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How Daniel Audu, CEO Mobilecooks, is building Africa’s Uber for chefs



How Daniel Audu, CEO Mobilecooks, is building Africa's Uber for chefs

Mobilecooks is a foodtech startup based in Lagos, leveraging technology to enhance the Nigerian food industry by solving some of the major bottlenecks that hampers food delivery and logistics.

Mobilecooks operates as a digital platform that provides individuals, households, and organizations with on-demand fresh farm produce, professional chef services, and kitchen empowerment programs for entrepreneurial chefs on the go.

In this Interview, the CEO of Mobilecooks, Daniel Audu, speaks with Ridwan Adelaja on the inspiration behind the startup, and other detail that is helping the startup to scale.

How big is the market you and your team are penetrating?

“Thank you for asking. According to a recent research study my team embarked on, we discovered that there are more than 8 million users that engage the kind of solution we offer on a yearly basis. With this revelation, we project reaching out to 400,000 clients on a yearly basis.

“We found out that the market value would be worth 400 million dollars going by our pricing of $50 per service rendered. The market is quite promising, and with this, we believe that in 10 years, this market could have grown into billions as business continues to grow.

“For us at Mobilecooks, the real joy is helping our clients take care of their food while they concentrate on their various businesses.”

I understand that your idea of Mobilecooks is to build Africa’s Uber for Chefs. How did you come about this idea? And for how long have you been working on it?

“Yes, that’s the vision. To build an Uber-like solution for African chefs such that people can order food from their comfort zones and hire talented chefs from across the country.

“Mobilecooks was founded in 2019. We are about 3 years old since we ventured on this foodtech ambition. I must add that as the founder, I started working on the idea as far back as 2015.”

I see you have invested time and resources in this ambition. How do you deal with competition, especially for the fact that Jiji and a number of other brands run similar offering? Also, tell me more about the problem you’re solving with Mobilecooks?

“What is certain is that the market is a large one. So, everyone can play in the market for a good share. Our concern, at Mobilecooks, is to be the people’s choice. Our unique selling point makes us standout from the pack.

“At Mobilecooks, we understand that many busy professionals and businesses don’t have sufficient time to prepare food or do utility chores themselves. This is where we come in.

“We are basically helping busy professionals and businesses save time, so they can focus on their goals. We achieve this by matching pre-vetted professionals chefs, fresh meals, farm-fresh produce and utility workers to them on demand.

“The idea is to provide on-demand food solutions and take chores-stress off busy people.”

What were you into before Mobilecooks? Tell me about your background and previous work experience?

“In 2016, I launched my third startup ( I cofounded it with my friends from university. Before then, I had founded a real estate startup where my team published over 1,000 copies of real estate property directories and made a mobile app for it.

“Talking about DriversNG. We launched it as a business that helps busy professionals and businesses find reliable drivers in real-time. The business has served over 4,000 customers and onboarded over 12,000 drivers. In fact, it was on the verge of offering this service, that the idea of MOBILECOOKS sprang out from, as users were also asking for the services of chefs.

“So, pretty much I have been around in the tech ecosystem for a while with different startup pilots.”

What are the most recent milestones recorded by your team?

“We recently launched our cooking school, and we are currently accepting applications from people who want to be professional and certified chefs.

“We have also been able to complete a re-launch of our product where we changed our brand colour from green to blue. The rationale behind the blue is bringing rest to all its customers. It seeks to bring convenience and satisfaction to existing and new customers.

“Since our launch, more than 100 chefs have been placed in jobs, with over 2,000 meals delivered.”

What is in the pipeline for the world to look out for?

“We are working on onboarding more professional chefs. We have many special opportunities for them. Also, our cooking school is accepting new chefs who want to learn the culinary trade.

“In the next 12 months, our plan is to match 2,000 chefs to jobs. We also look forward to training 500 new chefs and deliver 20,000 litres of food over the next 12 months.”

What business model does Mobilecooks operate?

“We currently run a combination of business models. We serve customers in real-time via software as a service/self-service model where we charge users commission as they order via our platform. Meanwhile, customers that seek to hire chefs on a long term basis are charged via monthly, six-month, yearly subscriptions or one-off plans.

Any investment yet? Who are the investors? How much so far has been raised? And at what valuation is Mobilecooks?

“Mobilecooks has raised some equity investment, but we will prefer to leave it undisclosed. At the moment, we are eyeing more investment so that we can scale our venture, and facilitate our expansion plans into a new market like Ghana.

Finally, speaking on future plans, where do you see the startup in the next 5 years?

“In the next 5 years, we want to have onboarded and matched over 10,000 chefs to jobs, delivered over 100,000 litres of fresh meals and over 50,000 fresh farms produce. By then, we project to have expanded into Ghana as a thriving foodtech startup. Thank you for having me.”

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