"Hatchery+" participants ready to go the distance

Passionate about food and driven by their idea: Johnson Su and Adam Love. Picture supplied

Passionate about food and driven by their idea: Johnson Su and Adam Love. Picture supplied

In summary: 
  • Budding entrepreneurs Adam Love and Johnson Su have just begun their journey with the first intake of UTS "Hatchery+" – a three-month incubator accelerator program and co-working space
  • With long hours of toil already behind them developing their venture getFoodi, they hope to iron out some of their remaining challenges taking part in Hatchery+

You've seen the stories in the paper – the high school student who developed an app and made millions overnight. They just happened to stumble on the idea at the right time and be in the right place.

So, it's all about luck, right? Budding young entrepreneurs Adam Love and Johnson Su beg to differ. Among the first intake of new UTS "Hatchery+" program, they already know the path to entrepreneurship is not quite so instantaneous or glamorous.

Love, who is in his fourth year of Innovation Engineering at UTS, and Su, studying Civil Engineering at the University of NSW, are about to launch their latest venture  getFoodi – a site that helps people to find the best chefs in their community. Think bespoke cakes in the shape of a child's favourite toy or catering for a dinner party.

Far from being "overnight entrepreneurs" the driven duo has been steadily chipping away at ideas and ventures. They often work late into the night and forgo sleep while juggling study and work and have been doing so since their high school days at Kings Parramatta.

One way they hope to be assisted with facing some of the challenges is through Hatchery+, a pilot initiative of UTS that supports early stage startup ventures founded by UTS students and recent graduates.

Their team has been accepted to take part in the very first intake of the three-month program and supported co-working space. It's been designed especially for those trying to get a venture off the ground and ready to take it to the next level.

The idea for getFoodi came about when late one night Su arrived home to his apartment from another stint working late with Love. Not only was he too tired to cook, but the tempting smells of home cooking wafted in from the apartment next door and taunted him. 

"Why can't I give them some money and get a portion?" he said to Love the next day. "There could be an idea in that," was Love's reply.  

They decided to test the hypothesis by offering students at UNSW the option to buy home-cooked spaghetti Bolognese at a reasonable price. A website was quickly produced and they started spreading the word.

"We thought we'd have to make about ten portions," said Love. Within a day they had 130 orders, within a week 300. "We took the site down and roped in people to help."

And so began their journey to create getFoodi. The idea was for people to be able to order well-priced home-cooked dinners and for talented cooks to sign up to provide them. Excited by the possibilities they told their friends and family. "Pretty much everyone thought it was a dumb idea," says Love with a smile.

Friends and family "helpfully" pointed out the many obstacles and many of them did crop up. "It was mainly around the legalities and rules around food preparation certification," says Love. They are currently in discussion with some of their competitors to see if they can rally together to have legislation amended.

In the meantime, they have had to amend their original business plan a little, and instead of having home chefs, a range of talented certified chefs have signed up as providers. Longer term they will continue chipping away at their original vision and plan to also help budding cooks get their certification so they can sign up.

The two are passionate about food and driven by their idea, but there's more than that spurring them on. Far from being a deterrent, the problems they face are a source of motivation. 

"People have a misconception of what an entrepreneur is," says Love. "They think it's someone who just tinkers for a couple of hours and then takes a break. They don't realise the long hours, the discipline and commitment it takes."

When asked what their advice is for budding entrepreneurs just starting out, Su is quick to answer, "Don't expect anything to happen in the first three years." getFoodi is set to launch in May.