Miquel, previously a Financial Data Solutions Specialist at Bloomberg decided after spending time travelling around Europe, that he wanted to build a site that allowed people who shared the same passion as him in discovering food from different areas, food which not only tasted great but also had amazing stories behind them, he wanted a platform where all those information could be found.
A place where consumers can place orders for hard-to-find foods and get them delivered at home while producers also have a platform that can help them increase sales, promote their produce and gain exposure in front of a highly segmented audience.
I invited Miquel Ros to share the story behind his startup, GourmetOrigins.
Here is the full interview.
Hi Miquel, Thanks for doing this interview with me. Can you give you some background information about yourself?
I am the founder and managing director of GourmetOrigins.com, an online marketplace for artisan and high quality foods.
My background is in economics and management, this is what I studied at university, and before becoming an entrepreneur I have worked in a range of different industries and countries: market research, international trade and also developing financial information products at a major corporation in the City.
Tell me how the idea for Gourmet Origin came about?
My partner and me both share an interest in discovering food from different places, when we travel for example, and we found this was a market where information was very dispersed. So we started to build a site with maps that allowed us to put all this information under one roof.
What were you doing before you started the company?
I worked at Bloomberg, one of the major companies in the financial information industry.
What is Gourmet Origins?
GourmetOrigins.com is an online marketplace for high quality foods and beverages. There is an amazing diversity of really unique foods in Europe but most of them are made by small producers that do not have much access to conventional distribution channels . At the same time, there is an increasing interest for products that are unique and to avoid standardization. Some of the products on our marketplace do not only taste great but have also amazing stories. We would like to facilitate access to these type of products.
Talk me through the first few months of running the business? What would you say was the hardest part of starting the business?
Well, there is a big change in lifestyle in going from working for a large corporation to running your own project. You need to cope with the more unpredictable environment and learn to make the most of your own resources and also to organize yourself well.
How were you able to fund the business?
We got some capital from friends and family first and then got some seed capital from the Openfund (http://openfund.com) and incubator and accelerator of internet projects.
Would you say the initial idea for the company, or that your business model has changed since last year?
We have been iterating a lot, we started with a concept that was more based on content but we then realised there was a opportunity to do direct selling and the market was ready for this so we pivoted to an e-commerce/marketplace model.
What would you say has been some of the most crucial that you've done to build the company to this level now?
Assembling a community of people and companies that have helped us take off the ground, from our early investors, family friends, the people of Openfund, the producers that have signed up and, of course, our customers!
Is the business profitable?
Not yet, but we are not far from break-even.
What’s been your most memorable moment so far on your entrepreneurial journey?
Seeing the first orders notifications in the inbox. And then sending payments to the producers that have trusted us and increased their sales as a result.
What pieces of advices could you give to aspiring entrepreneurs out there?
To not be scared to pursue your ideas, start with something small and be focused and grow it from there.
What can we be expecting from you and Gourmet Origin in 2012?
We are pretty much a project under development, so we expect to add many new features to the site this year, that will make it a more comprehensive platform for food enthusiasts, in particular we are looking forward to add more content back to the site. Gourmet food is all about the stories!