Eatro: Bar Segal

The new ‘homemade takeaway’ marketplace plans to capitalise on the sharing economy to empower local home chefs to connect with their neighbours

Name: Bar Segal
Age: 24
Company Name: Eatro
Staff numbers: 3
Location: Greater London
Date Launched: 03/02/2014
Website: www.eatro.com

Tell us what your business does:

Eatro is an online marketplace for homemade food. We connect home chefs with local foodies that are looking for a healthy and affordable takeaway meal.

We want to challenge and democratise the takeaway industry, because we believe that takeaway does not have to be mass-produced, unhealthy and bland-tasting. Corporate fast food should not be the only choice when you step out of your office or home. We want a healthy and delicious alternative to fast food that is homemade and affordable!

Where did the idea for your business come from?

The business idea came from frustration. Our co-founder Daniel Kaplansky would come home and complain about his food choices while at university. It was the same three fast casual places with the same menus. What they offered was mass-produced, low value for money and started tasting bland.

After discussing documentaries we have seen about people offering their home cooked dishes on community bulletin boards in Israel and France, we decided to bring the whole experience online.

How did you know there was a market for it?

Originally we looked at similar and existing models. Websites like shareyourmeal.net have been able to sell over 70,000 dishes in a year in Holland.

With this knowledge we started conducting surveys in different areas of London. The obvious response was that having a healthy and affordable home cooked meal instead of eating at the same place every day was a no-brainer. We also found out there are a lot of passionate cooks in London looking for an outlet to share their amazing cuisines.

What were you doing before starting up?

Daniel Kaplansky was completing his postgraduate degree in investment management at Cass University.

Zifeng Wei was doing his postgraduate degree at the AA.

Bar Segal was working for tech start-ups Facebook chat for Blackberry and Apprank.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

We all come from entrepreneurial families that started their own businesses. In our hearts we always knew we would be starting our own start-up sooner or later.

How did you raise the money?

We raised money by networking and proving our concept worked. We attend and pitched at every event we could and met people who would be able to invest. We were always told to launch our business, prove the concept and then we can talk again. Which is what we eventually did. We launched Eatro, got a lot of media attention, and were able to get our funding.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Our biggest challenge was money. We found ways to become lean and bootstrap Eatro as much as possible. We all moved into one room and started renting out the other two on Airbnb, we started selling food manually to shops on our street, we started hosting cooking classes, we bartered and traded to turn our living room into a decent office and thankfully through all this we were able to launch Eatro.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

We take 12% commission on every transaction. We are also in initial talks regarding other revenue streams that would work with our business.

What was your first big breakthrough?

Our biggest breakthrough was having the Financial Times write a piece about London tech start-ups. We met somebody who liked our idea during a mission to find the best burger place in London. He got us in touch with an amazing FT journalist he had met the previous night. She really liked our story and made a large part of the article about Eatro which was fantastic exposure.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

There isn’t one right way of doing things. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t fit the model entrepreneur that people try to paint. Get the right team, the right advisor and be very active. Also bootstrap until you have an MVP and be flexible. Your goals and product might change as you learn more and you don’t want to spend too much time and money on something that won’t work.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

Through the sharing economy, we believe the Eatro community can empower local, passionate home chefs to share their home-cooked food with their neighbourhood and earn extra money by doing what they love.

Eatro brings together open-minded and innovative people to revolutionise the way we eat and the way we interact with our neighbours. Our vision is to create a thriving community of food lovers that share their passion for home-cooked food all across the world.

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