created an online training for our detectives in which we explain what kind of content they have to produce for their audience. We rate restaurants according to our “six pillars review” method which weights factors according to their importance: for instance, food is more important than concept.
We are actively Foodies at the moment so if you’re interested, reach out to us!
What are the future milestones for Foodetective? How can we expect to see it grow?
We are currently looking to add features such as bookings, deliveries, take away and payments. Our goal is to reach 100’000 reviewed restaurants on our platform by the end of next year and to expand into new cities. All of this, of course, while grow our foodie community.
Where do you see Foodetective a few years down the road? Have you thought about diversification?
We’re thinking about it, but we want to do it well. We need to grow before we expand into other areas, however we will always keep our focus on hospitality.
If you were to start over, what would you do differently?
When you do software development, you always realise afterwards which priorities you should have put first. I would probably have set priorities in the project differently. But in the end, that’s how we learn.
What advice you would give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Andrea: Be paranoid and never back down: it’s just a matter of holding on to what you believe in. If you keep going, it happens. When we thought it was over, we fought and that’s when things came. People quit too early. Nothing difficult comes easy.
Bernard: When there’s competition, there’s a market.
A big thank you to the team at Foodetective for taking the time to share their story and project with us: Andrea Tassistro (Co-founder & CEO), Bernard Moret (Co-founder & CTO), Romane Bôle (Project Manager), Eugenie Fontugne (COO), Sara Dubler (Marketing)!