We talked to José Luis Cabañero, founder of Eatable Adventures, about innovation in the food industry, and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
José Luis Cabañero: Thanks for asking. Fortunately, we are all doing fine; both family and the majority of our team haven’t been seriously affected by covid.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Eatable Adventures.
José Luis Cabañero: I’ve been active in the innovation and new technologies industry for almost 30 years, working with such international corporations as Cisco, Oracle, BBVA, and Unisys as EMEA and LATAM new markets and emerging sectors development business director. As part of these activities, I could witness the impact technology is having in each and every market segment.
Back in 2015, I’ve funded Eatable Adventures together with Mila Valcárel and José de Isasa. We had the notion that, similarly to other market segments, Technology would enter the Agrifood space, and there was a need to define the new business models that will define the evolution of this market. The combination of our experiences in business, marketing, communications, Technology, and gastronomy is our first driver, and our aim is to build tomorrow’s food companies.
How does Eatable Adventures innovate?
José Luis Cabañero: At Eatable Adventures, we believe startups are leading the way in creating solutions to transform how food is produced, transformed, and consumed. We meet entrepreneurs on a recurring basis, and working with them to help propel their ventures is always a source of fresh ideas, radical innovation, and willingness to improve business. Working with entrepreneurs is our innovation engine.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
José Luis Cabañero: The very first lockdown was totally unexpected. Given we are a lean company, we were able to shift to remote working with an easy and smooth process. We were skipping traveling and conducting all meetings remotely made it easier to move faster and serve a larger number of clients and entrepreneurs. Despite the general trend, 2020 has been a tremendous year for innovation. Big corporations have become more aware of the importance of open innovation, so our market presence actually expanded during the past year.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
José Luis Cabañero: Our first decision was to preserve the health of our team, reallocating all operations to teleworking and digital services. Customers quickly reassured business commitment and actually demanded new services to cope with their emerging needs derived from the pandemia. Food is a first need segment and assuring food security was a key milestone for our clients. We were required to provide them with advanced solutions to evolve their operations to the new digital space.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
José Luis Cabañero: From the startup perspective, we manage our relationships mainly through a tailor-made CRM that allows us to maintain a one-to-many really targeted approach. On one side, we are able to keep the startups informed about what is going on in the Eatable ecosystem, and on the other side, they also keep their information updated. Then we also have a more one-to-one communication approach working closely with each startup when we detect a possible fit with a challenge, an incubation, or acceleration program we are developing. When referring to our corporate clients, we definitely have a completely different approach because these companies are more structured and usually need a customized set of tools.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
José Luis Cabañero: We took advantage of some of the new financial plans promoted by the Government but didn’t get any specific grant.
Your final thoughts?
José Luis Cabañero: We are still living in complex times derived from the pandemia, which in turn is accelerating the transition to digital businesses and forcing all of us to look for better ways to serve humanity’s growing need for healthier food produced with even fewer resources.
It’s an amazing time to be part of this market segment.
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