Craving fresh cibo?
Cheap takeaway is unhealthy, healthy food is expensive, and a variety of homemade food is hard to come by. Frecibo is trying to find a middle ground, by providing a platform for home cooks and students to connect.
The idea is simple. Students can use Frecibo as a platform to choose and order food made by somebody else, and is then delivered straight to them. It is meant to be both budget-friendly and healthy.
Avantika Kariwala, a final-year Economics undergraduate, initially drew inspiration from the startup from services such as Trishaz Treat, a homemade Indian food delivery service popular with international students. She told Boar Finance that her aim was to “bridge people who want to cook for others and people who want healthy and decently priced food”.
In order to make this a reality, Avantika approached one of her best friends, Ali Jasem, also a final-year economics student. They both believe that being friends and having trust in each other as co-founders was very important, and believe that this has allowed them to persevere in building Frecibo.
“It’s been quite a ride, as it’s an entirely new learning experience. We’ve learned just how invaluable a good team member can be,” says Ali. “At first, I was skeptical about expanding the team, but the new team have been phenomenal. It’s almost become a family effort; we even have team dabs!”
The team started on their product, which is the Frecibo web platform, in March, and are currently working on a Frecibo mobile app. Along the way, they’ve faced a multitude of setbacks.
The team spent the entire summer preparing and building the platform, getting in contact with people who are experts, lawyers, startup expert, in order to get opinions and guidance to shape Frecibo. They also worked on how a food delivery system would cheaply operate in Leamington.
Hygiene is also a major concern for any food startup, but Frecibo believes that their four-tier hygiene check makes their service trustworthy. Ali told the Boar Finance that it is easy to get a personal hygiene rating from the local council, for free. The council will check the kitchens of home cooks who sign up to the platform, all of whom will have to take a Level 2 food hygiene course. All cooks will obtain a certificate and will then be under inspection when they first start providing food through Frecibo.
“The core idea of getting people to cook for other people has been done before, but we look at why they have failed and we haven’t. There are more problems than we can anticipate. The cost of delivery is a large problem that we’re trying to overcome,” says Ali.
Avantika says that they tried to apply for a startup accelerator, Y Combinator, and worked on the application together for 12 hours, while in different countries and across timezones.
“In the process of sending the app; it got deleted! If we gave up then, we wouldn’t be where we are now,” she says.
The current version of Frecibo is a test launch. In the process of creating a minimum viable product, the team have turned into part lawyers, accountants and strategists. The team say they face many legal challenges and cumbersome copyright policies.
The team’s frustration with legal issues have resulted in Avantika taking an international law module this year, in order to help Frecibo along.
However, despite all the setbacks Frecibo is promising. They are currently semi-finalists in a competition organized by NACUE, “the UK’s leading membership organisation for engaging students in enterprise.”
Frecibo has also brought Enactus Warwick on board as consultants, after Avantika bumped into last year’s Enactus president in a café in London.
The founders hope that Frecibo will spread across other universities in the UK, and make ordering food cheaper, healthier and easier for students.