TotalCtrl | X-Europe Startup Interview
Welcome to our X-Europe startup interview series. We have virtually sat down with a number of our founders from past cohorts to hear all about their solutions, vision for the future, and what made them tick during our X Europe programme. So whether you are a deep tech founder looking for startup support, an eagle-eyed investor, or simply interested in the possibilities that technology can bring to society, then we welcome you to take a read. Please meet TotalCtrl, a startup that helps restaurants, food retailers and nursing homes gain control over their food inventory by digitizing the manual processes.
Can you briefly explain what your solution is all about? What’s unique about it?
Our solution helps restaurants, food retailers and nursing homes gain control over their food inventory by digitizing the manual processes. This facilitates accurate food inventory control from purchasing to use, ensuring prevention of food waste, time, and money. The solution combines complex technical instruments to provide users with the most necessary information for inventory management.
Most food waste systems out there are focused on measuring food waste and often require the users to invest in hardware and add time-consuming tasks to their day-to-day routine. However, our solution is focused on preventing food waste and reducing time-consuming tasks with the help of software.
What led you to start or join your company? What is the key motivation and mission behind the startup?
My co-founder and I used to work in grocery stores during our studies. We became worried about the future because we witnessed tremendous amounts of food being wasted every day.
Together we started our company, TotalCtrl, with the goal of developing a digital tool that would help fight food waste while saving our customers time and money. Our vision is to provide technology that eliminates food waste throughout the entire value chain, saves money, resources, people, and the planet.
Who are the key target audiences? How does the technology make a positive impact?
Our target customers are consumer-facing businesses such as restaurants, retailers, kindergartens, and elderly homes. Our solution is addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3, which focuses on halving the global per capita food waste at the retail and consumer levels by 2030. Our solution leads to a reduction in food waste because the users become more aware of how their inventory is used and wasted. The analysis and reports generated help the users further identify which areas or departments need improvement.
What’s the biggest milestone your startup has achieved so far, and what has surprised you most on this journey?
The biggest milestone we have achieved so far is the impact we have had on food waste. According to the data gathered using our customers, we have managed to reduce up to 80% of the food waste generated by our customers. Furthermore, we are proud to use our growth as a means to have a positive impact on our employees, society, and the environment.
It is surprising to see the information gap among consumers when it comes to food waste. Also, seeing the determination of people to solve the problem of food waste once they know about it has been a pleasant surprise.
How has X-Europe helped you during the past few months?
X-Europe has helped us in connecting with other startups working within the same industry as us which will lead to possibilities of collaborating on a project. Furthermore, we've been able to get a better understanding of the startup/entrepreneur scene in Europe. We have learned some new skills and got to listen to some great speakers. Getting feedback on our pitching and the pitch deck was very helpful on how to do it in the future.
What are your goals over the next 3, 6, and 12 months?
We have recently launched the TotalCtrl Home app in the UK so our goal for the next 3 months is to make sure we get a lot of traction and users for the app. For the next 6 months, we aim to hire new people to the team who can help us in scaling the solution further. With things opening up in the EU, we plan on expanding to other countries with our inventory and restaurant solutions in the next 12 months.
What advice would you give to an entrepreneur trying to pave his/her way in the Smart Cities & Sustainability landscape?
If someone is trying to enter the sustainability landscape, it is important to keep in mind that the funding opportunities available for sustainability-focused startups are much less than the usual startups. Also, since the startups would most likely deal with the public sector, the longer sales cycle should be taken into consideration. However, things are changing quickly since sustainability is becoming the trend and businesses are focused on meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This can be a huge opportunity for companies that provide sustainable alternatives to traditional ways of doing things.
What’s unique about the X-Europe programme?
Since each cohort focuses on a particular topic, almost all startups within a cohort are connected to each other in some way. This helps in building a better and more useful network which would help us in the future. Other accelerator programs are owned or are run by one company. Here we got multiple companies like Design Terminal, Growth Tribe, etc. sharing that responsibility from different parts of the EU. Each of them specializes in different things. This gives us the opportunity to get feedback and learn from different aspects.