• fooddocs in media

Weekly start-up: FoodDocs makes food handling companies paperwork super easy by artifical intelligence.

FoodDocs is an Estonian start-up, which helps restaurants, cafes, big food stores but also home breweries or pie-makers to keep up with the complicated paperwork and demands in food processing.

One of the founders of the company, Katrin Liivat answers to Geenius' questions.

What is your business doing?

Everybody, who deals with food, has to have “Food Safety Plan” by the law. Plan for food safety, where you have to think through all your risks and dangers.

Today it is a hundred pages folder that describes how everybody has to wash their hands, everyone needs to own a health certificate and you need to have a different cutting board for every food. You have to make analyses and measure the temperature of the refrigerators.

Little companies do not know how to create this plan for their companies before they open the doors. If you open your cafe, restaurant or home brewery, a lot of management will be needed afterwards. You have to measure the temperature of the refrigerators, perform analyzes, send people to doctors, conduct hygiene trainings and arrange pest control.

We created a program where client answers eight different questions with multiple answer choices and then the program gives you a guide how you need to proceed to open your company.

Basically it will give that 100-pages paperwork in one e-book, in any language you wish. It has pictures and videos so you would understand everything more easily.

If the company has opened their doors and business is working, our software will start working for the company. Software will tell you for example that the day after tomorrow you have to make some analyzes. Next week your dishwasher's health certificate will expire - send him to doctors. In one word the software will help you to keep an eye on food safety in your company.

Today most of our clients are restaurants and cafes, but there are also some home cooks. Most of our turnover comes from the big chains as Selver, Prisma or Stockmann.

Has something like that been done elsewhere in the world?

There are a lot of solutions that help you manage things everyday, such as sensors what you put in the refrigerators and they collect data automatically.

There are also solutions for digital auditing. But the program where artificial intelligence reads your answers, meanwhile getting smarter all the time, and generates the comprehensive guide, as far as we know other program like this doesn´t exist.

Is your system connecting with different sensors and other devices?

We do not offer sensors, but since big retail chains own these sensors, then we just offer API that brings the data automatically to FoodDocs desktop.

That´s what big clients mainly want, that everything food safety related would be in one place. Today some of the information is on paper in one place, another part of information is another place, all the information is spread out.

If you have 55 stores, then with our help you will know that everything is correct.

How big is your team today?

Me and Karin Repp as the founders of the company are food technologists and we have seen how bureaucracy works in food sector for 15 years. It got us so frustrated that we sat down together with Karin and thought that there has to be a program to make it easier.

We have another co-founder, Margus Pala, who is a very capable CTO.

When we went to Ajujaht, jury brought out the big minus that we are missing a CTO. They raised a question that who is responsible for the software. So Margus joined us.

Today we have ten people working full-time. Half of the team are developers and the other half are technologists or sales people.

Do you operate only in Estonina or elsewhere too today?

Smaller companies are easier for us because they usually come and register by themselves. You just take your phone and make a demo. Getting big companies to come on board is more difficult. If Estonian companies come within few months, then this is really quick.

Today we are planning to enter German and Ukrainian market. Everybody is asking - why Ukraine? Answer is that Ukraine is currently in the same situation as Estonia was when we joined EU. Every Ukrainian food company has to have EU food safety system for this September, so at the moment there's a lot of panic.

Why do you think you will success?

Big retail chains have one more main problem: they do not have the overview of the producers. The quality of the goods on the shelves is undetectable to some degree. Retailer receives the goods and assumes that everything is according to law and rules, but actually it might not be.

With chocolate it is okay, but if retailer doesn't know in what temperature the producer has kept the eggs, you will know the results only after client has eaten the eggs. Many producers have come to speak with us in different events, told us that they would like to get their products to Selver supermarkets and asked is it possible for us to build a tool that helps producers to meet the requirements of big supermarket chains.

Today we raise money to make our product to be the link between retailers and producers and that food safety would be transparent. Also we would want that to work between different countries, if some Estonian producer would like to enter foreign market.

Who have been your investors?

Some time ago we received a 300 000 EUR investment which lead investor was venture capital fond United Angels VC. In Ajujaht we also had possibility to choose the investments, because there was more investor's money than we needed.

Today our angel investors are - Ivo Remmelg, the president of Estban; Martin Rand, who has made VitalFields exit; Märt Kelder, the head of Sixfold and Gert Jostov, the head of Tehnopol Ülemiste. At the moment we collect money to get one to two millions for making great sales in Germany.

What are you planning to achieve in next 12 months?

That we would be powerfully entered to Germany's market and also started in UK market. UK is very advanced in food safety standards, many countries have bought their standard in.

Jakob Rosin

Article is referred from Digigeenius

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