“We have set very concrete targets”

An interview with Deniz Caglayan, the COO of LUNCHIO, on their experiences with the first program of the METRO Accelerator, why it paid off to set targets in advance, and how things have been going since Demo Day.

What has changed for Lunchio since Demo Day?

Right after Demo Day we started our seed round fundraising and finished successfully at the end of May. Together with our new investor, Dr. Max Iann, who has supported us strategically with his vast experience as an entrepreneur, we want to grow and offer our customers the best product possible.

Another big step since Demo Day has been expanding our team to 15 people, making it – compared to the end of January – more than twice as big. That’s one of the reasons we moved to our new office in Berlin-Kreuzberg.

What are you working on at the moment?

Now that we’ve relaunched our website, we are concentrating on further expansion. We are also locked on target of enabling companies to organize their lunch hours in a smart and efficient manner. On the side, we’re also making sure that internal processes and organizational procedures are more effective and competently automated. We are obviously focusing on increasing our traction, as well as product development. But it’s also important to us simultaneously to create a solid foundation for the further scaling of our business.

What did you gain from the METRO Accelerator powered by Techstars?

A ton. The combination of all the different participants was a big plus for the whole program. It helped us develop in various areas. Techstars showed us how to be faster and more efficient. Thanks to the many mentor talks, we could validate our ideas and strategies quickly and got interesting insights, tips and words of wisdom.

But a lot of concrete business deals also arose from the numerous intros and recommendations, which would not normally have happened in the then very early development stage. We’re still reaping the benefits. We are in very close contact with a lot of mentors. We could also expand our network with valuable contacts.

Working with METRO is something we want to continue after the accelerator, and we are currently working very hard on a joint pilot project on advanced digitalization of the food sector. And of course, the enormous power of the METRO brand helps us a lot, both in public perception and in the very concrete restaurant business.

What we especially like is that the partnerships and contacts with METRO have lasted beyond the program. You can feel the serious interest in working together on the vision to deliver a real bonus to the food industry with digital products and innovations.

What advice do you give to startups who are going to participate in the second batch?

At the beginning we had some problems understanding how the METRO GROUP organization was structured. My advice is therefore: clarify as soon as possible who you should talk to for what, and from day 1 build up a network within METRO. In the end, that makes everything easier.

Among other things, we gained a lot from the fact that we set ourselves very concrete targets from the beginning, and said: “This is what we want to achieve in these 13 weeks”. That can be the validation of a new strategy, contriving a concrete business development deal or preparing for the fundraising of the next see round.

What’s next for Lunchio?

In the future we are going to concentrate even more on companies who want to provide their employees a delicious and relaxed lunch break in the best restaurants in the city. Our lunch vouchers will play a big role in that, they will be integrated directly into Lunchio, enabling companies to deduct up to 6,20€ of their employees’ lunch from their taxes. With Lunchio, we want to establish a whole new lunch culture and we see ourselves as pioneers in this area.

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