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This one is from Stefan Power co-founder of Heartier, an online marketplace for fresh local foods, who was interviewed on the 29th November 2017.
Thanks for joining us today Stefan Porter, firstly could you just explain to us what it is you do?
Heartier is an online marketplace which brings fresh local foods and quality-hungry consumers together. We started working with butchers and now count cheesemongers, charcutiers, and chocolatiers amongst our producers. All British and all local.
What makes your business unique and sets you apart from your competitors?
The traditional food industry, especially the butchery sector is really underserved by technology. We use our own algorithm to connect our nationwide customers with nearby artisan suppliers. The quality and taste is so much better than the supermarket.
Can you tell us a little more about your subscription service and how it works?
We have a variety of subscriptions, although most of our customers buy what they want, when they want. Our subscriptions are based around different kinds of customers – some are for families, some are for steak lovers – some are seasonal so a complete surprise!
What is your business background and what inspired you to set up Heartier?
I used to run a buying division with a major supermarket, so I know the food industry very well. I was dissatisfied with the volume and value-focussed supply chain. I wanted to start a business that had a direct and personal connection with its producers.
What would you say is your proudest business moment so far?
I think every Christmas I am very proud. The Christmas meal is a unique family occasion that only comes around once a year! It’s great that our customers love our service so much to share it with their friends and family. It’s humbling to think that tens of thousands are eating Heartier produce.
What have been the biggest challenges as a startup business?
There are many. Understanding your niche, listening to your customers, focussing on the right things and finding the right marketing channels would be some of them. I sweated the small stuff quite a lot in the early days – you learn a lot on the hoof!
Type of financial and mentoring support have you received?
I have raised all of our capital through private individuals. Some seasoned investors, some first-time financers. All my shareholders have the opportunity to invest under the SEIS/EIS scheme. My shareholders are a crucial source of advisory and mentorship, as well as cash.
What do you think the current environment is like for people looking to start-up a business?
It’s as good as ever. Starting a business is not really about the environment, it’s about the idea, the market opportunity, and the execution. If the idea or the entrepreneur is poor, it won’t work.
If you had to give one piece of business advice to an entrepreneur looking to start up - what would it be?
Get outside of your own head. Be headstrong, but listen to those around you. Focus on building a profitable business with a strong bottom line. Don’t chase the top-line for the sake of your own revenue vanity.
What does the future hold - any exciting plans we should keep an eye out for?
We’ll continue to grow. We will be adding more products in the new year and making more of our unique levels of traceability. Thanks for the questions, and don’t forget to try us.
For more details visit Heartier at www.heartier.com
Please note: This interview took place on the MiVentures platform which is owned and managed by Wenta.