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Startup Stories: Daniel Carew, Co-Founder & COO at adash

adash co-founder, Daniel Carew, joins us on Startup Stories to talk about creating the world’s first food content creator-specific app.

by hao-nguyen on January 18, 2022

Daniel Carew is a co-founder at adash, the world’s first food content creator-specific app, connecting food content creators to their biggest fans.

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Hi Daniel, welcome back to The Nudge Group, it’s great to have you back chatting with us. For those who may not know, can you tell us a little about adash and what led you and your co-founders to launch it?

adash was founded in a start-up accelerator run by early-stage VC Antler through a shared passion to build a fairer and more reliable revenue stream for content creators outside of the traditional channels. My co-founders and I were united specifically on food as we are all interested in the cross over of content and food for different reasons. 

Personally, I am fructose intolerant and struggle to find good quality recipes online. Giles has been in hospitality for over a decade having founded and grown Two Hands in New York while An’s wife is a YouTube creator and knows the pain of what can be an unfair and unreliable revenue stream. 

Through our unique backgrounds and connections, we have accumulated an in-depth understanding of the difficulty faced by both foodies and food creators and truly believe adash can be the catalyst for a better experience for all involved.

I always love hearing stories about how founders meet. You guys went through the Antler program, what was that experience like? 

Before joining the Antler program I had heard it likened to a rollercoaster which I didn’t truly understand until joining. There are so many ups and downs within Antler and it all happens so fast but it is as fun and exciting as it is rewarding. You meet so many amazing people in the program and have a network of support amongst your peers but also from the wider Antler network which has proved extremely valuable. 

What would you say was your most memorable moment from the Antler program?

The is an easy one, for sure it was the day we found out we made it through their investment committee and they were investing in Adash. 

It meant that our months of hard work had really paid off and that we now had a real business to go out and build with venture capital. For me personally, I have always wanted to have my own business and that day was when it became a reality. 

Outside of that, there were a lot of great memories with some amazing people amongst the hackathons, the networking and the learning opportunities.

You started adash in January of this year, how has your role as COO changed as the company has grown, especially with the COVID lockdowns?

Being an early-stage start-up we have all had to wear many hats throughout the first 9 months which has been not only fun and exciting but also necessary to get adash to where we are today. There have been many ups and downs on the journey so far and my role as COO has really been to continue steering the ship in the right direction as well as reflecting back on how we got to where we are and why. With the Sydney lockdowns and the need to work remotely, there has been a slight change in the way we work but we adapted really quickly and have been able to continue to make really strong progress towards our goals. 

What have been some of your biggest challenges and the key lessons you’ve learnt from them?

The biggest challenge for adash so far has been driving both sides of our marketplace in the early stages. All marketplaces face the chicken or the egg problem and Adash has been no different. However, we are in a unique position in that our supply drives the demand and we have learned so much now about the supply side that we feel like we are starting to crack the code.

We have been testing and validating things along the way which have proven to take longer than we first set out to do. The biggest learning from all the challenges we have faced is that Rome wasn’t built in a day and although you want everything done yesterday these things take time. Progress over perfection is a quote from one of our creators Tom Walton which rings true for us as well, paired nicely with patience and the willingness to continually learn. 

As someone who has previously worked at large corporations, and now running a start-up, in your opinion, what do you think are the important skills or traits for someone to thrive in the start-up environment?

Coming from a large corporate background taught me so many great skills that have been crucial in putting me in a position to now run a start-up. However there is a huge change in attitude and pace when moving from the corporate world to the start-up world and I think that is what set’s most people apart, you either love it or you hate it. 

Working in the start-up world definitely requires a lot of initiative for self-learning, belief in yourself that you can learn, adapt and thrive, as well as the drive and determination to keep turning up when the chips are down. 

If you possess a combination of these traits and the willingness to build something that can truly make a difference in people’s lives then it can become very addictive and increasingly hard to leave. 

One last question before we let you go, what’s next for adash? Where do you see the company in the next 12 months?

At the end of August, we closed out our pre-seed round which has allowed us to bring more firepower to the team, begin building the new product and start moving a lot faster.

The aim for us is to continue onboarding accomplished Creators of great food and connecting them with avid consumers of it locally and internationally. 

We’ve got some exciting news coming out towards Christmas around some well-known and respected Creators joining the platform which we are very excited about. From here the plan will be to raise a Seed Round in 2022 to take adash to the next level again. 

Sounds awesome, thanks for chatting Daniel, it was great learning about how you started adash and where you plan to take the company!

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