A lesson in bouncing back from failure

The majority of new businesses fail in their first year, but almost every business owner believes their venture will be the exception to the rule.

Roshan Mahanama is one serial entrepreneur who knows when it’s time to call it quits.

Earlier this year, he was working towards the launch of Zamon, an app to let consumers order and pay for coffee from connected cafes on the move and pick it up ready to go. Just six weeks after its launch, Zamon was dead in the water.

With Zamon now in the past, Mahanama is working on YourFork, a platform that helps home cooks create online stores to sell their food.

Mahanama said the decision to move on from Zamon was easy to make when he realised just how difficult it was to get busy café owners on board.

“It just came down to the question, did cafés need us? Could cafés survive if we weren’t around?” he said.

The new venture, which Mahanama describes as “an Etsy for food”, has a different answer to the question. In working with home cooks with other full time jobs, Mahanama believes the platform provides a valuable service to a group that currently has no other solution.

After coming up with the idea for YourFork, the team created a simple landing page and Facebook page for the platform to gauge interest in the service before deciding whether or not to build. Aiming to get 5 cooks to sign up in a month, they ended up with 100.

The building process took six to eight weeks, thanks to the experience the team had building Zamon; they were able to quickly solve tech issues they had already faced earlier on.

The platform is now seeing two to three cooks register each week, with the team visiting each cook to help them construct menus and set prices, and take photos for their store page before they launch.

While Mahanama believes this venture will go the distance, he’s keeping expectations relatively low – he hopes to have about 100 cooks actively selling within the next six months.

“I hope we can keep discovering chefs who have unique twists on dishes…the cooks are the rock stars.”

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