Sophie Radtke (CSO), Therese Köhler (CEO), and Miriam Neubauer (COO/CPO) © Nils Lucas
What inspired you to found your startup?
The impulse for heycater came during my old job. As a side task I had to organise a photo shoot with a couple of models and was looking for healthy, hip superfood to keep them happy during the long shooting day. I started googling caterers in Berlin but all search results were not delicious. The cafes I was thinking of were also not offering a catering service. So the whole process of finding, booking and organising a good catering was super frustrating to me and I started to become excited about solving this problem. A few weeks later in early 2015 I met my co-founder, food blogger and seriously professional gastro freak Sophie Radtke – and the rest is history. We met, fell in love and kicked off our catering revolution. The idea to change and digitalise the catering market caught us and two weeks later the Hey Group was official.
How do you define success for yourself and your company?
I think this is actually the first time someone has asked me this question! And to be honest I don’t have the “quoty” perfect answer right in my pocket. Success to me means achieving things, large and small. Success also means to me to be given an opportunity and trust. Success for us implies helping other people achieve their goals: helping my teamies to grow and build a great product, helping our office manager to make their teams happy, helping our caterers do what they like most. Success happens every day, too, if you are grateful, modest and sincerely interested in helping those around you.
Is there anything you’d do differently if you could do it again?
This startup journey is one of the greatest things that ever happened to me. I learn and grow every day. They are hundreds of things I would do differently and surely better next time. But the most important learning has to do with how I treated myself for a long time. If you are eager and driven, you put a lot of pressure on producing the best results and often disregard how you treat yourself. In sleeping hours. In spending quality time with your family. In the way you allow yourself “breaks”. If I would do it all over I would have allowed myself to slow down a bit and enjoy the journey more instead of putting so much pressure on myself. That was really THE most important and hard lesson for me to learn. It has taught me to keep a cool head, take the time to look left and right and enjoy the ride as well as ask the right questions and never loose sight of the bigger picture.
What problem does your product solve?
Heycater is the best catering solution for businesses. On our platform, we curate the menus form the best local caterers and enable our clients book their catering in a few minutes online. With this solution, we save our business clients countless hours of search on the internet, telephone calls and waiting time and at the same time provide more choice. It used to be a lot of work to find the perfect catering for an event that is tailor-made, affordable and has really good service. With heycater, we do the hard work for you and with us, companies can find the right catering from christmas party to meeting snacks. All of a sudden, client meetings, business lunches, shootings, parties, and training sessions become a culinary highlight.
Where do you see your company in 1/5/10 years?
We want to become the best catering solution in Europe. I 5-10 years we will be market leading online catering platform in Europe that provides the best quality catering to hundreds of throusands of business clients every day. We will also have changed the catering image by establishing new norms – the “heycater standard” of catering and will have build a great household brand.
How are you different?
We have done qualitative and quantitative research on this question. Not only is heycater the fastest way to book catering online in comparison other players in the market, we have the best customer satisfaction rate – which speaks for itself – because we deliver the best quality to our clients. Also, strictly catering wise, we work exclusively with a large number of caterers meaning we have a lot of variety others in the market cannot offer. The bottom line is that we are passionate about changing the industry and offering our clients a one of a kind experience. That’s what drives us. That’s what sets us apart.
How often does your product/service show up in a user’s day or week?
Impact: how are you doing good and building a better future?
Our goal is to change the way people eat at work. There is a clear reason for why our slogan is named “great teams eat well”. I believe in good nutrition and health incentives at the workplace and I am lobbying for companies to provide great food for their employees as part of their strategy and employer branding. Improving the way people eat at work of course also entails helping them to procure good food faster. This leads me to the benefits our solution offers to the office managers. We make the process of ordering catering much faster, safer and more reliable and thereby help them spend more time on other important tasks. After having personally spoken to hundreds of assistants, office managers and feel good managers personally I became particularly engaged with this group of so called “office heras”. With the heycater! team we initiated a networking series for them called heymeetup! to build a stronger community and enable better networking.
How has the startup scene in Berlin changed?
The startup scene in Berlin is crazy! I love it! We are experiencing super exciting times and are pulling so many new ventures, financing and talents to our capital. Although this momentum is clearly on, things have changed during the last years and we have entered an era of disillusion. Many hugely hyped startups have failed to prove what they promised, the investment scene has suffered from it and became more cautious consequently. However I see a huge opportunity in the fact that “the hype is over” and we all have become a bit more grounded as we are hopefully now maturing to produce more novel ideas.
What are the pros and cons of launching your startup from Berlin?
I have been asked this question a ton of times and there are are obvious rational arguments in favor of this city others have answered probably better previously. Ergo, here comes my very personal view. Where else can you go from the notary straight to Berghain? Where else do you meet your investors at a costume festival in Poland? Where else do you have the feeling that all of your uni friends live right next door and are going through the same crazy startup journey as you? Where else is your favorite Mexican street food chef a former BCG consultant? I could go on forever…
Bonus Question: Anything else that we need to know about you?
Since February i am pursuing a super fun freetime project: Gründerzeit. Together with one of my best founder friends I am organizing the first German Ball dance exclusively for tech entrepreneurs. In November. In Berlin. The 500 biggest German tech entrepreneurs. One unforgettable night. I am super excited about this!
Heycater was featured in “The Hundert Vol. 10 – Startups of Berlin“, October 2017.