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Co-Founder and Finance Manager of Ucook a small tech startup that provides ready to cook meals with all the ingredients and recipe on a weekly basis.
Katie studied Maths at University of Cape Town and is a academic at heart, she originally started out studying Engineering and did not complete the course.
She worked at a refugee camp in Africa for some time to get a better perspective on things.
She had time on her hands and started helping with finance on a part time basis.
The Company Journey:
One of the co-founders Dave had seen the concept overseas, with some research and development the brand was launched in 2014 out of a garage and a couple of co founders joined along the way.
The team evolved and specific functions were allocated to each of the co founders
Finance: Katie (Katherine Barry)
Operations and Fulfilment: Ryan ‘Menno’ Brouwer
Technology: Daniel Bleeno
Investors – An investment firm (Silver Tree Capital) allows them to grow much faster than if they bootstrapped it themselves. They share in equity by providing capital and expertise.
Starting from the garage had its challenges in terms of temperature control and logistics to get all ingredients measured out and delivered to clients. They had to figure out their process of getting their product to market.
Analyse the Business:
Logistics plays a big role for this company and they decided to outsource this to a courier company (mycouriersa)
The packaging gets insulated in order for food to stay cold enough for up to 8 hours.
Products get delivered from various suppliers whereby it gets measured and individually packaged for customers.
Unique selling proposition: They provide you with all the ingredients measured out and a recipe to follow to make it easy to cook your own meal.
A luxury product for people that enjoy cooking, targeting a more affluent market of food fundies.
Mainly using Facebook and Instagram from marketing perspective but word of mouth has been the biggest in terms of customer acquisition.
In future they planning to create a blog that will rate restaurants and want to associate that with Ucook website.
Making enough money for each co founder to sustain themselves through the business and not having to go and work for someone.
The revenue model is based on a monthly membership fee that will provide the customer with a weekly dinner kit package. This is the main revenue stream currently but new revenue potential is being explored that aligns with the online business.
The website platform is playing a big role as it provides the store front.
It is important to employ people that has drive because during startup there is more hours that is less rewarding at times.
Reset Scenario: Starting all over with the current knowledge, what business would you start?
Going into sustainable products that can indirectly help people. She is very much a social entrepreneur that want to make a difference in peoples lives.
“Never give up!” as things will get tough sometimes but always ask the following question “Will you be more happy working for a corporate?” and understand that it does not matter where you working there will always be components you don’t like. When the grind is getting you down, look at what you have achieved up to now and use that to propel yourself forward.