Restaurant aggregator app startup helps customer match their food preference. Sandeep Sangli was fond of his beer. He went to a local pub in Bengaluru, India. He liked the beer and its flavor. He liked it so much that he wanted to gift it to his friend. The option available to him was to buy a pint and personally take it to his friend’s home. But his friend is located out of Bengaluru.
The other option was to send his friend a note recommending the pub. He did not like that idea too. He wanted his friend to enjoy the drink and he wanted to pay for it. There was no mechanism for him to do that.
Akshay Ananth was a friend who worked in the same advertisement and marketing firm as Sandeep. Both wanted to start something on their own. They wanted to be their bosses. Their innovation and can-do spirit were not getting the space they wanted as employees. They were bubbling with energy. They had also saved a bit of cash over the past six or seven years. They were both fond of food, beer and the startup city of Bengaluru, India.
They discussed the beer pint dilemma over a pint or two. Finally, they concluded they would build a voucher gifting restaurant aggregator app that would help them a gift to their friend food, drink, and even a spa experience.
This was a couple of years back. The idea of the Easter egg was thus then born. Akshay Ananth, the CEO of the Easter egg startup – the restaurant aggregator app owner, narrated this story to me when we met in Bangalore last month. As Akshay spoke, I observed how simple the idea was. It addresses a simple need.
The need for good food is universal. Not all can afford to go to a Michelin-star establishment. And we want to share good things with friends, lovers, family, and bosses or for fun.
Having spent decades in the technology industry, I notice so many people wanting to break out of the day in day out of coding, traveling on planes, spending weeks, months, and sometimes years far away from home in alien cities doing the same job over and over again. Many want to start something on their own. They want their creative juices to flow freely. They want to be free to create, build something new and enjoy success, failures and pitfalls.
There were nearly 500 such entrepreneurs of all ages from students still at university to others who have spent a decade and sometimes more in the tech industry. There were a few things common among this group of unique people – zest, drive, innovation, and never say die spirit. They were all bubbling with new ideas.
Not all of them will succeed, though. It is not just a good idea; funds, great technical skills, or even great bookkeeping capability make a business grow. The company has to be customer-centric. The leader should have management skills, the ability to select the right people, and surrounds himself with people smarter than him and with different skills and capabilities. Above all, leaders should know how to lead and get the best out of the team.
Ananth and Sandeep probably fall into this category. They have collected a team of hackers and web experts and have created an app. I met the team in their office in Bangalore. The atmosphere appeared relaxed. People were working on their own. The overall environment was busy but not oppressive. This team seemed to have a good chance of succeeding.
Ananth has incorporated his restaurant aggregator app startup in Singapore. He found the incorporation of his company in India too bureaucratic. I was told that things are improving now with the increased emphasis on startups from the Narendra Modi Government of India. Ananth was hopeful of getting the India company incorporation concluded shortly.
The entire development of the restaurant aggregator app has been done in India. While the business climate in Singapore is superior, the availability of a quality tech workforce at reasonable prices is much better in India. Easter egg is a 17 people-strong company, and that includes the founders.
The restaurant aggregator app development has taken six months. It has been built on an open-source platform. The core development team is eight people strong. Two of the developers are working for the venture pro bono. They, too, find the Easter egg business model exciting. These two have been given a stake in the company.
The restaurant aggregator app will be available on Android, IOS, and web platforms. The launch of the app will be done in Singapore in April. Payment gateway Stripe has been signed on in Singapore. For India, multiple payment gateways will be incorporated into the app. This will be done as soon as India’s incorporation challenges are sorted.
Forty-six quality establishments in Bangalore’s food, drink, and spa segments have signed onto the platform. Vendor partners have been selected based on their customer ratings and the personal recommendations of friends. Twenty-six vendors have joined in Singapore too.
To maintain exclusivity and ensure only quality vendors join, Ananth and the team have decided to limit the number of vendors that can sign in a city to 100.
The revenue model is a commission from sales. The company is looking to expand the service to Dublin and London by the end of 2016. The founders have currently invested in the venture from their funds. They are scouting for funding. The ingredients for success are all there. I would love to stay in touch with this team and see how far they go.