New food delivery app Supper will help busy professionals bring a healthy, home-cooked experience to their home, according to founder Duncan Scott.
Scott founded the business in 2014, having previously studied economics and worked in financial sales and investment. The service itself was launched in July 2015 and currently delivers to addresses in the South-West London area.
Scott has a background in economics, but after graduating in what he describes as “an awful year” for work prospects he finally left the corporate world behind and started working full-time on Supper last summer.
“I eventually thought ‘you know what this isn’t going to get off the ground unless I do it full-time’,” he explains. “I needed to be able to go to meetings and give it the time to make it work. So I took the plunge, handed in my notice and started on this full-time August last year.”
Scott immediately looked for external funding to get his app off the ground as he felt it was “very important that we got backers in”.
“I didn’t want to be one of those people who thinks they’ve got a good idea and then re-mortgages their house, piles all their money into it and ends up going broke because it wasn’t a good idea.”
The Supper founder did put in a small amount of his own money to get the business to the stage at which it could attract external backing. When the funding did come it was largely put towards synching the three separate apps needed to run the Supper service – one of the chefs, one for the drivers and lastly for the customers themselves.
His strategy for finding the necessary finance was, by his own admission, somewhat basic at first.
“It was just me and a prospectus, which was a bit of a throwback to the darkest days of the recession when people would pound the streets with a CV looking for work,” he says. “I handed it to venture capital firms and private equity firms and anyone else who would take it.”
The difficulty in the early days was that at that point he was asking for funding for an app that didn’t exist yet – a common challenge for entrepreneurs with no physical prototype to show for their work.
But his powers of persuasion can’t have been that bad as he did secure the funding from a “business angel/venture capital chap”.
He also used the SEIS scheme to attract funding, and says it would have been “almost impossible” to do so without the popular government programme. He urges entrepreneurs in a similar position to look into their options in this area.
“My background working for an investment firm, so being on the other side of the coin, meant that I had insight into it. But to a lot of people it’s an alien subject, as is how to get investment in the first place. But the tax incentives under those schemes are so attractive that in some cases that’s the only reason people invest.”
When the funding was in place the technical side of building the app was outsourced to a company in Germany while Scott concentrated on building the brand. And one of the first things he wanted to get across was that the new business would be providing healthy food delivered to the living room.
At first the idea was to open a healthy takeaway but Scott soon realised that wasn’t going to be profitable enough; so the Supper app was born.
Individual chefs submit recipes that are vetted by a nutritionist so that health isn’t sacrificed for taste. And following the model of Uber and Air B&B, quality control is self-selecting as all chefs on the books have their own personal rating that determines where they are to be found on the app’s homepage.
While there are a few new businesses in a similar space, Scott is confident that his business has a strong enough identity to forge out its own niche.
“What all of the new companies have in common is that they’re going for maximum convenience and trying to go high quality,” he says. “What we do is to take those two elements and put it together with the best qualities of the other businesses into one proposition.”
“So with the takeaways their USP is that you get food within half and hour and it’s ready to eat. So we offer that but also the best elements of local supermarkets at train stations, which is that they cater for people who are on their way home and realise they don’t have anything in the kitchen. We tackle that by giving people an app they can use and order something within 30 seconds that will be there when they get home.”
Delivery is currently available in South-West London and plans to expand the business and its reach are already underway. So if you’re looking for a healthy, quick and high-quality supper, Duncan Scott will be hoping that you bear Supper in mind.