Nearly a year ago, I spoke with co-founder of Sinimanes.com, Ignacio Gugliemetti, about how he was growing his food delivery startup in Buenos Aires. A year later, Sinimanes has expanded significantly and, as one of the recent winners of Startup Chile, is moving the business into the Chilean market as well.
LASB: It’s been almost a year since we did our first interview with you. Besides your recent expansion to Chile, how has Sinimanes changed?
IG: Basically, our most important change is that we have grown exponentially.
After a year and a half of operation in Buenos Aires, we have reached these numbers:
- 70.000 orders delivered
- 20.000 users that ordered at least once
- 900 restaurants
- The big restaurant chains of Argentina work with us and also they have special Sinimanes applications on their website. Examples include: the largest empanadas chain El Noble, and the largest high-end pizza chain pizzeria Romario.
We have also made a lot of changes in the functionalities and the design of the website. We improved the user backend and the restaurant backend, where they can receive the order in a more efficient way.
Three months ago we incorporated the user’s ratings and reviews of the restaurants. 33% of the orders receive a review (1 out of 3).
Lastly, due to the increase in operations we’ve added more team members. The Buenos Aires headquarter will open a bigger office in January.
IG: We won the entrepreneurship contest “Start Up Chile” and, being one of the co-founders, we decided I would be the one to go to Chile as part of the program. This was an excellent opportunity to make the deployment of Sinimanes in Chile and to analyze the market with more accuracy.
Also, our increasing know-how of the business and the strength of the website gives us the assurance that we can be regional.
Chile is a great country for entrepreneurs due to its growing economy and the government programs to support start-ups.
The market is also attractive; about 8 million people live in Santiago, the food delivery market is huge, and it is growing.
LASB: Earlier this year you visited New York to talk to another food delivery company, Seamless. What did you learn during that visit that has helped your business?
Here is our post in the blog of our Seamless visit:
Sinimanes.com went to New York and met up with Ben Luban, business developer of one of the world’s leading online delivery websites Seamless.com to talk about the online delivery industry.
For starters, New York and Buenos Aires are similar in terms of population and the high percentage of people that choose delivery.
However, being an option for over 10 years, online delivery in New York is deeply incorporated into the way of life and people are generally more used to technology as a tool for solving everyday problems.
There is a rapid tendency in Buenos Aires to use technology as a problem-solving demigod which creates great potential for first movers in online businesses such as Sinimanes.com.
Although it may seem obvious at first, customer service, combined with the image the company portrays is at the core of marking the difference when a user chooses you and the next guy. In a business where people want to eat, the less obstacles they have, the better.
There are many obstacles to online delivery service in Argentina, however, one has to accept the challenges and turn the bad into the good. One of the priorities for Sinimanes.com right now is closing the deal online by incorporating a credit card payment method.
As I mentioned before, online delivery, and online “things” in general are still at an infancy in Argentina. This is why Sinimanes.com wants to be at the forefront in solving the inefficiencies inherent in conventional call-in delivery. Sinimanes.com’s customer-focused approach is looking to transform how people order food into what can be not only a pleasant, but a fun experience.
Meeting with Ben from Seamless.com allowed us here at Sinimanes.com to see the great potential in online delivery. As of yet, New Yorkers prefer ordering food online to ordering by phone and that is what we would like to see here in Argentina!
LASB: What has been your greatest challenge as you have expanded?
IG: We have several challenges with expansion. We have to deal with a much higher amount of orders during the rush hour.
Even though the acquisition of new restaurants has been easier for us, due to the fact that people know more about us now, increasing restaurant implementation on the website has brought us many challenges.
All this implies more resources and we have to finance this expansion with funds. Fund-raising has been the greatest challenge since we started thinking about Sinimanes.com. We have raised us$250.000 and we are still looking for more investments to expand the service through Latinamerica.
LASB: I understand that your next steps include possible expansion to Colombia and Peru. Will you face local competition there? Any acquisition plans?
Our competition is Pedidosya. They have launched a few months ago in those countries, so the online food delivery industry is in an early stage, earlier even than in Argentina. We are sure that we can lead those markets as we do in Argentina.
We are not planning to acquire other companies.