We interviewed Andrea Tassistro, CEO of Foodetective, as one of the award winners of Tech Tour Alpine 2021.
How did it all start?
I took my first steps into the Food Industry in 2012, when I started working a student job at Tommi’s Burgers in London. 3 years later I decided to Launch “The Green Van Company” in Lausanne, a burger food truck. We had great success and the company was sold. Then in 2017 the team and I launched “Let’s Brunch” in Geneva, where we organized brunch events and did brunch home delivery. During these 6+ years I witnessed how restaurant systems were great on their own but how fragmented they were when it came to sharing data or being integrated. This led to the realization of a major pain point all restauranteurs and managers face daily: the decentralisation and fragmentation of data across their systems. This is why, in 2019, I decided to stop waiting for the solution and to build it instead.
Why did you decide to solve the problem you are working on?
Businesses commonly use 12+ softwares or apps covering a variety of categories including delivery, stocks, HR, marketing, among other. Foodetective powers restaurants digital transformation through a Unified API. Visually it means eliminating the excess hardware a restaurant uses daily, and centralizing it on a single platform, however what is more interesting is what it means in terms of data. Through a Unified API, not only can they "click and connect" their tech stack without having to invest in time, resources and a technical team but are also presented with a single and intelligent OS. They can manage their business and analyze their performance, leading to an increase in revenues and a decrease in operational and administrative tasks. This way they can better meet their KPI's and can focus on what is most important to them.
How did you find an investor? Did you need some help on the way?
My first investor pitch took place in my living room. I pitched to my father. One cannot underestimate the importance of friends, family and business angels in the first investment round. They are the most willing to lend an ear and to support you to kick start your idea. I read recently that between 35-40% of startup ventures receive capital from friends and family (source). Raising this pre-seed round was ,however, one of the difficulties I faced as at this stage as I did not have a product team or proved traction.
Early on, we joined Station F start-up campus in Paris and since then have received support from different organisations to connect with new investors, to get mentorship and to attend events. These include, Tech Tour, Innosuisse, Fongit, among others. Currently ongoing is our participation in Google for Startups Accelerator: Cloud, we were chosen as one of the 13 participants and receive daily mentorships.
What were you thinking? What were you feeling?
Although I had opened other businesses previously, this one was different because I was stepping into the tech industry. It was great to feel like you are taking full ownership over something and the motivation to see your solution come to life keeps you going. There is, however, an immense sense of responsibility and a steep learning curve.
What were/are the difficulties you faced? How did you overcome?
The Chicken and the Egg problem, while partners wanted a number of restaurants to integrate, restaurants wanted a number of integrations to subscribe. We are overcoming this by opening our API this quarter, which means greater functionality, lower cost and easier implementation for developers.
On the other hand, we have found that our B2C platform Foodetective, a search engine for restaurants in Europe attracts interest from restaurants. Through our basic subscription, a business profile is created increasing their visibility. Our sales and marketing team then does the job of educating the lead on the software features. For example, now that you have showcased your services, why not consider centralized delivery management or are you interesting in any marketing services?
What is your vision?
Our vision is to become the intelligent OS & interface of the F&B industry. We work so that establishments receive actionable insights into their business, and can take all the needed actions within our software. If I were to write a book it would be titled: The Restaurant Intelligence. Showcasing how Foodetective’s technology will have transformed the industry from “pen and paper” to an intelligent online manager supporting millions of businesses around the world.
How are you planning on getting to it?
In our roadmap there are plenty of considerations but I would highlight our 3 P’s. People, Product and Partnerships.
We work with a dedicated team of people. Not all our team members have a background in hospitality, but we all consider ourselves epicureans. We’re all very passionate about building a technology that helps restaurant owners to work smarter, so that they can focus on what matters most: creating great food and an outstanding customer experience.
Our product is in continuous evolution, as we add new features and capabilities. The main focus for us here is to always build with the best practices and scalability in mind.
Last but not least, partnerships. We do not seek to replace solutions, but agnostically partner with existing ones to offer a holistic solution to F&B businesses. Our product is built on partnerships and integrations, so this being a priority to achieve our vision is a no brainer.