Nov 24, 2016
Interview with Alexis Wiasmitinow, Founder of Everycook
If ever you wished a person some success, then you would wish it upon Alexis Wiasmitinow. He has taken Everycook, his intelligent food device from idea to product, on a mixture of passion and determination whilst improving and learning the skills necessary to build the product at the same time. This isn’t what gets you routing for Alexis though. What draws you to Alexis is his humour and his positivity. Thirty-five-year-old Alexis is the guy you can relate to in the start-up world. He is the guy next door who came up with an idea and made it happen, working long hours in a day job and then going into his garage at night, honing his skills and improving his product through trial and error. If he couldn’t do it, he learned how to do it, if he couldn’t learn how to do it, he worked with his friends and brought in other people to develop the team. One step at a time he has moved forwards to the point where he is ready to crowdfund his product, which is a remarkable achievement.
James O’Flynn spoke to him in Zurich Switzerland the weekend that he was making his crowdfunding film.
What took you into engineering?
I’m a mechanical engineer, and during my childhood I was modifying bicycles and motor cycles, whatever got into my hands, so I knew mechanical engineering was what I wanted to do. I went to ETH Zurich (a University known for technology and science) and graduated there in renewable energy. That’s my day job now, I help people save energy.
Have you come up with a product that you just put food into it and it takes care of the rest?
Yes, but it starts earlier because it helps you with planning. It asks how many people will be eating, and then it calculates the amount of ingredients and scales the recipe. It has a progress bar so add the rice and it tells you to stop, add water and it tells you to stop, it programmes all the ingredients and then starts to cook it for you.
You burnt the risotto, came up with an idea, but there is a long way between coming up with an idea and having a product?
There is. First I did a CAD model, and then I did courses on start Ups, and market analysis stuff at the same time I was already looking for finance. I also went to some manufacturers but in the end, I figured out that they didn’t want to make huge steps in innovation. They wanted to make small steps in innovation but with huge marketing plans surrounding the product. The investors were asking for patents, but the idea was not new, the innovation was in putting everything together. It was difficult to find money but that didn’t stop me. In the end, I chose to wait and go crowdfunding for finance (crowdfunding is sourcing finance from the public often for a stake in the business and/or a sample product).
How will you be crowdfunding?
We will be using www.indiegogo.com many sites for crowdfunding are currently not available in Switzerland.
I’m getting images of you working at night in your garage, putting things together trying to develop this.
Yes and blowing up transistors, but that’s the way it goes. I learned so much about electronics, I started to learn code until someone else joined the team, my coding improved as did my knowledge of electronics. You have to improve your skills. What I learned on this project, no one can ever take away from me.
The team that you work with, that’s crucial I imagine?
I knew the programmer from my first startup when I was 25 I started a Linux cafe in Basle (Switzerland). A guy came in and asked me to install Linux on his laptop and a great friendship developed. The Linux cafe doesn’t exist now but in the cafe, I met my wife, my friends. A lot of people think it was a failure as I lost money, but I met my wife and 2 good friends, it wasn’t a failure.
Do you have your eye on the future in terms of innovating the product?
I can’t wait until I get the last version in my hands, it’s currently being manufactured, and it looks great and has loads of safety features. Feedback from people has been great, reproducing cooking and food, time and time again to the same quality is now possible.
The hardware will be unchanged for some time. What’s innovative is the software, this is the enabler for the product. Predictive alga rhythms and machine learning alga rhythms will be the future. I have been nominated for 2 prizes, one at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, so it will be the first time I have taken Everycook on a plane, so that will be interesting!
Can you give me a good example of a tasty meal you have made?
Curries, soups… Caramel fudge is a good one because you don’t want it too light, or too brown, we now have the perfect recipe for fudge every time. Melting chocolate is also easy. You can deep fry as well. We have programmes for all of these.
What advice do you have for people looking to develop products?
Get it going, do it, make those steps, developing hardware has never been easier. Using international markets to develop your product can really help, great prices are available, even in small quantities. I asked so many companies for quotes who were on my doorstep, I didn’t even get responses to my emails, not one response, I was ignored. Internationally I got four answers within 24 hours, and this was on a public holiday!
If you are wondering how Alexis got on at the Mobile World Congress, he won the award which is no doubt an amazing achievement. What is more amazing is that he managed to get his Everycook through security and on the plane in one piece.
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