Last Updated: By TRUiC Team
Phoode® is a digital, global marketplace, network, and search engine startup connecting food creatives and professionals with prospective clients.
Interview With Marta Fowlie
Describe your product or service:
“Marketplace + Network + Search Engine”
Describe your company values and mission:
“Vision: To become a globally recognized, must-use, profitable, highly reputable, professional, and enduring service for food creatives and clients that evolves with generations and serves with purpose.
Mission: To provide the food-creative community with a single one-stop platform for showcasing, sourcing, inspiring, connecting, educating, and hiring food-creative talent, products and services.
Values: Innovation, relevance, creativity, efficiency, precision, convenience, value, purpose.”
How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.
“Self-funded, currently looking for investors.”
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
“One founder (myself), four freelancing team members + hiring freelancers as needed.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“I have always been a problem solver, and my mind is very analytical. Wherever I've worked (project or job), I always looked at how things could have been improved and streamlined. I am a very independent, analytical thinker and naturally build models of everything in my head.”
How did you come up with your startup idea? How did you decide to actually act on the idea? What gave you confidence that you were on the right track?
“I have been working in the involved industries as a food creative and realized that the market lacks organization and is rapidly changing, causing a lot of confusion and frustration. No one came out with a functional formula that would address changes. I saw a huge opportunity to correct that as well as knew that the market opportunity ($ size wise) is big enough to take a risk. I sold my house and did it!”
How did you come up with your company name? Did you have other names you considered?
“It was a long shot, brainstorming with creative peers and other people. The word Phoode came out of a combination of three words that relate to the subject matter of my startup: food, photography, design.”
What is the greatest challenge you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?
“Wearing 500 different hats at once and non-stop learning new things (never stop) is challenging and draining at times.”
Who is your product or service made for? Who is your target market?
“Phoode is a global network and marketplace where all food industry clients can take care of their >$100 billion worth of product/recipe development, design, advertising, branding, editorial, entertainment, and other needs via processes as easy as scrolling on Pinterest.
Phoode aims to serve the two sides of the food-creative relationship: Creatives who produce creative content and services focused on food, and Clients in the food, advertising, creative, and publishing industry who hire food-creative talent.”
What's your marketing strategy?
“Combination of social media strategies (both: paid and organic), strategic partnerships, PR, developing engaging features, direct marketing, reputation, and branding.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“Organically, they stumbled upon and loved the product.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“INn MVP: User growth and engagement (time spent on the platform and bounce rate), service and customer requests that prove product-market fit.”
What's your favorite entrepreneurial book and podcast?
“Podcast: ‘Masters of Scale’ by Reid Hoffman
Book: ‘From Scratch: Inside the Food Network’ by Allen Salkin; ‘Creativity, Inc’ by Ed Catmull”
What is the biggest lesson you learned during your journey?
“Surround yourself with people smarter than yourself.”
Who is your support system?
“Friends, books, online publications, [and] my startup users.”
How do you stay motivated?
“Work on spiritual life and take care of mental health. Rest is just as important as work and allows [me] to put things into perspective and find solutions that are impossible to find when we are too busy and overwhelmed.”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“Reflecting on mistakes and studying self-help books and publications.”
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
“Being able to constantly follow through.”
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