Grow Food is not Daniel's only project, but the first that became so successful. As a student at the Computer Technology Department, Daniel started coding from the very beginning of his studies. He was working at the Radario company for two years but then he realized that he needs to do something more than coding.
Back then he saw an announcement in social networks titled with something like "Tired of working for someone? Want to start your own business?" It was an ad of ITMO’s SumIT startup school.
The startuper came to the SumIT with an "aggregator" for online shopping sales. Then he transformed this idea into the Style&Go project. He worked on this idea together with his partner who told him about another of ITMO’s accelerator iDealMachine. Thanks to it the students met Andrey Borodich, business angel, who invested $ 20,000 in this project.
According to Daniel, Style&Go aimed to "monetize men’s troubles with shopping." Like many guys, Daniel has never enjoyed shopping. He would prefer to hire a stylist to work on his look and then get the clothes delivered to him.
He started developing this "shopping of his dreams" without assistants — he coded, looked for clients in social networks, made cold calls, made contacts with shops and delivered clothes. Then he got his first profits and hired call managers and stylists but unfortunately this project was far from prosperity.
Unlike the USA such services are not so popular in Russia due to economic reasons — there is not so many representatives of the middle class here whose salary per month is about 100 — 150 thousand rub. Furthermore to offer a client several suits to choose from, he had to bring at least five to ten outfits for him to try. It was very hard to make shop owners give so many clothes for a long period of time because in fact clients bought only one outfit.
Daniel didn’t give up and continued to launch new projects, however these did not succeed. However Daniel had no time to worry because back then he had already launched the Grow Food project. Unexpectedly it became more and more profitable and required a lot of effort and time.
The idea appeared by chance. In 2015 Daniel started going to the gym. When his sport coach offered him a meal plan, which included five necessary food intakes per day, his enthusiasm decreased. Daniel didn't have much time for cooking and washing up. He tried to solve this problem by looking for food delivery services for sportsmen. Unfortunately he couldn’t afford them.
Then he decided to make his own service. He found a business partner in a gym. They started developing Grow Food without any cooking abilities!
The service offers meals in disposable lunch boxes. It gives an opportunity to stop thinking about how and when to cook breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Moreover, the price is appropriate — from 3,300 rub per week.
Daniel and Pavel, his business partner, rented a kitchen and hired several cooks. Their first ten clients were their friends. Then unexpectedly for the startupers, thanks to word-of-mouth advertising they started attracting more and more people. One famous body builder offered to promote Grow Food on his Instagram account if they were to deliver meals to him for free. They accepted the offer, and this helped them find 15 clients.
"The things we do is not Porsche quality. We offer Hyundai Solaris with its basic options for a sum affordable to any guy who visits the gym."
This experience motivated Daniel and Pavel to make contacts with many fitness bloggers — all of them helped to promote the project. Then Alexander Borodich, who previously collaborated with Daniel, invested 4 million dollars in the Grow Food. It resulted in expanding of their client base up to 300 people.
Today Grow Food has 1,500 clients, the monthly turnover is about 25 million rubles. It also has 200 staff members, own logistics service, offices in St. Petersburg and Moscow and tons of plans for the future. In August 2016 Daniel and Pavel received 30 million rub from Russian venture fund AddVenture and now they plan to cover the whole of Russia with their service. During the next year they also want to open a rep office in Miami.
REgarding how they found support for their business, Daniel adds: "Investors put money in people, not in projects. Nobody knows what idea will make progress. My previous projects that had failed didn’t prevent Alexander Borodich from investing in the last one. The most important is how seriously a person takes a business."