We are back with our column Startup Talk. Today, we are presenting our interview with the founder of FoodSome. How risky entrepreneurship is? How did he manage funds? How is he planning to compete with giant competitors like Zomato? Find out everything in our conversation with Devang Parekh.
Who is Devang Parekh? Introduce yourself.
As born and brought up in Surat, I love food, travelling and music. I completed my engineering in 2008 and started my career as a web developer in a private company. Eighteen months later, I went to Mumbai to earn more money. I worked in Mumbai for almost two years. Meanwhile, during my job in Mumbai, I founded Pixml Solutions as a freelance business. When it started growing good, I came back to Surat and started it as a full time business on 1st September 2011. Working for three different companies in three years helped me a lot to learn new culture, people and system.
Tell us about your app FoodSome.
FoodSome is a product of Pixml Solutions. It’s an online portal which helps users to know more about restaurants in their cities. People can find restaurants based on categories, locations, cuisines, budget etc. We started its development in early 2013 and launched it in January 2014 for Surat city. Initially we were planning only for website but we also developed android & iOS app.
Why did you choose business over job & how did you start your business?
Business was always in mind since college time. In my job time, I was lucky enough to have direct contact with company founders. I learned a lot from my two bosses, Ashvin Savani and Rishi Modi. During my job in Mumbai, I did a 3 days course “Landmark Forum”, which sparked a light inside me and helped me to take bold decisions. It is always advisable to start your career with a job to gain experience and to know about current trends in the market. After enough of experience, you can choose to start a business.
How much time and money did it cost to initiate this venture?
In FoodSome, we spent almost 8 months in research, designs & development. We invested almost 20 lac rupees in 8+12 months to develop this product & its marketing. It’s all my personal savings; not a single penny from investor.
How did you manage initial funds?
After first release in January 2014 to January 2015, we invested large amount of money and after so many version updates and new functionalities, we came on the right track to expand in multiple cities. Market research is the most important thing while developing a product. A new product doesn’t generate revenue for initial one or two years. Even in FoodSome, our earning is negligible compared to investment. Now I am hoping it will start giving fruits soon.
How big your team is?
We have two developers who work on FoodSome, one marketing person for Surat, one for Vadodara and one for Vapi- Daman. We are expanding in 5 cities before 30th June 2015. I am developer, designer and content writer at FoodSome.
How FoodSome is different from competitors?
There are always similarities in similar products. Only few features keep you apart from competitors. FoodSome was initiated by basic functionality as to search the Best Restaurant in the city. But as market needs, we keep adding new functionalities in our app. Book a table, order online, party venue booking, outdoor caterer booking – these are the upcoming features, which you can find individually in competitor’s app but not in single app. I am fortunate that my app is scalable enough to adopt various changes very easily.
What are the biggest challenges of starting up a business?
Funding and marketing are real challenges for every new business. Our initial thought was, in 6 months we will cover our ROI. But it took us 16 months to find perfect revenue model. I can make 100 different apps with unique functionalities but the most important thing is ‘how will it bring the business?’
What keeps you motivated?
For me, FoodSome is like a bird giving golden egg. It has earned me respect; which is necessary to keep me motivated. When you go to a new place and a stranger come and ask, ‘are you Devang from FoodSome?’ is really an amazing feeling. My vision is to have FoodSome in 20 cities of India. Long term goals keep you away from frustration of short-term failures.
Long term goals keep you away from frustration of short-term failures.
Which are your favourite books and movies?
I usually don’t read books. I have read “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”, “The Monk Who Sold his Ferarri”, “Jai Ho” & currently I am ready “13 bloody steps to good luck” by Ashvin Sanghi. My favourite movie is “Rang De Basanti”.
Where do you see FoodSome five years down the line?
In five years, FoodSome will reach in 20 big cities of India. I haven’t think about foreign countries but it will surely reach to 20 major cities across India.
How will you compete with giant competitors like Zomato?
Zomato is baap of every food related apps. There is no comparison of FoodSome and Zomato. FoodSome has its own audience and users for its ‘all-in-one’ functionality.
What advice would you like to give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
People always give a reason that they are not finding a good idea to start any venture. My advice would be to just think of any idea and start. Business will change 360 degrees to the way you have thought it before. The key is to keep improvising yourself as you go along in line with the changing market dynamics. The passion to make it happen is what gets you win.
Another important thing (which I missed), you must find a co-founder with similar passion and vision as of you. It will help of you to keep you focused and on right track.
Lastly, always have at least one survival plan. As I stated, it took us 16 months to find perfect revenue model. Market doesn’t work as per our expectations; you have to adjust as per market trends. If plan A fails; you must have plan B in mind.
What’s your opinion on BuddyBits?
I always appreciate something unique and creative. BuddyBits is the first of its kind e-magazine from Gujarat. So sooner or later, it will go national. And people would love to read your articles all over India.
Well, thank you so much Devang for your words. We wish you all the best for all your future endeavours.