Marc-Antoine Bovet and his colleagues launched Oatbox in 2014. The founders have one thing in common: they often skip breakfast because they can’t find the foods they want.
“We found that the breakfast product offering had changed slightly over the years. So the idea of selling healthy, nutritious food online and sending it home. Our product was well received from the start,” he said. explained Marc-Antoine Bovet, CEO of the company. However, he kept the number of his subscribers secret.
Today, the young company that specializes in the online sale of healthy and nutritious breakfast products ships thousands of boxes every month.
In the spring of 2017, the start-up closed the first round of financing of $ 1.55 million with investors in Quebec to give itself a way to accelerate its growth.
“With this money, we invested in research and development to launch new products like our protein breakfast bar and an oatmeal,” explains Marc-Antoine Bovet, CEO and co-founder of Oatbox.
These are in addition to cereal blends made with seasonal ingredients, most of which are organic, which the company ships monthly to customers, for a minimum subscription fee of $ 20.
“The formula is flexible. Customers can change the delivery frequency as they see fit, even if they stop for a while and resume service afterwards, ”Bovet added.
Lunch is served at the office
In addition to developing new products, the company recently enhanced its offering by launching Oatbox for business, which allows it to reach new customers.
“Companies are always looking for new solutions to ensure the well-being of their employees, such as offering them breakfast. We thought we could offer a healthy lunch with Oatbox,” he explains. Marc-Antoine Bovet.
Another phenomenon that is driving demand: a growing number of workers are leaving home too early to avoid traffic jams, forcing them to have lunch at the office.
More than fifty companies have subscribed to this service which was launched six months ago, Mr. Bovet.
Oatbox currently accounts for half of its turnover in Quebec, the rest is distributed between other Canadian provinces and the United States.
The market offers good growth prospects, according to Marc-Antoine Bovet.
“Studies show that more than 50% of the population in North America does not eat breakfast every day, even though it is the most important meal of the day according to some specialists.»
The increasing competition in the sector of selling foods on the web is far from scaring him, on the contrary.
“We see that very positively. More and more people are ordering food online, which didn’t happen five years ago. It has become more normal to subscribe to a service like ours, or even to some. »
- Founded in 2014
- Number of employees: 20
- Turnover: n/a
- Key markets:
- Quebec (50%), Canada and the United States
- Marc Antoine Bovet
- Pierre-Luc Lapare
- Jean-Francois Kabbani
- Julie Zyromsky
Marketing, the real roots of the war
To get maximum traffic to its site, Oatbox has no choice but to multiply marketing strategies, the volume of any online merchant.
“These are the roots of the war,” said Marc-Antoine Bovet, CEO of Oatbox.
A good portion of the financing obtained last year was also invested to increase the company’s visibility.
“Since our products are not sold in grocery stores, in order to stand out, it must be through interesting content that we publish on social networks so that people can find us and have a taste of subscribing. . »
Partnering with major brands to conduct marketing operations is one of the strategies Oatbox favors to increase its reach. Recently, he organized competitions with Lolé, Breville as well as with mattress maker Casper, an American company that sells exclusively online.
“We approach companies with products that are different but complementary to us,” Mr. Bovet explains. This allows each to reach the clients of the other. »
Major brands are responding in favor of such initiatives, he said.
“One of our greatest achievements has been to build a strong brand exclusively online. Companies are interested in working with us. »
Oatbox will have another chance to increase its visibility as it is one of the participating companies in FoodBytes! Montreal, a competition for start-ups in the agri-food sector, sponsored by Rabobank, a Dutch financial institution.
The event will be held in Montreal for the first time, after New York, San Francisco and other major cities in America.
Participants will have the opportunity to present their new products or services in front of a jury made up of industry members.
Companies that win one of the three awards will benefit from expert advice on various aspects such as financing, branding, distribution, etc.
“It’s a prestigious competition that offers good visibility, especially to investors,” Mr. Bovet explains. There are those who approach us even before the competition. It allows you to meet great people. »
The event will take place on Wednesday, May 16. To be continued …