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Eathic, the platform that solves restaurants' problems

Interview with Andrea Manfré, co-founder of the startup that connects producers and restaurateurs

It has just closed a 120,000 euros funding round, qualifying as a new player within the food tech landscape. We are talking about Eathic, the ethical startup and marketplace, born among the classrooms of the H-Farm innovation platform at the end of 2021 from the idea of two Jesolo residents Andrea Manfrè, born in 1995, and Cosmin Meresanu, born in 1999. The platform continues to enhance small local producers by optimizing the time and cost of buying and selling between restaurateurs and suppliers. 

"We are a b2b platform where we bring together suppliers and restaurants -Manfré explains-. We started with a test to 70 restaurateurs: we put them in touch with producers and growers, with the supply world. This is so that restaurateurs and horeca can get to place orders with our app, simplifying their business. Now we have two producers starting with a pool of 80 customers and 800 restaurants. In the first quarter of 2024 we will have fully functional and complete platform available, which will be called Eathic". is a set of tools that aim to simplify the restaurant world. "Strategically -explains Manfré- we chose to launch on the market a first tool, which is called Eathic Reservations, which simplifies the management of reservations in restaurants. With this first step we are getting the first customers but above all the trust in the horeca world".

"In early 2024 we will also launch the second tool, Eathic Market, to simplify orders between producers and restaurants -the manager adds-. It is an app that allows restaurants, hotels, and bars to order from their suppliers and producers through a single order. Suppliers and restaurateurs will save time and resources". 

The two producers now put about 3 thousand references between seafood and beverage on the platform: the goal is to reach at least 20 supplier customers in the first year, for a turnover target of 280 thousand euros. "Our tool is based on a subscription that, in turn, depends on the number of orders: the more orders will be managed on the platform, the more the price will increase -Manfré emphasizes-. It's a quiet goal, because we want to make sure that the tool is effective and does not create errors since it is a very fast market. In the third year we ran to get to 100 suppliers, calculating that in Italy at the moment there are 4,000 suppliers with 166 thousand restaurants available. From there, we count on reaching 1 or 1.5 million euros in turnover".

"At the restaurant level we should be able to collect 10 percent of the customers of these initial suppliers: 80 to 100 restaurants in the first year, in short. We can get there" Manfré is convinced. 

"Our customers are mainly located in the Veneto region, whose dynamics we know perfectly well and from which it was logical to start -the startup co-founder continues-. They are, for now, mainly distributors in the seafood world. They are and will remain all SMEs, even many small businesses: like Ittica Center, a Veneto distributor with a turnover of about 7 million euros, active between Jesolo and Cavallino-Treporti, in the province of Venice. The area, for the moment, is this".

"We work with SMEs -the manager adds- because they are the ones who have direct contact with restaurants, the ones who then convert clicks into actual orders. Because the manufacturer often does not have the interest in creating its own logistics network so that it can ship directly to the small buyer such as a restaurant or hotel establishment. Here, we work precisely to offer them that opportunity. No gdo, then, but only horeca, restaurants, bars and hotels".

Eathic's goal is quickly stated. "We preface that we are not and do not want to be a market place -ributes Manfré-. We do not want to start any price wars; the market already works. We do not want to disrupt dynamics that have existed for years, that is, to convert purchases to a single supplier or producer who is able to offer the raw material at very low prices. We want, rather, to simplify the current market. We want, simply, to optimize the business through current technologies, ensuring the right value for each operator". 

"As a long-term goal -Manfré goes on to explain- we have to provide a set of tools that will simplify many processes in the catering world. For the moment, we started in the short term with this first tool, Eathic reservations, which simplifies, precisely, reservations, so from customer to restaurant. In early 2024, as I said, we will release the second tool, Eathic market, with which we will act on the simplification of orders".

Returning to funding, the first round closed in July with 120,000 euros. Is there another one planned? "At the moment -Manfré replies- we do not have any other round planned. Certainly to foster the growth and scalability of the project will be necessary in the future.Now we will focus on creating a solid foundation for the project to be effective to its users".

What figure do you want to reach overall? "We haven't set a specific number in terms of funding -the manager continued-. I think the value of investment rounds is closely related to the potential success of a startup. The more the project works, the greater the chance of seeing significant rounds. The fact remains that you always have to understand why you do a round. Eathic aims to be economically sustainable right away; the next round will allow us to scale up".

Foreign expansion? "It is premature to talk to me -the cofounder stresses-. Although already for several months we are starting to have relationships with foreign distributors addiritura in the Asian market. More specifically in the world of wine. We already work with some companies that export to 50 countries in the world: we are beginning to have relationships with producers and distributors, but only in a while we plan to integrate some foreign suppliers".

Meanwhile, interest around the startup is growing. In addition to H-Farm, Banca Sella and Visa also Orizon Group, Futhura and BeeRedi, the latter, in particular, a technical partner for the development of the platform, the interest of a family office in the Padua area is confirmed, which could bring the startup's valuation to 1.2 million euros. Who is it? "A family that has several companies -Manfré answers without yet revealing the name of the new entry-. He will enter from January".

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