Reaching the Next Stage
By closing an angel investment round in June 2018, CogZum Ltd. received 105,000 Еuros of funding. With the financial support of private investors from CEO Angel’s Club, a complete team will be formed that can execute the marketing and product development roadmap till Q2 of 2019.
The premium version release of the CozZo mobile application is planned in Q4 2018. Hereon, CozZo will start to generate revenues, by prompting users to get the full benefits and functionality of the app by switching to the “Household” account – an annual or a monthly subscription plan. After this launch, CogZum will be looking for the seed round of investment and EU funding.
CogZum project was backed by a private investor, Dessy Kovatcheva, who is a serial entrepreneur and a sustainability expert, and Odasio, an investment company managed by Nevena Suleva, which funds projects in the field of green tech innovations. The funding will be received in several stages, with an option for reinvestment.
A Difficult but Stable Beginning
“CozZo is a complex innovation that requires an initial period of research and experimentation that cannot occur within 2-3 months” explains Founder and Chief Developer, Ivo Dimitrov. He describes that it took the project over a year to reach optimal usability level.
When development of the app passed “First release” milestone (early 2017) Ivo Dimitrov and his former co-founder Yury Shubin looked for investment but was not able to raise the necessary capital. A dark shadow was hanging over such investments amassed by a line of unsuccessful start-ups in Bulgaria, funded in the period 2012-2016.
Ivo Dimitrov believes that the fact, that despite all setbacks, the project was able to reach the product-market-fit stage without any external funding, played a crucial role in creating investment trust. “With minimum resources, we were able to make impressive progress and attract a solid group of early adopters in the UK, currently the most competitive food tech market in the world” shares Ivo Dimitrov.
A Tech Solution to a Global Problem
CozZo is a next-gen integrated solution for household food management, which combines complete pantry inventory, shopping assistance and a precise expiry date tracking system. “Modern households lack the skills and time of running their kitchens, in the way our grandparents did”, says Ivo. “As a result, we throw a lot of food away, for example, consumers in EU countries are currently accountable for 53% of all food waste.”
CozZo Founder explains that besides presenting an ecological hazard and an ethical issue, household food waste puts a serious financial burden on our budgets. According to FAO, an average household in the western countries annually bin between 95-115kg of food each year, which when translated into money amounts to 1500 USD in the US and 750 GBP in the UK.
Both the EU and the US have passed prescriptions that are aimed at reducing food waste by 50% by 2030. It is yet not clear what measure will be implemented. Ivo Dimitrov strongly believes that the way to solve the issue of global food waste at home is through tech intervention. “People in developed countries are not only ready but actively seeking for such tech solutions in order to assist them in running their kitchen. They have realized they can no longer manage this process on their own,” says CogZum founder.
Fighting Tech Scepticism
The team behind CozZo has a strong stance against all tech sceptics in the area of food waste. “The fact that earlier attempts in this direction have failed, does not prove that technology is not a solution,” maintains Ivo Dimitrov, “it only proves, that technology has to go hand in hand with the understanding of the real pain points that people experience in their kitchen routines. Addressing these pain points through an accurate user experience delivered through smart, self-learning and intuitive technology is the solution.”
Technology has already taken over certain parts of people’s lives, to the extent that they can no longer imagine a day without it. There is no reason that these habits cannot be extended to food management given the right technology. This is exactly our purpose.
Ivo and his team are making constant real-time iterations in the application. Based on daily monitoring of user behaviour they constantly try to identify new pain points. “Than we sit down and think of ways how to overcome them. We protype a solution and we test it. It’s an ongoing process,” say Ivo Dimitrov, “there is always room for improvement!”
Many More Ideas Ahead
As of today, he and his team have implemented only up to 25% of all the ideas they have. The next step is the premium household account that includes barcode scanning, which is a vital feature for UK consumers. The release of Android and Apple Watch versions are planned for the first quarter of 2019.
In the near future, CozZo will offer its own smart kitchen devices, that will automatically monitor the amount of food you have left and when it expires, a smart fridge camera, as well as many other extra functionalities of the application. The ambition of the Founder is to create a holistic solution for the kitchen of the future.
Currently, the app is officially available in 5 App Stores – Bulgaria, the US, the UK, the Netherlands and Ireland, but it has users in more than 20 countries. Right now, the app’s largest market is the UK, and the fastest growing in the US. In the next two years, the platform will be developed for all the Western European markets.
The Model, a Road Well Travelled
CozZo has adopted a classical operational model for mobile apps which is based on a combination of free and subscription-based features. Usually, a user downloads and uses an app for a while, experiencing its more basic features. If they like what they see, they can get much more benefits through the paid part of the app. This is an operational model that functions since the launch of the App Store and Google Play Store.
Apart from subscription, the CozZo app will give its customers the opportunity to do online shopping directly – a major trend in the UK where 7% of shopping is online – and charge a small commission for that.
“We have still a long way to go. But now we are sure about the direction we are heading, ” says Ivo, optimistic about the future.