- TechTO Newsletter
- February 8, 2024: Insights into the startup landscape
February 8, 2024: Insights into the startup landscape
Navigating tech limitations, building, and cultivating long-term solutions in the startup landscape 🚀
With Code recently making headlines, we weigh in on how their raise can tell us a lot about the startup landscape and what VCs still believe is a key player within the ecosystem.
What is the news?
Waterloo-based Code announced that they raised a $6.5m USD round co-led by M13 and Union Square with participation from super angels including Balaji Srinivasan, Roham Gharegozlou, Anatoly Yakovenko, Raj Gokal, and Mert Mumta.
What does Code do?
Code provides an effective way for people to make micropayments for digital goods.
What are micropayments and what makes it difficult for them in the past?
Micropayments refer to the capability to execute minor financial transactions for goods or services, often in the range of a few cents. This mechanism potentially allows businesses and content creators to generate revenue from digital commodities through nominal payments.
Historically, this concept has been challenging to realize due to the prohibitive costs associated with traditional payment infrastructures such as Visa or Mastercard. Moreover, many earlier micropayment systems were complex and lacked user-friendliness. The ultimate aspiration is for micropayments to facilitate the internet's transition away from an advertising-dependent model.
How has Code managed to make the micropayment system work?
Code is built upon the KIN cryptocurrency infrastructure. KIN was built to allow transactions in the thousands of a penny.
What’s the catch?
It is hard to change Code currency into actual fiat currency.
Why could this team build upon Kin?
The team behind Code has a notable history with the Kin cryptocurrency. Ted Livingston, the founder of Kin, also founded and was the former CEO of Kik, a popular messaging application. The concept of a novel payments platform was born out of his experience with Kik. Subsequently, the Kin blockchain and cryptocurrency were launched. Code was developed using the funds procured from the sale of Kik.
Union Square's backing of Code is informed by their previous support of Kik and their familiarity with the team. Additionally, Union Square has demonstrated a strong belief in the potential of Web3 and micropayments, further motivating their investment in Code.
Takeaways for the community?
The tech community often identifies issues that require solutions. However, due to limitations in technology and business models, it may not always be feasible for founders to build a successful startup to address these issues or problem-solve. Despite this, venture capitalists and founders persist in their efforts to resolve the problem whenever a new technology emerges and credible founders step in.
This fundraising round also underscores the importance of cultivating long-term relationships in business.
Subscribe to the series for more news like this you can listen to whenever, and wherever
NEWSMAKERS OF THE YEAR
Nominate the top Canadian Tech Leaders who made headlines over the past year
Who made major waves in Canadian tech in 2023? Who inspired you on your journey?
We are asking you to nominate your top newsmakers of the past year, as we plan a special activation to celebrate those paving the way for all of us.
Today, we meet Morley Ivers, CEO and Co-Founder of Cookin.
What is Cookin?
Cookin empowers food creators to build and grow their businesses.
Cookin is a marketplace where customers can discover local chef-made meals online, and a platform that enables culinary creators throughout North America to easily start and manage their food business.
What was the insight and inspiration to create Cookin?
We're seeing a significant shift in the way people consume food and the way restaurants are operating.
People in the hospitality industry are looking to re-invent themselves and move away from the grueling hours, difficult working conditions, and low earnings that come with working at a restaurant. Society is also becoming increasingly polarized and divided. We recognized that food is the one thing that brings people together, so we created Cookin to power the next wave in the food-creator economy and our vision is to unite people through food. We aim to create meaningful and personal food experiences by allowing consumers to order high-quality meals made by local chefs who infuse their passion and heritage into every dish.
How has it been received by the market?
Cookin launched in Toronto in October 2022. In just over a year, 100,000 consumers have downloaded Cookin's app, we have delivered over 90,000 meals. We continue to see overwhelming demand from chefs with 13,000 having applied to be on Cookin.
To date, we've onboarded over 500 chefs and we recently opened up the Cookin Platform throughout all of North America with food creators launching their business in 12 US states and 4 Canadian provinces in January alone.
Consumers love getting access to amazing authentic cuisine that they can't find anywhere else; and most importantly, they love supporting their local community.
Food creators love Cookin because they're able to start their own food business without the heavy burden and significant capital required to start a traditional restaurant.
Cookin chefs have the flexibility to run their own businesses, working the hours they want, making the food they love, and earning more money than they would working in the back of a traditional restaurant.
How did you know you were ready to found a company?
After two decades of building tech companies, in both NYC and Toronto, I became convinced that was the moment to embark upon my life's work.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
For us, 2024 is all about expansion - expansion throughout North America.
We are set to enable Food Creators to start and grow their own food businesses everywhere. Alongside our product strategy, we're executing a sales strategy that focuses on acquiring customers for the Cookin Platform, many are referring to Cookin's Platform as the "Shopify of Food"
What is a piece of advice you wish you had been given when you were first starting out?
When starting a business you develop a business model and a strategy for going to market. Given my experience in starting rapid-growth companies, I'm fully aware that the one guarantee when starting is that the path to success is never linear and plans change.
To run a successful marketplace you need to attract supply and generate demand for that supply. In our original plan, we hypothesized that the Food Creators we bring onto the marketplace would be successful in driving their own demand for their food. In most instances, this did not turn out to be the case which resulted in a fundamental shift in the allocation of capital and resources, with the responsibility now on Cookin to drive demand for our Food Creators.
Are you hiring and how can people find your open roles?
Yes we are. You can apply at cookin.com
READS & OPPORTUNITIES
The best questions to trigger new and brighter ideas
A must-read for all SaaS startups
Software Developers are still the most in demand across the ecosystem. See who is hiring right now
The 4 types of defensibility
Join the MaRS team in Toronto - apply here
PARTNER WITH TECHTO
Gif by TheLonelyCowboysBallad on Giphy
Want to showcase your company, events, and opportunities to 70,000+ subscribers across the Canadian Tech Ecosystem?