[Startup story] Foodobox | Rubik Garage Accelerator 2022 Batch
August 17, 2022
First of all, we would like to know who’s behind the keyboard.
Hi, Rubik Hub! My name is Jane Dimitrova, and I am one of the founders of the mobile app Foodobox. In 2021, I graduated from Unitelma Sapienza in Rome. I have always been passionate about sustainability and food waste was an issue I was eager to tackle. My young entrepreneurial path led me to my co-founder Velin Kerkov, and together we created Foodobox, the first mobile app in Bulgaria fighting food waste.
Tell us more about Foodobox. What problem do you solve? Who’s your audience?
Our mobile app gives end users the opportunity to eat something nice for less money, and with a good cause on top of that! Usually, our customers are young people, who are not driven by financial reasons to purchase leftover food, but instead they have understood our mission and vision and are keen on supporting us. Many of them have lived abroad and used similar apps and are happy to see a Bulgarian startup bootstrapping itself into growing as big as the Western apps.
What motivated you to create this startup? What’s your „why”?
I lived abroad for some time and kept seeing a pattern of consumerism, which is very prominent in developed countries. The more you have, the more you want to consume, despite the fact that you actually need much less. This happens in almost all industries and is evident in the mountains of waste we are seeing. Food is one of the resources I see is wasted, and the process of rotting causes additional CO2 emissions that are harmful to our planet. In Bulgaria, we might not have a problem as big as in other countries, but we can definitely strive for zero food waste.
How is your startup different from competitors?
Our startup is the first one to tackle food waste in Bulgaria. It offers both businesses and end users of the app to be more responsible consumers and to change their impact by taking small, but persistent steps to avoid food waste. We go beyond the role of a middleman platform and offer a lot of useful resources and content for people interested to learn more about sustainability. We have organized several live events with other green and eco-friendly businesses as exhibitors, and the local communities have enjoyed those.
Do you have a team supporting you in your mission?
I have one co-founder – Velin Kerkov, who is the CTO of the startup. He is responsible for the financials and all technological aspects of the platform and the improvements within it. I handle Business Development and Marketing. We have a small, but very capable and highly motivated team of 8 people. Some of them are still university students, some are professionals with diverse and rich experience. Above all, we treat each other with respect and trust, and this is what makes our team a really strong driver for our current and future development.
What are the biggest rewards of being a startup founder?
Some of the biggest rewards are to see the positive reviews our app has on both Apple App Store and Google Play Store. It also makes us very happy when our partner restaurants tell us they have really reduced their food waste since they started working with us. They have optimized their resources better and are at peace knowing that Foodobox is there to help in case they have some leftover food.
On the contrary, what are the biggest challenges?
Some of the biggest challenges are entering the smaller towns in Bulgaria, as the concept of saving food is unknown. Most people living in smaller areas are also experiencing trouble with adopting new technology and how it can help their life and be good for the planet too. We try to educate people and show them all the benefits of working with us so they can make an informed decision.
What made you apply to our accelerator Rubik Garage?
I really liked that Rubik Garage is open to startups from different countries. It feels like an international forum of young changemakers that are ready to take over the world. I applied because I constantly try to improve my skills and knowledge, learn from best practices introduced to us and work with successful people who are our mentors. This experience will help me construct valuable friendships and build partnerships that will be valuable in the future.
What are your top 3 learnings of the acceleration program?
My top 3 learnings are that being open-minded and innovative is easy when you are surrounded by such people. That success comes after investing a lot of time and resources, including those of other people. That the entrepreneurial mindset exists in everyone like a muscle, just some people choose to develop it, while others ignore it and we decide which type of people are we.
What do you like in the Rubikorns Startup Community?
I like how open-minded and friendly everyone is, and that we receive a lot of support from the organization and mentors as well. Seeing and talking to other young entrepreneurs helps us keep our minds innovative and sharp. Bouncing ideas around and looking for strategic partnerships are two of the greatest benefits for us to be part of the community.
What are your plans for Foodobox for the next 6-12 months?
We are working on opening a new market. Which one, that will be a secret for now, but it will be revealed on our socials once we are ready! Our first round of investment is also complete and we are preparing to begin the second round, and this is a good opportunity for investors to support us in our scaling stage. Of course, this will lead to the expansion of the team as well, hiring new people, and using our popularity to continue educating people on sustainability.
What message do you have for other startup founders?
Don’t give up on your ideas, especially if they keep you up at night. There will always be challenges and difficulties, but not trying is the worst choice you could make.
What is your special power?
My special power is different according to whom you ask. 🙂 My co-founder thinks I am great at public speaking and being open to new things. My team thinks I am a good leader, who has an incredible amount of patience and endless optimism. I, myself, would like to think that my special power is building a startup in Bulgaria from scratch.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
If you like our mission, please support us by following us on social media, it means a lot. And as always, we are open to ideas and collaborations with everyone, just send us a message!
Stay tuned to discover the story behind the other startups from the Rubik Garage accelerator! #WeAreInThisTogether
Rubik Garage is an equity-free acceleration program aiming to support startups from CEE. We are helping early-stage startups get to their first paying customer, raise investment or go international.
The accelerator started with a Founders Bootcamp in Piatra Neamt. Four months of acceleration will culminate with a Demo Day in September, where startups get the chance to pitch their startup in front of investors. For the most motivated teams, the journey will continue in the next 6-12 months – our team will offer their full support to help them raise an investment round.
If you want to pre-apply for the next Rubik Garage edition, complete this form and be the first one to get the chance of starting their acceleration journey!