The StoVoo effect: How BetaRaise is helping in their exciting takeover of the food industry

Impact Hub Accra, in partnership with VC4A and supported by FMO’s Ventures Program, started BetaRaise to help first-time venture leaders enjoy a seamless journey from launching a beta product to raising their first pre-seed investment round within record time. The low-frills approach of the BetaRaise program brings together startups focused on urban food systems, mass-market distribution, renewable energy and e-mobility, the gig economy, and fintech.

The StoVoo Effect

The evolution of the food industry in and around Ghana has seen a major shift from preparing ingredients for specialized cooking to purchasing food. From curiosity to familiarity, the reasons for this change remain endless, and with it comes a major challenge: low transparency and reduced quality in service.

The StoVoo story begins with Freeman Faithful, a serial entrepreneur, Saydee Sackor, an American logistics expert, and Kobina Wallace, a well-known digital growth strategist. The idea finally set sail when Mr. Freeman, a bachelor at the time, expressed dissatisfaction with the food delivery system in Ghana.

A major problem StoVoo identified with food companies and delivery services in Ghana, Nigeria and the USA was the lack of knowledge about food and cooking and the low quality of services rendered. Their answer? To intentionally build a super app that considered all sides of the problem, from food order transparency to culinary culture diversity and customer service.

Think of Instagram + Instacart + Ubereats + Blue apron + Udemy + all in one app.

Product-Market Fit

During the first quarter of 2022, the StoVoo website went live and in the span of ten months, has seen the number of users both consumers and culinary experts, grow exponentially. A stray number of users have allowed for the social growth of the StoVoo brand, which has, in turn, provided StoVoo with extensive market reach.

One major issue StoVoo faced during its primary months of operation was the lack of in-depth knowledge of what the brand offers outside food delivery. Users categorized StoVoo as just another food delivery service. With their platform still being improved and updated, the team is looking to communicate to users about their additional services, some of which include virtual culinary education.

Before acquiring such a feat, the team recognizes their need for additional financing and guidance to ensure their venture remains sustainable and profitable.

To ensure StoVoo transcended from an app to fill our bellies into something more sustainable, we needed appropriate guidance on how best to scale and grow into an international brand.

The Journey with BetaRaise

Being selected for the first cohort of Betaraise was a dream come true for the StoVoo team. After introductory sessions and further business diagnostics, the StoVoo team was also teamed up with Venture Partners. Venture Partners, which are experienced senior professionals from different disciplines, were tasked with helping the company figure out critical aspects of a business, such as the financial model, pitch deck, marketing strategy and legal compliance.

When asked to describe the founders of StoVoo, Valerie Labi, Venture Partner and country manager for BIMA insurance and cofounder of Cargo Bikes Africa, highlighted teamwork as one of their major strengths. “The thing that stood out to me the most was the team’s strength. They have evident experience building successful enterprises, as well as an ability to challenge each other respectfully to make the right decision for their customer.” The founders admit that their close-knit bond, which centers around entrepreneurship, food and soccer, has contributed to the growth of StoVoo.

Next to the matchmaking with Venture Partners, BetaRaise supported StoVoo in reaching out  to well-suited investors within the food-tech space. Also, being a part of a cohort featuring 9 other startups felt like home to the founder of StoVoo, enabling them to share experiences with other founders while rethinking and calibrating their company values.

Through Betaraise, we’ve been connected with the appropriate guidance we needed at every stage. We’ve been part of financial modelling and marketing conferences, as well as cohort networking, all of which has given us insight into the commitment we need on this entrepreneurial journey.

Two characteristics that stood out to the Venture Partners about the StoVoo team were their energy and enthusiasm. “The StoVoo team listens, seeks out feedback, and then makes sense of everything so that their response is one they own.” says their other Venture Partner, Simon Turner, MD of Founder Institute Ghana. He also admits that the team and their product still have plenty to unearth and discover. Their commitment to their values and high standards however, leaves him confident in their ability to grow.

The future of food service with StoVoo

“We want to provide a diverse e-learning module with online training & appointment service that allows interested users to learn how to prepare diverse dishes from different global vendors & chefs.”

Since its launch, the StoVoo web app has recorded over 80,000 monthly visits from Ghana, Nigeria and the United States. StoVoo users are privy to a high level of transparency regarding their meals, including the choice, source and quantity of ingredients utilized.

To generate more company revenue and increase the startup’s overall valuation, StoVoo is looking to set up shops in 12 countries for inter-exchange knowledge and logistics operations. In addition to its web app, which currently records over 100,000 estimated registered interests, the company is working on launching the StoVoo app, which will go live in the first quarter of 2023. Their beta list currently has over 40 registered vendors, 20 chefs  and 100 private testers awaiting their official beta app testing.