Food Startuppers, never give up!

Marco Porcaro, CEO of Cortilia, gives six tips to all startuppers who want to catch the opportunities of the food business

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Cortilia is the first online market where you can buy local product and handicrafts from local farmers and producers. The unique aspects of this service are the freshness of the produce, the craftsmanship of products and the short supply chain. Everything is delivered to the home using online shopping and a delivery van route optimisation service.

“We match supply and demand” says Marco Porcaro, CEO at Cortilia, “with us you are always sure the produce is really fresh”.

Here are his 6 tips for startuppers operating in the food industry or for those wishing to start a business in this sector.

Differentiate yourself!

Use marketing levers to differentiate yourself. In particular to devise price and sales strategies that take advantage of the possibilities of the web and apply models that are not typical of the food industry in an innovative way. “We at Cortilia for example have devised a home delivery service for fresh daily produce through the use of delivery optimisation software and an e-Commerce subscription model that is more typical for other sectors”.

Promote yourself on social networks

At the moment the use of social media is quite passive. Often it is seen only as a means to promote your goods. We must however know how to stimulate and encourage people to interact with the product and exchange and share consumer experiences. This creates strong customer engagement and generates consumption process vibrancy with your network.

Aim for the global market

Fashion, food and tourism should be the three fields we Italians can identify ourselves with as global startuppers. Food globalisation is extremely fascinating and we should be very credible and convincing. We should aim for this also because it would simply be a new way of expressing who we are.

The three phases of the decision-making process of an investor

In my opinion an investor considers three key elements as well as the idea itself:

Execution, i.e. the person proposing the idea, their experience and their actually ability to carry it through;

Sustainability of the idea: both how interesting it is to the market and its feasibility in economic terms;

Passion and motivation to pursue the idea;

The three ways to present your idea to an investor

Execution: prototype and test your idea on the market without waiting for it to be perfect and measure the effectiveness and efficiency of what you are doing. Apart from demonstrating the actual operating capacity of the idea it will trigger a useful learning process;

Sustainability of the idea: measure what you are doing. “I would never present myself to an investor without having at least set up a pilot project, without at least ten customers and received an invoice and measured the return on 10€ of advertising expenses”. Measuring helps you to give substance to your projections and assure investors that you know what you are doing;

Passion and motivation: show that you believe in the idea, that you have given everything possible and that you have done this in a highly bureaucratic and daunting context like in Italy.

Another very important technique before meeting an investor is to put yourself in their shoes. Ask questions, think like the investor and know how to put yourself on the line.

Never give up!

Never give in to anxiety, and always believe in what you are doing. If there are other people doing the same thing it’s not a problem its simply the confirmation that you are not so crazy after all.