Startup in distress - Seeking for the wisdom of the crowd!

A few months back around December of 2011, a couple of guys felt the rush of adrenalin when they bumped into what seemed like a really exciting idea. The result was the birth of Yo! Potato, a food delivery service that lets you order food from ANY restaurant you want and not bother about minimum order or any other limitation. For the first time, we felt we gave the "ease" for people stuck with Pizzas when their taste buds are craving for something from that small Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood.

We were true to the principles of Lean Startup by not wasting away any time in setting up anything other than what was just required to get started. We setup a landing page in a day with the help of Kickofflabs and announced our launch in the most humble way on social media. The first month was mostly the 2 of us taking and delivering orders. We did just 17 orders. We kept growing and we crossed 900 orders last month alone. Some of the top celebrities used our service and we felt loved by everyone. We have received over 15 franchise requests in less than 3 months since our launch. People loved our blogs and newsletters. We were living our dream. The response was overwhelming. We got featured in all the top news dailies.

Many of our customers valued our service so much so that they suggested we charge them so they can order for even a cup of coffee, guilt-free. We did that with 30 days free trial in July and the response has been more than good so far. And then something happened. We ran out of money. We hunted a few friends who pitched in some but they dried up as well. All the VCs we talk to have just one thing to say - "It's too early for us to participate". We couldn't find many angels and the ones we met were not as aligned to our vision as we hoped.

Now, the reason I am writing this is to reach out to all of you and take possible connections to angels who might find Yo! Potato interesting enough to consider investing. Also, we are consider raising small amount of money from a bunch of interesting people like you. Though our fund requirement over 2 years is between 1-2 Cr, we can do with small chunks to keep us going from one milestone to another. Our current burn rate is around 2- 2.5L.

Pls do get in touch with me if you can contribute. My email is krishna@yopotato.com. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Krishna Chidambaresh Co-founder, Yo! Potato http://www.yopotato.com http://www.facebook.com/yopotato

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Hi Sridhar,

Point taken. Thanks for the inputs! We will work on it.

Cheers,

Krishna

Hi Krishna,

Wish you all the best in your venture. Looking forward to see this in Bangalore too.

Have a nice day.

Sridhar

Did something happen on this??

Its a good venture. But there are similar players operating in the market.

for all of you who have been following krishna's distress story... pls read krishna's latest post! (pasted below for you).

kudos to all of you who have helped Yo! Potato do a 360!!!

 

"This is not the first time I am writing at Rodinhoods. Last time I wrote, I wrote in desperation. If you haven't gotten get around reading it,you can find it here.  

I run a startup called Yo! Potato.

We started Yo! Potato December last year and from a very humble beginning with just 17 orders in the first month, we have grown to over 1000 orders per month. We have rigorously tested our business model and have had the courage to learn from the market and pivot various parts of our strategy so far and then... the ship hit the rock.

Though we were very happy with the progress and had enough excitement and traction from the market, we didn't attract any serious investors. VCs beat us down on the traction and said they can't participate unless we get to a size tempting enough. Friends and families have given it all. Savings dried up. New loan sources seemed far off. Salaries were not paid in months. Landlord threw us out losing hope we'll ever be able to pay all the dues.

We moved into one of our employee's house which could only house our order takers. We had no place for our riders and sheltered them in a parking lot of our old office. Rain or sun, that used to be where we worked from for almost 3 months. It felt like a free fall into a humiliating failure.

Life has a way of playing with your hopes and fears but I was glad I wasn't beaten down by it. The fool's intuition kept telling me the help is around the corner. It could be any one. Any connection. Just that I wasn't sure who else should I be talking to?

That's when you do crazy things. Like me trying to get help from a big shot like Alok. I wouldn't have done that when I was sober from troubles because, who would be crazy enough to think someone like Alok gives a damn about a guy in Chennai who needs help ?

I called him and announced myself, "Alok, this is Krishna from Yo! Potato. I have read your blog and watched your videos a couple of times. I am in a bit of a pickle right now. My startup is sinking and will be dead in 15 days if I don't get some help from somewhere. You got anything for me?".

His response to that was this - " (sweared at me like a dozen times in a totally funny, chilled out way) and then brainstormed with me about ways to get me help. He came up with a plan. "Post it on TheRodinhoods and I'll pass the word around like crazy to everyone. TheRodinhoods won't give up on you, man! It never does"

He even started contemplating setting up a kickstarter in India and he was talking about doing that now and helping me out. I was thrilled at his energy and absolute sense of purpose in helping entrepreneurs but I figured that's who he is even outside entrepreneurship community.

So, I took his advice, posted on TheRodinhoods and watched responses pouring into my inbox from prospective investors, entrepreneurs and advisors. 3 weeks later, I found my investor who is an amazing marketing guy with terrific zeal and love for Yo! Potato. I mean, given a choice I would have happily partnered with someone like him as a co-founder even if he doesn't bring money to the table. Brilliant. This happened in 3 weeks.

Today, we have adequate resources we need to cross a few milestones and become Series-A ready. I am absolutely happy the way things have turned out and guess what made this possible? - The crazy thought that someone as big as Alok would give a damn about me and my startup. If you ever stop to wonder like me, remember this - IT WORKS! :)"

 

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