Interviews

Everline Future 50: Gousto

1 min read

25 February 2014

James Carter and Timo Schmidt became friends in 2007 during investment banking training classes at Rothschild. They both left to join hedge funds, and then decided to turn their mutual passion for food into a business.

The result is Gousto, launched in summer 2012. In essence, Gousto provides customers with all the ingredients in the right proportions to cook delicious meals at home. All the produce is organic, fresh and seasonal.

The online food market, says Schmidt, is the next frontier of ecommerce ripe for disruption. Already a £7bn market, it will more than double by 2018. Some 85 per cent of that market will be dominated by supermarkets focusing on cost and range.

The remaining 15 per cent, however, will be taken up by what Schmidt calls “product and experience-focused businesses”. And he reckons Gousto is in pole position to grab a sizeable chunk of it.

Without external finance, the men grew revenues to £2m in just over a year and landed a deal to sell on Ocado. Customer retention rates are consistently high; error rates low.

Now backed by MMC Ventures, they’re upping the ante further. Schmidt: “We believe we have built the platform to grow quickly now. Last month [December 2013] we grew 140 per cent vs the previous month, delivering 26,000 meals. Our plans are ambitious but achievable: we aim to hit £5-£10m revenues in 2014, and grow to £50-£100m over the next four years.”

Post-horsemeat scandals, there is huge public demand for renewed trust in the food chain. “We want to be the good guys in the food industry,” says Schmidt.