Online marketplace Gourmetiz has recently launched, giving European food lovers direct access to and information about quality products hand-picked by a trio of cyber pimpin’ connoisseurs (pictured). Set to rival the likes of London startup GourmetOrigins.com (which launched in August, 2011), the Berlin-born business is still in its early days with promising potential. Think of it as your Etsy for gourmet food. VentureBeat’s Berlin-based syndication partner VentureVillage caught up with co-founder Cyrille Gattiker to find out more.
Who are the founders?
We are a busy team of food scouts. We talk about food, love to eat and cook. A few months ago, we set out on a quest for Europe’s best artisan food products. With most of the team based in Berlin, we spend our days contacting Europe’s small scale food producers, discussing their products with them, tasting their latest creations, and developing a way to help them sell. Gourmetiz is an online platform for the sale of European artisan food products.
Laura Heymann was at the origin of the idea and business model. She led Gourmetiz through its first steps, its first financing round, and now deals with the legal and financial side of the business.
How did the idea of Gourmetiz come up in the first place?
CG: We’re all avid Euro-travelers and passionate foodies who spent our university years roaming the roads of Europe, by bike or on foot. Though European sceneries are stunning, we’ve figured that much of the pleasure of traveling Europe comes from the stomach. Our bags filled with culinary treasures, we’d come back home and stocked up for a year on unique products. As we started to work, we realized that there was less time to travel and less time to stock up, and figured: Why not find a way to create some sort of culinary adventure at our doorstep? That’s how Gourmetiz was born.
What makes you different from everyone else?
CG: We can’t say we’re the only ones on the online food market. We are, however, the first to make the online artisan food market European to make use of the free movement of goods. The point that makes us truly unique is not in our business model. It’s in who we are. We are truly passionate about food and about human relations. Which means we take the time to select each and every product sold on Gourmetiz, and the time to get to know each and every food producer. We are available to assist them through every step of the journey, making it easy for both the producer and customer.
We aren’t just an online artisan food supermarket. We are a platform on which producers keep their identity, and foodies are led to discover new culinary marvels while they shop for products they already know.
What is your business model? And how big is the market potential?
CG: The Gourmetiz business model is quite simple. We coach producers on how best to sell online. We help them set up a shop. We make it simple for customers to access unique products from all around the European Union. And we only get paid when a producer sells. Gourmetiz takes a 10 percent cut from of every sale made via the site (excluding shipping costs). It’s as simple as that.
The market potential for Gourmetiz is huge. We are convinced that a foodie hides behind each and everyone of us.
Who is financing you?
CG: Gourmetiz won a Swiss venture competition a year ago. The money from that competition helped us set up the site and get our first producers.
Is there something that you’re missing? An employee, an investor, or an office?
CG: As the site is now set up and launched, and our first producers are on track, we’re going to need to get our first customers. We’re going to need to be present. In the press, in food forums, anywhere where we can touch foodies really. We’d love to have help with that. And of course, if no one can help us directly, we’ll be asking for help from an agency and will need money and advice to do so. An investor could come in handy.
What’s your ideal meal?
CG: Wow… now that’s a challenge. Well, we are strong believers in the fact that mostly any meal can be good as long as the products which compose it are of excellent quality….
A simple meal could be truly delicious. Say a tomato salad made of coeur de boeuf tomatoes and sicilian olive oil, sparkled with coarse sea salt. Followed by homemade truffle ravioli, made with fresh truffle. A slice of matured gruyère cheese accompanied by quince pate de fruits before the sweet touch of a lemon chocolate praline.
Yum! Any words of wisdom for fellow, budding startups?
CG: Make sure you have time. It takes alot of time and energy to start a business. And make sure you have people to help you along the way. Don’t hesitate to take a partner on board, it helps tremendously.
Where do you hope to be in a year’s time?
CG: We have many plans on how to extend Gourmetiz. In a year’s time, we’d like to have proven our initial business model, to be able to push it to the next step, and by this generate more stable revenue.
This story originally appeared on Venturevillage.eu. Copyright 2012