What are the Udhyamis up to today? – Food Mario
By Falguni Basnet
Twelve startups participated in the first edition of an intensive 6-day entrepreneurship guiding programme, the Udhyami Seed Camp. Almost a year since the camp, they have taken off in different directions in terms of building business models. For most of them, the 6-day camp and the subsequent 2 months of follow-up sessions became a stepping stone, packed with information and guidance from experienced individuals. It accelerated their learning process, and helped them come up with polished blueprints of their businesses. Their position in the Nepali and international market today, is exemplary. Today, we start our four-part look back at the participants of Udhyami Seed Camp 2017: Women Edition with Rohit Tiwari and his startup Food Mario.
Entering the Udhyami Seed Camp with an unpolished plan of creating a platform for engineers and connecting them to real customers, Rohit Tiwari, Founder and CEO of Food Mario realized mid-camp, that their revenue model wasn’t clear enough, and they did not have concrete plans to sustain themselves financially. After Udhyami, a completely new business model–now known as Food Mario was prepared.
“During Udhyami Seed Camp, I remember talking to a member about the global food prospect, how online food ordering platforms are on the rise. We noticed that Nepal has only a few online food ordering websites, and all of them distribute food from the same sources, i.e. restaurants around the city. That is when the idea of creating a platform for homecooks to make income out of home-cooked meals was born,” said Tiwari. Not only is this model something that hasn’t been put forth in the Nepali market yet, it is also socially optimal–as it provides homecooks a customer-base and income, and also encourages healthy meal options.
After the Seed Camp, Food Mario started out with only five customers, and it was all done via a facebook group, with a new set menu everyday. After two or three months, the orders started taking off, and now they have 150 orders in average, with 25 homecooks cooking for them. Not only is their new model cost-effective and smoothly-run, but also inclusive. “We participated in the women’s edition of the Udhyami Seed Camp, so it was a given that our previous model was also inclusive. And in the newer model, 95 percent of the stakeholders and cooks are women, while in the core team, there are two women.
“At Udhyami, I met several like-minded, result-oriented startups with a diverse range of ideas,” said Tiwari. For him, the workshop acted like a guide to get a clearer idea on how a business should run, how revenue schemes have to be generated, how we can reach customers, and most importantly, the importance of capturing a niche market and then building customer base around it. Because of the information and mentorship-packed 6-day workshop, Tiwari’s learning experience was sped up, and rather than having to struggle for perhaps a year or two on their own, Food Mario was able to learn from the experiences of leading entrepreneurs.
For the future, Food Mario aims to take up to 1000 daily orders, as well as expanding their company to Chitwan and Pokhara. But their core focus remains maintaining the quality of their products, and receiving good customer feedback.