Happiness is having homemade food when away from home. Hyderabad based startup Tinmen is providing the taste of home-cooked food by allowing office-goers to schedule weekly lunches. Telugu360 is in conversation with co-founder – Chaitanya who tells us about how Tinmen is ending cravings for homemade food…
How does TinMen work?
TinMen provides variety of healthy and affordable meals for office goers who prefer home cooked food. It is very simple – firstly install our app. Register and create your weekly meal plan by choosing from various food options. Recharge the wallet and click on the start deliveries button. The meals will get delivered at work until you pause or run out of wallet balance. One can order on the website as well at www.tinmen.in/app
Congratulations on the second round of funding. Could you brief us about your funding pattern?
Thank you. Our angel round was funded by the Lead Angel Network in 2016. Last week we raised investment round from MAPE Advisory Group, R. Ramaraj, Co-Founder, Sify, Corvus Ventures led by Mahesh Reddy and our existing investors from the Lead Angels network
Is there any specific reason for having set multiple targets, like growing 10x and expansion?
Yes, we have set multiple targets which will be achieved over the next 12 to 18months. We were initially conservative focusing on profitability and unit economics. These will be priority even while we fast-track our goals.
What part of your startup is outsourced?
We are a marketplace for Home-chefs. Home cooked food is sourced from our home-chefs and we don’t own kitchen. We control delivery but a have hybrid delivery mode while we fully control the operations. We are a core team of eight including tech, infra, customer support etc. and take external support for marketing.
You’ve mentioned that a considerable proportion of the new funding will go into marketing… any specific reason?
We generally don’t do marketing blasts. It is not a traditional product and it is not an on-demand food service. A lot of customer education is required which we have successfully done in the past. Since our inception, we have a number of subscribed users who we might not have been able to serve who we are looking to convert.We know that there is latent demand given the growth we have seen and the number of subscriptions coming through. We need to push into that particular area.
What goes into the process of selecting home chefs?
Home chefs are our suppliers and we continuously build on them. We do a lot of scrutiny for them. Only one in ten get selected from those who apply on our website. We have cut off based on hygiene, quality, quantity and location. The taste is paramount. We have chefs from across cuisines including Andhra, Telangana, Hyderabadi, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Jain, Continental etc. All chefs have a set of standards to follow while we help them with pricing, packaging and marketing their product. We do a pilot run and check feedback from the users. We also monitor the food from home-chefs on daily basis, apart from the validation of market. We also continuously are on the lookout for new chefs who can sign up with us at bit.ly/becometinmenchef
The Home-Chefs of Tinmen belong to middle class and upper middle class. On a broader scale, lower middle class and poor home-chefs need Tinmen more. How would Tinmen address this issue?
Our home-chefs come from different strata of the society. To enable more chefs to come on board, however we have thought of models where we could set up a kitchen where home-chefs will be able just cook and while we provide them with operational support. These are ideas we are yet to explore somewhere down the line.
Do you want to formalize the home-chefs sector?
Home-chefs per se are not an organized industry. Startups as such try to bring opportunities wherever possible where there are unorganized markets. The app which is a marketplace of these many separate home-chefs gives them an opportunity to be part of a larger network and pursue their passion and helps them gain financial independence.
Most of the startups are critical about their operations. Is it challenging for you as well?
Operational efficiency is critical to us, as mentioned, we try to schedule our deliveries so that we can provide that benefit to our customers. Since it is pre-scheduled we have a control on who goes where. That being said, we are also increasing our product offerings in order to increase the efficiency.
What has been the significant change since your inception?
Broadly the principle has remained the same. Creating the marketplace for Home-chefs was the first principle.Operating at efficiency by prescheduling was the second. Otherwise new features and updates is how startups evolve. We used to do lunches, now we do dinners to offices and homes. We have opened up our second hub in the city and now serve from Gachibowli to Begumpet. We are in the process of doing snacks as well soon.