Our latest Startup for 10 is Bristol-based EATE. The business was founded about a year and a half ago as a networking group for chefs and about 4 months ago took a mid pandemic pivot and started developing software to create a better more sustainable food industry. They have a team of 4.
Here to answer our 10 questions is CEO at EATE, Sam Chapman:
1 - In your own words - what do you do?
We are building the first software system and app that allows any food business to take and track hygiene and sustainability records digitally, without any of the fuss of pen and paper.
Basically, to keep the food you produce compliant with regulations, you must take very long winded records that are currently taken using pen and paper almost exclusively. We are gamifying the way these records are taken, while also allowing you to keep on top of your food waste and keep everything stored digitally.
2 - What's the most exciting thing about what you're doing?
It’s quite exciting just keeping what we are doing super accessible for any size of business. 90% of the hospitality and food industry are SMEs, so it's really essential for us to be able to create something that everybody in the space can afford to use.
3 - What are you most proud of so far?
How fast we are as a team. We have somewhat of an unspoken rule that if somebody says they are going to do something, they at least begin the process of doing it that same day. It really fits with our values and our culture. We are all about following through 100% of the time.
4 - What have you found most difficult about being a startup?
I think it's got to be the mental pivot you have to take. It's really easy to start working on an idea and think it's the greatest thing in the world, only to have that viewpoint completely destroyed after speaking to just 1 investor or experienced mentor who thinks your idea is awful or that the competition solves the problem way better than you do. Being a strong founder or co-founder is to be absolutely fixated on being the best at solving your problem.
Finding a balance between being dedicated to your idea, yet also being able to take on board feedback and criticism without it crushing your drive is where the real skill comes in.
5 - What would you do differently if you started now?
Honestly, I would have started fundraising a lot earlier. Everybody tells you it will take longer than you think, so you give yourself an extra 2 or 3 weeks, maybe a month in your timetable. The reality is that raising always takes longer than you can predict, especially in this climate. Founders should always be focused on at least one of 3 things.
Hiring, the product, or the money. What we've realised is, however early you may think you are, it's never too early to reach out and lay the groundwork for when you need to raise.
6 - Where do you think you'll be in 12 months?
Hopefully in a really strong position with our user base. Our focus this year is to get those initial users really passionate about our product and have them feed back to us because they genuinely want to help us improve how we solve their problems.
7 - What tools/people/services/
organisations from the cluster have helped you most?
Nicola Telford who's working on a startup with her co-founder Ozzy called Views For Change. She has been incredibly helpful - especially when we were first starting out - advising us on the very basics. We hadn't even done a business model canvas before we met her! BPEC has been incredible. Not just in terms of fundraising and networking, but also helping us refine our pitch as well as perfect our interactions with investors. Also, UWE entrepreneurship has been amazing help from day 1 with connections, support and even offering us space to work.
8 - What's the best thing about the Bristol & Bath tech cluster?
I think it's how open it is to be supportive of new faces. Before we started EATE and began work on leafe, we had absolutely no contacts within the startup community here. Now we are incredibly lucky to know all sorts of people. Everybody in the cluster wants to intro you to people they genuinely believe will help you or further your goals. It's pretty amazing!
9 - Who will you be nominating for a SPARKie next year?
Probably LettUsGrow - we were lucky enough to get to know them when we were just a networking group for chefs. They are always up for collaboration and just trying new things with their amazing produce.
10 - Where can we find out more about you?
If you are interested in our App and want to sign up to be a beta tester you can check out this site here. If you are interested in our community and reading some great articles and stories about the food world you can check out our journal here.