This is the first in a series of guest posts from Entrepreneur Academe participants. We’ve asked all the entrepreneurs to introduce themselves and their businesses and to talk about what they’re looking for from the programme. First up, then, is Elisabeth Orsini of SimpleeHost.

I’m co-founder and CEO of SimpleeHost. We are an online marketplace for private chefs that allows our clients to hire a private chef for their dinner party on our site in just a few clicks. I’m currently focused on fundraising, looking to close our seed round.

It can be challenging combining fundraising with keeping the business running – I can go from pitching to a high net worth individual at the Ivy to talking to a customer about which of our chefs would be the best fit for their wife’s birthday celebration. It certainly keeps me on my toes!

About SimpleeHost

 

Consumers use our platform to book a private chef to come to their home or chosen venue to cook a meal for them and their guests or to give them a private cooking lesson. A SimpleeHost chef will do all of the shopping, cooking and washing up, so the host can relax and truly enjoy their guests.
Our easy-to-use platform is beneficial to both consumers and private chefs. Presently, finding a private chef for an event is challenging for the consumer as the market is very fragmented with limited information on pricing, quality and menu selection. It is also time consuming as it typically requires significant back and forth between both parties to finalize pricing and the menu.

Currently the majority of private chefs work independently; they don’t have the resources to market themselves at scale, manage communications and operations effectively and build trust with new customers. SimpleeHost solves both sides of the equation. For customers, SimpleeHost personally vets all the chefs, verifying the chef’s claimed professional standard and sampling their food for quality assurance. It then provides detailed chef profiles and lists full menus and pricing so the customer can select and book the most suitable chef for their budget and event in a few clicks. In addition, customer reviews and testimonials help build trust in the chefs. For chefs, SimpleeHost enhances their marketing and gives them access to relevant customers at scale, simplifies their booking process, and provides them with secure payment so they can focus on the art of cooking.

We are disruptive in providing the consumer with full transparency through our chef profiles, reviews and priced menus and we make private chefs more accessible and affordable to consumers, with three-course meals starting at £18 per person. We are also unique in this market in that we cater to events starting from a romantic dinner for two to significantly larger events. We have no direct competition in the UK and are looking to grow in adjacent hosting services as well as expand internationally.

My story

I moved to London from New York where I was a Director of Strategy at Bed, Bath and Beyond, managing a c. $500m P&L omni-channel business. Prior to that I had a worked at Starbucks Corporate in P&L management and Food and Beverage innovation. I initially started my career in management consulting and investment banking. While on maternity leave after my first child was born, I decided it was finally time to make the leap from the corporate environment to a the world of startups, it felt like the right time to dedicate myself to my own venture.

One of my mentors, a successful entrepreneur gave me the best advice for running your startup: “think big, start small, scale fast.” It’s on a Post-It on to the wall at our offices, and I look at it every day for inspiration.

Footnote

SimpleeHost is currently fundraising via crowdcube. Here’s the campaign page for those of you registered with the service.

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