Currently bootstrapped, the Bengaluru-based startup helps food brands get a one-stop solution and reach out to potential customers.
At a Glance
Co-Founders: Ankush Dhiman, Kirti Yadav
Year it was founded: 2013
Where it is based: Bengaluru
Sector: Food tech
Problem it solves: Brings foodies to a common platform
The way to anyone’s heart, mind and social media is through food. Food is a common denominator, the only thing that does not arouse negativity or line up the trolls. Food is all about love, and channelling that love is a startup that has everything to do with food.
“There is Facebook for social networking, LinkedIn for career networking, but there is no holistic and complete platform which connects food lovers across the world. One side of the picture has individuals like home chefs, professional chefs, food professionals, or simply foodies, and the other side has food and beverage brands, restaurants, cafes, food businesses, and ventures.
Plattershare aims to connect and unite them as a strong community on a single platform to share the joy and love for food,” says Ankush Dhiman, CEO, and Kirti Yadav, Co-founder, who quit their corporate careers to start up.
From idea to the platter
Plattershare started as a hobby way back in 2011 as a Facebook page and a blog, and transoformed in 2014 into a custom-feature rich website. “Trust, belief and a strong desire to solve the problem of connecting food lovers across the world gave birth to Plattershare,” shares Ankush.
Ankush Dhiman (32), who hails from Shimla and has a Hotel Management degree from IHM Pusa, met 30-year-old Shilpa Jain, (the Co-founder who later moved out), while working at Aon Hewitt. That is when the idea of starting a website for foodies took seed. Kirti, who is now the Co-founder, connected with Shilpa and Ankush over LinkedIn and came onboard in 2013, when the company was registered and started work, and the company was in launched in 2014.
Kirti sees their coming together as the “law of attraction of the universe.” A computer science graduate from HBTI, Kanpur, she has over 10 years of corporate IT experience, working with MNCs like IBM, Target and AIG. At Plattershare Kirti takes care of marketing, connecting users and food businesses, collaborating with industry experts and daily operations, while website and backend development, social media management and content creation are handled by Ankush.
Plattershare has over 20,000 plus registered users on its website and is getting about 90k plus monthly visitors. Most of their visitors come from India and the US. Their revenue source includes advertisements, affiliate links, brand promotion, and content generation for brands. “As a community of food lovers, we work with food-related brands, collaborate with them to create custom campaigns that can be related to new product feedback, brand promotion, getting custom content like recipes, articles and videos,” shares Kirti.
“We are looking to break even next year, but right now we are comfortably bootstrapped,” shares Kirti.
Since they are bootstrapped, it took them a while to build a fully-functional and viable platform. One of the things that really worked were the various contests they ran for recipes, food story, and food photography contests, which attracted users to the platform. Once the user base increased and they began making an impact within the foodie community, brands started approaching them for running various campaigns and sponsoring their contests.
Kirti elaborates, “Our unique programme - BellyNirvana, where food brands send their products for review and get candid feedback from the users, is a great hit as brands appreciate the candid feedback and reach to real and relevant customers. In this program, we profile the users based on the requirement of the brand and distribute the products to them. Everything from recipe development, food photography, review and testimonial writing is provided under one programme. Hence, food brands get a one-stop solution to market and reach out to potential customers.” Some of the brands they have worked include BigBasket, Licious, APIS Himalayan Honey, Cookify, and GoIndiaOrganic.
While itsprimary stream of revenue is from brands, Plattershare also helps foodies, especially who aspire to start a blog but don't know where to start.
A small team
Along with the founders and two developers, Plattershare has a team of associates and partners across the globe.
The core team, despite being based in different cities, works like a well-oiled machine.
Though initially they faced challenges, Kirti reveals, "Ankush and I worked from different cities, and it took a while to understand how to get things going, but we took this as an opportunity and started executing from Delhi and Bengaluru."
Now, the team is based in Bengaluru, and co-ordination is much easier.
Partners work with them mostly to develop content and handle social media engagement, while professional chefs such as Chef Reetu Uday from New Delhi, and Chef Ashok Nageswar from the US help them strategise their campaigns.
While recipe-based websites give it competition, its USP is that it does not put them in the same bracket, but as “social media” for food, it allows people to do much more than just share recipes.
“One of the biggest opportunities which users and followers get on Plattershare is getting to directly associate and work with food brands for various paid activities, which means a lot of recognition and income opportunities for users. In addition, anyone who is associated with food will get to showcase their connection on Plattershare.”
Going forward, they founders are looking forward to scale up and raise funds, but more importantly as Kirti reveals, “We want to create customised features for food and beverage brands, so they can directly connect with potential customers to promote their products and services, while we provide them a collaboration feature, which will help them find the resources they need for their upcoming projects. The same collaboration feature will help the food enthusiast and food professional to showcase their culinary work and skills, and get jobs and opportunities to make an income.”
In short, the Plattershare team wants everyone connected with food to grow.