Dedicating myself to Foorban was the natural choice, and I have to say that I haven’t regretted it once.
The site Statista estimates that this year, the food delivery industry will generate $99.7 billion worldwide. It’s a highly competitive sector, where new products and services are popping up daily, and where what really counts is knowing how to stand out. Foorban, a startup launched in 2016, has identified what sets it apart: an integrated offer that covers each step from kitchen to doorstep. The Milanese startup received a seed investment of €500,000, and a second round totaling €650,000. What will the next steps be? We asked Stefano Cavaleri, who founded the startup with Marco Mottolese and Riccardo Pozzoli.
“The focus will always be on the product,” Stefano said. “Our goal is to have Foorban involved at every touch point in the next 10 years. Our clients are business people between 25 and 45 who are on the go and want free access to the service at any moment. We’re working toward exactly that – we want to be with them wherever they go throughout their day, from the airport to the office to when they get home in the evening.”
Foorban is a “digital restaurant.” What exactly does that mean?
We cook for delivery. Our job is to follow the life cycle of a dish: it starts when it’s chosen from the supplier, then we use innovative, technology-assisted cooking methods, and finally we ensure we use the best mode of transportation for deliveries. Our team is composed of cooks, a dietician and nutritionist who constantly offer support, and also my partner who’s been in the food and beverage industry for years. Thanks to that extensive experience in both artisanal and industrial kitchens, we’re now testing dozens of products and cooking methods so we can continue to guarantee the variety and quality that are already reflected in the 700 recipes we’ve created so far. We want to offer healthy lunches that are also tasty. For example, we cook at low temperatures which ensures a better-tasting result, and we avoid deep frying, looking for ways to give certain dishes the same flavors but without all the grease. The products we choose, along with the technology we use, helps us guarantee homemade flavors even on a large scale.
What are Foorban’s numbers like now?
We delivered 5000 meals in June. We’ve been growing by about 20% each month, and the idea is to keep going until we can also launch dinners, in addition to increasing our service within Milan and expanding it to other cities. That’s partially because our current clients are asking for dinners. There are lots of people who work long hours, and when they get home in the evening they don’t have the time or the desire to make food.
What are the new features going to be?
We have a lot of ideas around teambuilding, eating together and upping the emphasis on healthy food. Users want more information, and are increasingly asking about the source of the ingredients in the meals they’re eating. Calorie counts will be available from September, as well as lots of other info, but I can’t tell you any more for now!
We’re working on an analysis with the Polytechnic University of Milan which is showing interesting data. There’s a temptation to immediately go abroad instead of another Italian city. In lots of countries, there’s already an established healthy lifestyle trend, so we may focus on a medium to large European city with manageable mobility. Because for us, it’s important that meals arrive in time so they maintain their quality and taste.
Let’s talk about you. When did you decide to dedicate your life to Foorban?
I worked for Vodafone for 4 years – 2 in finance and 2 in Branding – but after 4 years I decided to follow my entrepreneurial spirit. Foorban was an idea that came out of my own lunch breaks, and the fact that I wanted to eat something healthy instead of settling for pizza or a burger. Dedicating myself to Foorban was the natural choice, and I have to say that I haven’t regretted it once.
What do you think of the world of startups in Italy?
Running a startup means running a business, and that’s no small task. You need a clear, sustainable business model. The world of startups in Italy is varied – some are really structured and well organized with a strong vision, but there are others without such clear ideas.
And the world of investors?
Italy doesn’t have a consolidated structure like America does, but at the same time, there’s an entrepreneurial network that is starting to take interest in startups. For example, our capital comes from investors, and this is surely an encouraging sign for the future of companies that have an interesting idea but need a boost to be able to make them happen.