Have you dreamt of trying a new cuisine but have never been blessed with the ideal ambience to do so? Fear not, for these techies have found a witty solution to your problem.
No, they are not foodies. But they do not hesitate to taste a variety of flavours. Meet Pretheesh, Boney Mathew and Joaquim De' Araujo – the fabulous trio behind the food app called Koottan.com.
While Boney and Pratheesh hail from Kerala, Joaquim is from Goa.
Pretheesh and Boney have known each other since childhood. Both of them had studied in the same school in Idukki district, Kerala. Soon after, Pretheesh went on to pursue his BCA in a college situated in Northern India while Boney was doing Bachelors in Commerce from Sacred Hearts College, Thevara. During their college education, the two of them had a desire to start an enterprise of their own. For nearly three years, Pretheesh and Boney had brainstormed several ideas until they had finally narrowed down upon the one thing that kept them going – food.
Bigmints and Koottan.com
Upon completing their college education, Pretheesh and Boney worked at established firms for more than six years. Boney worked in the marketing division of a pharmaceutical company while Pretheesh was a programme developer at Emirates, Dubai. It was here that Pretheesh met the third member of the trio – Joaquim. Joaquim was working in the finance division of the company. Convinced of their ability to make their dream come true – three of them began working towards the food app that has made its presence felt across the Middle East and Africa.
Koottan.com is one of the products of the company named Bigmints that is run by the trio. The aim behind the product is to help foodies find the right places to eat by merely listing out the cuisine they relish the most. “It was Pretheesh's idea. Once he had pitched the thought, we began researching the topic,” Boney commented. A variety of computer programmes were used to create the product. “We use a linux server. The programme that we use most widely is PHP,” said Pratheesh, who currently head the development team of Kootttan.com.
So far Koottan.com has covered over 1100 restaurants in Kerala, Dubai and Tanzania.
“At present, we are catering to those who would like to dine at those eating joints that either fall in the medium cost category or those that are rather costly. Through Koottan.com, customers are also given a variety of offers in terms of food, rates etc. This works out well for both parties as the restaurant is bound to receive more customers while we are able to establish business deals with them,” said Boney.
Marketing and competition
According to Boney, the product seems to be doing well. “Social media has helped us immensely with regards to our brand building activities. We are also looking at other methods such as Loyalty Points and even publishing a Koottan.com magazine that would feature our mobile app and the website,” he added. Koottan.com has a facebook page which has received over 4000 likes in less than six months of their launch. They also have a blog that invites people to review restaurants or food as well.
He also stated that they hope to expand their operations in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai soon. “Such concepts are not new in these cities. It is rather new in the state of Kerala though. Then again, we need to be amidst the competition,” Boney explained.
The initial investments for the firm Bigmints were contributed by the trio from their savings. Now, the firm has registered itself with the StartUp Village and would be availing financial support through an angel funding scheme. Apart from these, the product also advertises special aspects of restaurants.
Clientale – in India and abroad
The group has established a good rapport with several top brands in Kerala and Goa. This includes popular coffee shops as well in-house bakers. With the help and support of friends and family, the group has also built their clientale in Dubai and Tanzania.
Their take on being entrepreneurs
“Our families were not very pleased at first. But now they are, for we are doing well. It is important that your research your area of business before entering the arena. I would always encourage people to start a business of their own. Especially students – for they are given a lot of opportunities and support even from the government in this regard. We hope to do more in the days to come,” said Boney.
The team hopes to conduct a food festival soon and help build the name of the brand among a larger group of people.
Well, what are you waiting for? Experience dining the hi-tech way.