“A successful warrior is the average person with a laser-like focus” – Bruce Lee
In early 2018, I launched a food related entrepreneurial project which failed miserably because of my inability to connect with the target market. This experience not only gave me a good 200 words to describe my most spectacular failure on the Cambridge MBA application but also, a purpose to learn ways to manage such challenges in future. Therefore, at the time I joined the MBA programme in September 2019, my post MBA goal to pursue entrepreneurship was extremely firm.
However, it was not well defined. I wanted to develop a mechanism to connect food businesses to their consumers in a meaningful way but I did not have any idea how to achieve that.
During the pre Cambridge MBA alumni interaction, I was advised by many, to avoid the FOMO by being well prepared on what I wanted to achieve from the MBA and then involving myself in activities related to that specific goal. I really liked this advice and followed it during the programme to keep myself sane. However, this disengaged me from many activities that had little elements of Entrepreneurship. Currently, I don’t know if this strategy worked in my favour, but I do know that I will never regret my decision. It helped me stay focused on my goals.
I realised the impact of the Cambridge MBA on the three essential elements of entrepreneurship: developing an idea to be passionate about, developing skills or network to execute the idea and lastly, managing resources to achieve the execution. The MBA at Cambridge Judge and the Cambridge experience in general, provided me with many opportunities to interact with founders, investors and industry experts who helped me normalise the fear of starting a company. Whether participating in the Cambridge Venture Creation Weekends, volunteering for external Entrepreneurship programmes like Impulse, attending CUTEC (Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club) events, taking up the Cambridge MBA Entrepreneurship Concentration, dedicating the MBA Summer Research Paper to my business plan or engaging in conversations with CJBS alumni who were also startup founders, the Cambridge MBA had so much to offer.
In March 2020, I attended an Entrepreneurship event at Trinity College, Cambridge. As part of the five minutes introductory ice breaker activity, I introduced myself to the person sitting next to me and told him about my intention to start a food tech company. Fast forward one and a half years, he is now the chief advisor and investor to our company. In order to understand the tech start up landscape in Cambridge, I identified and offered pro-bono support to a few early stage startups. This helped me establish a relationship with their investors and advisors, who are now closely associated with my entrepreneurial journey. Accelerate Cambridge accepted my proposal and provided me with a route to generate resources to execute my plan. Many of our early adopters were introduced to me by coaches on the accelerator. While the Cambridge Judge Entrepreneurship Centre programme in itself helped me with skill development and ideation, being in Cambridge and part of the University of Cambridge wider eco-system, helped me develop a network of people who guided me at every step.
I graduated at a time when the whole world had literally shut down due to the global pandemic. This sudden change of situation challenged the extremities of my resolve and after contemplating on all possible career paths, I decided to stick to my Plan A, as per the narrative on my initial Cambridge MBA application form. There was some hesitation considering the uncertainty of the pandemic and its effect on the entrepreneurship landscape, but nevertheless I decided to take the plunge. I must admit that it was also partly because, during my MBA I couldn’t work on my Plan B and found myself miserably unprepared for the usual round of job applications and interviews. As a matter of fact, the only cover letter I wrote to a hiring manager of a prestigious consulting company was addressed to their biggest competitor!
About the startup and journey so far – Foodbud
Foodbud is developing a highly innovative food recommendation platform that aims to digitise tastebud and provide its users with personalised and curated food recommendations. It also aims to help businesses like restaurants, grocery outlets and food service companies, become transparent about their food ingredients and expand their customer outreach with affordable and easy to use data analytics tools.
At Foodbud, we believe that no one should regret their food choices because of lack of information about food ingredients. Our innovation will enable people to discover new food based on their dietary and taste preferences. In the first phase, Foodbud plans to help people with food allergies and dietary preferences navigate safe food options at restaurants around them. Restaurants can use the platform to convert their passive digital PDF menus to smart menus and enable their customers to choose dishes that are more suited to their personal needs. As the platform grows in data, it plans to implement a Spotify and Netflix like model to predict the likability of new food products.
The Road ahead
Foodbud has come a long way ever since it was founded in January 2021 and on our journey, we have been immensely supported by the Cambridge Judge and Cambridge MBA family. We have realised the importance of the wider CJBS network in providing us leverage to expedite our key business decisions.
Our aim is to use the fast developing technology to build tools that help more people make safe, nutritious and taste worthy food choices.
Foodbud can be contacted through these channels: