StartupTalky presents Recap'22. This is a series of interviews in which we conduct in-depth discussions with founders & industry leaders to understand their growth in 2022 and their predictions for the future.
Food vlogging is a type of vlogging (video blogging) where the vlogger creates and shares videos about food, cooking, recipes, and dining experiences. It often includes footage of the vlogger shopping for ingredients, preparing meals, and eating, as well as commentary and information about the food and cooking process.
Food content can range from simple recipes and cooking tutorials to comprehensive food articles and food-related shows. With the rise of technology and the internet, food content has become more accessible and interactive. Many food-related websites now offer the option to order food online, either through their own delivery service or in partnership with popular food delivery companies. This allows users to not only learn about different types of cuisine and cooking techniques but also enjoy their favorite foods from the comfort of their own homes with just a few clicks.
According to various market research reports, the global food delivery market is projected to grow at a CAGR of around 12% from 2021 to 2026. The growth can be attributed to the increasing popularity of online food ordering, advancements in technology, and the growth of the gig economy.
As for food content, the demand for quality food content has been consistently increasing, driven by the growing interest in cooking, food, and wellness. With the rise of social media and the increasing popularity of food-related content, the CAGR of the food content industry is also expected to grow at a significant rate in the future.
For this Interview, we invited, Razia Ali and Hariprasad Shetty, Co-Founders of Blendverse, and we talked about the growth, challenges, insights, and future opportunities in the food tech industry.
StartupTalky: Hariprasad, what does your company do? What was the motivation/vision with which you started?
Hariprasad: Blendverse is a TikTok for food-the consumers who can not only experience good food content but also can relish it with the click of a button. Blendverse is a content-to-commerce Food-tech platform.
The food industry is meant to be an experience, but it has become transactional. Our goal is to revolutionize the industry by introducing content into the mix. We envision a scalable solution that allows users to not only discover and learn about food through engaging content but also order it. The combination of food, content, and technology is the perfect way to bring the industry to the next level.
StartupTalky: What is/are the USP/s of your products?
Hariprasad: Our platform allows you to easily access and discover the best food content from top creators, and have it delivered with just a few clicks. Not only does this provide a convenient way for food lovers to explore new recipes and ideas, but it also gives food creators a way to monetize their content and helps food brands to build their brand and product through immersive storytelling.
StartupTalky: How has the food tech industry changed in recent years, and how has your company adapted to these changes?
Razia Ali: The food industry has undergone significant changes in recent years, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic. Food aggregators have become dominant players, which has put pressure on restaurant margins.
At the same time, there has been an increase in content consumption and a rise in new content creators. In India, there has also been a proliferation of D2C brands looking to build their communities. These developments motivated us to create @theblendcommunity, India's fastest-growing community for food, fashion, and fiction. This journey led us to Blendverse, India's only content-to-commerce food tech platform.
StartupTalky: How do you stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in your industry?
Razia Ali: By working closely with food partners, content creators, and consumers, we are able to stay attuned to the pulse of the market. The creator economy space is particularly dynamic, with trends changing rapidly. Our close involvement in the creator economy and our relationships with top creators have given us a unique insight into predicting trends in our industry.
StartupTalky: What key metrics do you track to check the company's growth and performance?
Hariprasad: The first set of metrics we had set out to capture is around:
- Content consumption:
To gauge the effectiveness of our content, we track metrics such as average buying intent, the order conversion funnel (to identify drop-off points and reasons), and the percentage of content that is watched liked, and shared.
- User stickiness:
To measure the level of user engagement and loyalty, we use metrics such as daily active users (DAU) and monthly active users (MAU).
- Content-to-commerce metrics:
To assess the performance of our content-to-commerce efforts, we track revenue as a key metric.
StartupTalky: What were the most significant challenges your company faced in the past year and how did you overcome them?
Razia Ali: One of the major challenges we faced was attracting the right talent, as it is strong competition for skilled tech professionals. Another challenge was identifying talented content creators and helping them understand the potential of platforms like Blendverse that merge content and commerce.
StartupTalky: What are the different strategies you use for marketing? Tell us about any growth hack which you pulled off.
Razia Ali: We employ a combination of social media marketing and community marketing techniques. As a brand that was born out of a community, our initial audience is both a test group for our product theories and our first source of user acquisition. Once our app launches in 7 cities, we will also utilize performance marketing, including digital and mobile channels, to expand our reach.
StartupTalky: What are the important tools and software you use to run your business smoothly?
Hariprasad: To enhance the ranking of content on our feed and provide more personalized experiences, we investigated the use of newsfeed algorithms and general recommendation systems. We recognize that creating an unbiased, hyper-local, personalized feed is a challenging task that requires significant engineering effort and a long-term commitment. While we have already begun investing in this goal, we have decided to temporarily use a data services provider who also powers the feeds for platforms like SoundCloud and Dubsmash.
In addition, we have started building internal tools for labeling and moderating the
content and data being ingested onto our platform. This is especially important as we onboard more creators, and brands, and increase the amount of content on our platform.
StartupTalky: What opportunities do you see for future growth in your industry in India and the world? What kind of difference in market behavior have you seen within states in India?
Hariprasad: There are vast opportunities for us to explore, as we have only just begun. Content consumption is increasing, and food habits are evolving. India is becoming a global center for innovation, and with its large consumer base and highest social media audience, it is an ideal market for platforms that are powered by creators. The food industry offers a diverse range of possibilities for brands to operate in, and we are optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead.
StartupTalky: What lessons did your team learn in the past year and how will these inform your future plans and strategies?
Razia Ali: As a young company, we have learned many valuable lessons that have helped shape our future plans. One of the most important lessons has been the importance of collaboration and partnerships. We have been able to achieve impressive results through our partnerships with creators and brands. Going forward, our strategies will be centered around the belief that collaboration is the new currency.
StartupTalky: How do you plan to expand the Customers, product, and team base in the future?
Hariprasad: Currently, our focus is on the Indian market, but we have plans to expand geographically in 2024, starting with the Dubai market, which is a hotbed for the creator economy and Web 3.0. We will continually improve our product with new features and expand our team to support the growth of our business.
StartupTalky: One tip that you would like to share with people reading this article who want to get into entrepreneurship?
Hariprasad: Starting a company is less glamorous and more intellectually challenging and purpose-driven than it may seem. It's not about achieving high valuations, but rather about the value that your startup will create. This is what truly matters.
We thank Hariprasad & Razia for spending their valuable time and sharing their learnings with all of us.