myChef (www.mychefonline.com) is an online cooking resource for a new generation of home chefs: young professional females who live busy, on the go lifestyles but have the latent desire to cook at home. Currently, these individuals do not have the tools or the time to make cooking at home a reality. myChef’s unique technology takes the pain and hassle out of cooking so that delicious doable meals are possible.
The myChef team was founded by two UC Berkeley MBAs, Mili Mittal, CEO and Katie Rinderknecht, CMO, who are both cooking enthusiasts and self-proclaimed “foodies”. The cofounders’ collective experience in entrepreneurship, corporate consulting and CPG marketing is complemented by the technology skills of Nicholas Begitch, interim CTO.
Mili Mittal holds an MBA and Certificate in Entrepreneurship from UC Berkeley Haas and a BA from Duke. Prior to business school, Mili was an IT Consultant at the Corporate Executive Board where she launched a new business line in IT performance benchmarking. Mili has past entrepreneurial experience as the cofounder and Associate Director of the Rhythmaya School of Dance in Washington DC, and while at Haas helped develop social media strategies for companies including HP and eBay.
Prior to completing her MBA at Haas, Katie Rinderknecht worked at Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) as a consultant to various Fortune 500 companies on their major corporate responsibility and sustainability initiatives. While at BSR she successfully launched and won contracts for a new consulting service that she devised. During her tenure at Haas she worked with consumer facing companies including Clorox, method and Gap Inc. on a variety of marketing and social media projects. Katie holds a BA in International Relations from Stanford University.
Nick Begitch has over 10 years of technology and business management experience. He was a global technology manager at Ford Motor Co. He holds a BA from Baylor University and an MBA from Indiana’s Kelly School of Business, with a concentration in IT and Operation. Nick brings access to a team of technical developers at Farshore Ventures II who are skilled at mobile, web and application development. This technical partnership model is enabling myChef to build and launch its beta product with limited funding.
myChef generates revenue through three tracks: affiliate revenue, coupon revenue and advertising revenue. The largest driver of affiliate revenue will be CPA referrals to online grocery delivery services, such as Peapod, which exist in the majority of metropolitan areas where myChef users are located. Additional affiliate revenue will be driven from kitchen equipment retailers, such as Williams-Sonoma. Coupon revenue from food brands is another source of myChef revenue. Food brands have large promotional budgets and significant margins that make online couponing a growing market. In the myChef financial model however, the percentage of users accessing online coupons is estimated at a conservative 10%, given that the myChef target demographic are not generally coupon clippers. Advertising revenue in the form of email campaigns à la Daily Candy is projected to be a source of revenue starting in Y2. The high income users of myChef are valuable advertising demographic that could attract diverse advertisers such as Visa Signature and local high end restaurants.
The recipe website space is undoubtedly crowded. However, rather than competing with existing incumbents like epicurious and allrecipes.com, myChef serves a niche demographic for which its technology is a “killer app,” providing targeted content that is generally unavailable (e.g., while recipes for families of 4 are in abundant supply, quick, gourmet recipes for 1-2 people are in short supply). Further, rather than catering to a demographic that already cooks at home, myChef is designed to serve customers who currently rely on take-out, prepared food, or dining out, and appeals to these users’ sensibilities and constraints. myChef’s proprietary recommendations algorithm, high quality content, and high user switching costs protect its position from copy-cat competitors.