What do you get when you mix Epicurious with Peapod, and throw in a Netflix-like recommendation algorithm for good measure? This week’s Small Business Spotlight, mor.sl.
mor.sl solves two problems all of us face at some point: what to eat for dinner and ensuring all the ingredients are in your kitchen. mor.sl’s homepage lists pictures of carefully curated recipes, everything from homemade BBQ sauce, to pad thai, to chicken with curry sauce… and everything in between. At the bottom of the screen, mor.sl asks you questions about your eating habits, things like how comfortable you are in the kitchen and where your favorite dishes come from. Recipes will then be sorted based on your answers, and you can filter the suggested recipes by prep time. Pretty perfect, right?
But, wait, there’s more! After you find the perfect recipe, all you have to do is click the shopping cart icon, add it to your bag, and order the correct ingredients. And then they are delivered to your door. A one-stop shop for all your grocery and cooking needs.
Mili shares more below about her genius service:
How would you explain what you do to somebody’s grandmother?
Imagine if you could come home each day to a menu that was personally crafted for you and if all the ingredients you needed to make that menu were waiting for you in your fridge. Now you can. mor.sl is a website that recommends recipes based on your tastes and cooking habits and delivers the ingredients for those recipes to your door. Just add recipes to your cart and watch as your shopping list is magically created. Add or remove ingredients as needed, and relax. We’ll hand select your ingredients through our delivery partners and they’ll arrive at your door.
No more greasy takeout, no more tedious list building, and no more long lines at the store; just delicious, doable cooking at your fingertips.
What are some industry specific challenges you faced?
The food space is a crowded and very fragmented market, so it takes a lot of time to build relationships and partnerships. It’s also pretty hard to dissect someone’s palate – food is so subjective and mood-based. But luckily, we’re finding that our recommendations algorithm is fairly accurate – and we’re working to make it even better!
What was your biggest learning curve/experience?
It may sound cliché, but persistence pays off. It’s easy to give up when everything’s looking down. But if you keep chasing whatever you’re after – a meeting, a story, a partnership, a customer… and if you’re listening and willing to adapt, your persistence will pay off. The second thing is this notion that the universe is conspiring for you, not against you. When I first started the company, I was really afraid to reach out to people, because I thought they would say “no.” Then I learned to get over the fear of “no,” because at the end of the day “no,” doesn’t kill you… in fact, it teaches you something. So, when I get “no,” I listen. But more often than not, I find, I get “yes,” because people are inherently interested in helping other people.
What made you use crowdSPRING?
When I first started the company, I didn’t have an in-house designer. I knew I needed a killer logo to stand out from the crowd, but I didn’t have a sense of what I wanted. A fellow entrepreneur friend recommended that I try crowdSPRING, so we did. It was so easy!
What’s the craziest story you have from starting your own business?
There are lots to choose from, but people probably think it’s pretty crazy that I literally never met one of my cofounders in person until a year after we’d begun working together. We were resource constrained and everything was done over Skype and IM! Thank god for technology.
Six words of advice to those looking to start their own company.
Be prepared. Be persistent. Be patient.
If you could go back, would you do anything differently? If so, what and why?
Hind sight is 20/20, right? You can’t get it right the first time, every time; in fact, you usually can’t get it right unless you’ve gotten it wrong first. So, I wouldn’t say there’s any major thing I would go back and do differently, but based on the mistakes I’ve made, I’d do certain things differently in the future. Mostly it’s a series of smaller things rather than one major thing.
How do you see your company growing in the future?
There are a lot of opportunities for growth for mor.sl. In the near term, we’re very focused on the launch of our grocery delivery service integration, which will soon be available in Washington, D.C.
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