StartUs Presents: MittagsMonster

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It's lunchtime & you're hungry again? Michael Ionita-Ganea from MittagsMonster explains how to find lunch close to you & what makes the service unique.

Describe MittagsMonster in 50 words or less.

The Monster finds all lunch deals in your proximity and sends them to you daily, at the right time for lunch.

Why did you decide to pursue your own dreams rather than someone else’s?

It’s in our blood. We were born like this, there is no moment when our heads don’t think about how to make the world better and improve life. Now it’s the time for MittagsMonster to help fill your belly at lunchtime. I built and sold my startup RealLifeConnect in 2014. Alexander comes from WhatAVenture which helps corporates implement startup methods to accelerate their innovation projects and their businesses. We both are very well connected in the startup scene and love to help and build.

7 years from now: How did your startup change the world?

Our startup helps you find lunch and breakfast in your proximity, we have all this data and share it via APIs and widgets with portals, news papers and blogs. Our users can order lunch and breakfast and pick it up or get it delivered into their offices. All this without touching cash, just order and eat, the money is booked in the background. We make everyone’s lives easier and fill in today’s gaps. But our plan is to sell the company and its data within 3 years. There are several exit partners we are already in touch with for the first step: “cooperation”.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

Success for us is to make people happy at lunchtime. Our goal is to have 100% coverage of all lunch and breakfast deals in every major city in Europe within the next 3 years. The goal for Vienna is 10k users per day using the service. The next step after that is to exit to one of our partners and grow bigger together.

Currently we are on a good track, we are number 1 in Vienna which is our starting point. We have hard goals we want to achieve, our daily KPIs keep us pretty focused and running … and hungry!

Describe your typical working day from coming to the office to leaving it.

Alex is the technical co-founder. He makes sure that the menus are imported accurately and integrates new restaurants daily to increase our coverage. He also manages our APIs and widgets and the website

My job is to market the product and let everyone know about it. I’m busy connecting with blogs, newspapers, tv stations etc. and let MittagsMonster look good. Apart from StartUs Magazine, we’ve also been covered in other media already.

Already pivoted? Did customers use the search engine for lunch deals like you imagined it in the beginning?

We are still experimenting with the daily-lunch-subscription as the conversion could be better. But other than that we are still doing exactly what we planned. Seems we are lucky as users like and use the service.

We do get a lot of feedback to improve the service with new features. We will!

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

Bootstrapped! We invest our own funds into the startup. It is not an expensive idea and mostly lives and grows with our own engagement. We don’t plan to make any money investment because it is not necessary.

With ferocious competition and a booming trend to build new companies: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

Surprisingly all of our competitors seem to have selected the same approach to the lunch deals product: they get in touch with each restaurant and ask it to upload the menus weekly into their system. This isn’t working, because the restaurants are too busy and forget which makes their users unhappy with the coverage.

Our approach is the “Google approach”: we fetch that information from the restaurants’ website so the restaurants don’t have to do more daily work. This makes us infinitely faster than our competition and our algorithm is learning daily how to fetch lunch deals fully automated which drives fast growth and perfect restaurant coverage.

Focusing is easy, every day at lunchtime we feel motivated (and hungry) to further push MittagsMonster!

What do you look for in team members?

Currently we are 2 people leading this project. Our team is small and consists only of remote mechanical-turk workers which double check menus from high profile restaurants. Other than that we currently don’t have the need for a bigger team.

But when we will hire we will look for these qualities:

  • mastery of skill
  • honesty
  • autonomy
  • openness

Why would a talent join your team?

Because we are awesome! This is what they teach you to say, right?

Because they love lunch or breakfast, because they like working with serial entrepreneurs and because they have the fire inside we need to make the next 10 steps.

What was your most memorable moment so far?

That was when we sat together in a tv studio talking about the MittagsMonster live: After that show we felt like we are on to something big together. We got such positive feedback from the viewers and we saw traffic rising.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

  1. Show your product as early as possible to your customers/users and look into their eyes while they are using it.
  2. Focus and don’t do 2 things at the same time.
  3. If you need seed funding, 100k is NOTHING! Think about salary costs and taxes in Austria.
  4. Don’t be cheap with equity – 50% of 0€ is 0! Give smart people equity to be able to succeed. Take 1-2 advisors into your company, give them 1% each.
  5. Don’t wait for your investors or advisors to do anything for you! Tell them what you need and invite them into your office for a workshop and make them write intros and call people during that workshop. It doesn’t work otherwise.
  6. Be relentless.



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