Episode #14 – Alex & Jonathan Petrides: How To Create a Solid Foundation for a (Meal-Delivery) Startup
“As much as we could bring the food system back to local, the challenge is still to feed everyone.”
“We don’t want to be just another flash in the pan. We really want to build something that is going to make a really big difference and give us stable foundations.”
Alex and Jonathan (JP) are founders of allplants (lowercase a), a new meal delivery startup aimed at vegans, vegetarians and the growing category of the plant-curious – but the lessons shared in this interview apply to pretty much any startup that aims to be socially responsible and world-changing from the get-go.
They went vegan less than 2 years ago – JP is a fellow member of the vegans converted by spouses/partners club, while Alex took a pretty uncommon path through his then-job – but they spent almost a year researching recipes and pain points before soft launching their business in October 2016.
They worked in the kitchen, as chefs, decorators and dishwashers. Then they designed their packaging and delivery system from the ground up and pulled together a passionate team of people to help them run things – while still bootstrapping. Actually, their entire approach could be a case study on building a lean startup.
Things aren’t that hard to understand when you consider their background. Both have years of startup experience. JP helped run and launch a number of socially-responsible businesses in Africa, like the micro-lending mobile platform M-Shwari and the low-budget, high-value medical network Penda, and Alex spent the last 5 years building the snack brand Propercorn from scratch alongside its two founders.
They are also both big foodies, but more importantly, they complement each other like a good founding team should. Not just in terms of different skillsets. Of course you can imagine Alex would be more familiar with supply and distribution in the food biz, and Jonathan to have experience navigating a new startup through all the early-stage issues (as well as being an excellent dishwash, apaprently).
But there’s also a more intangible feeling of complementary energies when you listen. For this you’ll have to hit play on that big button above or download the episode. And if you’re an investor, listen extra carefully, because I hear allplants will be raising funds soon.
allplants: Main website
Alex’s Medium article on the logic behind eating vegan: Mind Over Meat
The popcorn brand where Alex went from intern to Brand Manager: Propecorn
The mobile lending platform JP helped build: M-Shwari
Kenyan chain of medical centers, also JP’s work: Penda Health
Jonathan Saffran Foer: book Eating Animals*
Blue Apron meal delivery service
Vegan Jobs UK http://veganjobs.org.uk/
Head of Food Operations at allplants: Anna Pinder
…and the culinary institute where she trained: Leiths School of Food and Wine
*This is an affiliate link – purchasing through it won’t cost you extra, but I’ll receive a small percentage of the sale, which I’ll gratefully use to create more great content for this site.
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