We took the opportunity to have a chat with Simon about his food startup and his entrepreneurial journey so far.
Give us your pitch. What’s your startup FEAST all about?
FEAST is the UK's only Late Night Food Delivery Service. We currently operate in East and Central London daily, between 10pm and 5am. Our aim is to give people a wider choice of great restaurant food, when previously there was none.
What’s your own career background?
For the last 7 years I've worked as a journalist and TV presenter. In 2009 completed a postgraduate journalism diploma at Cardiff University before working as a journalist and news reporter at the BBC. I then became a news reader at Channel Five News before moving onto present on international news channels CCTV News and Arise News.
Why are you on this journey?
When I was working in China (for CCTV News) I saw how just how normal and easy food delivery was. You can get McDonalds and Starbucks delivered at any time, day or night. Returning to London I was shocked at just how early everything closed, including all of the delivery services. Unless you lived near to one of the few late night restaurants you could't get any food after 11pm. So I thought I'd approach those restaurants, and see if they'd be interested in testing out a delivery operation with me. We basically never ended that initial test.
What problem is it / are you trying to solve?
There is a huge and vibrant population of different people in the UK. Students are partying, professionals are working, tourists are on different time zones, but EVERYWHERE closes at 11pm. We're trying to offer great food and drink when you currently can't get it anywhere else.
What is it’s unique selling point?
Great restaurant food, at times you can't get it anywhere else.
What’s been the toughest part of the journey so far?
Marketing the service on a budget hasn't been easy. Persuading people to work at such crazy hours is always going to be a challenge.
What mistake did you learn the most from?
People may say they want healthy options, salads, veggie dishes etc, but when push-comes-to-shove, at 3am, everyone orders the burgers.
Any accolades / awards we should all know about?
We've been featured in TimeOut, The Evening Standard, The Metro and City AM.
What stage are you at in developing / launch your startup / project?
We launched in July 2015, and have been serving food to late night workers, students and stoners ever since. What one piece of advice would you pass on to other Startacus members?
Learn by doing! Everything is easy in theory, doing things in practice is so much harder. So you may as well make your mistakes and learn as a result, sooner rather than later.
How are you planning on funding your startup? Crowdfunding, investors etc.?
We have £50k investment from a private individual.
Are there any particular skill sets you need/ need to hire in order to advance your startup?
A CTO (head of tech) and a COO (so I can sleep at night sometimes). What kind of marketing have you been doing? Any interesting Campaigns?
Facebook messages on student groups, contacting companies and offices that work late, taking free food samples to journalists, bloggers and food critics. What is your long term goal/plan? World Domination or simply completion and distribution?
We'd love to become the Deliveroo of nighttime (but better!).