Martin Holden-White

Founder of Grubby

Making The Plant-based Diet Convenient

Dec 13, 2022
Martin Holden-White

Making The Plant-based Diet Convenient

Martin Holden-White, the founder of Grubby, (one of the UK’s highest-rated recipe kits) is on a mission to make plant-based cooking more accessible across the world.

In today’s episode, we discuss how he built his company from the ground up.


  • [00:30] Martin's personal background & journey
  • [02:30] The inception & launch of Grubby (Before COVID hit)
  • [4:20] The relaunch of Grubby
  • [5:56] Competing with big players in the D2C space
  • [7:39] Weaving sustainability into your business operations
  • [9:30] Giving investors an idea to buy into
  • [11:56] Getting the right investors for your startup
  • [13:02] How to use angel fundraising & investment crowdfunding effectively
  • [15:00] How to keep crowdfunding investors involved as advocates for your business
  • [16:07] Grubby: From initial growth to profitability
  • [18:39] Identifying your initial customer segment & scaling further as an early-stage founder
  • [21:43] Marketing & Positioning: Messaging for different customer segments
  • [22:40] The biggest challenge Martin faced as a founder
  • [25:00] Importance of having a support system as an early-stage founder
  • [26:25] Martin's advice on how to structure your life as a founder
  • [30:35] Martin's advice for startups looking to become a B Corp
  • [33:10 ]Grubby's 10-year vision


  • “Relentlessly seek feedback” [3:08]
  • “Look for investors that you really get along with. They don’t just care about the money - it’s more about how they can help and be a mentor to you” [3:42]
  • “Sustainability isn’t the cheapest thing to do, but customers hold value in it - that’s why they buy into our product & mission” [7:55]
  • “The early stages as a founder is just about getting as much traction as you can ” [10:21]
  • “In that early stage, when there’s very little traction & revenue, angels invest in you as an individual - a lot of it comes down to personality fit.” [11:19]
  • “Bootstrapping 101 - Be unbelievably conscious about what you’re getting out of every pound you're spending.” [12:32]
  • “The whole thing with crowdfunding is that the crowd follows. So if you have some angel investors already involved already it’ll be easier for them to  believe in your products” [14:25]
  • "Word of mouth is the cheapest way to grow your business. Obvious, but overlooked" [15:47]
  • “Have really clear pillars - spend time creating that on-page document with all the priorities you had at the start of the year. Look at it every so often to reorient yourself accordingly.” [27:40]”


[00:00:00] Maiko: In today's episode, I speak to Martin Holden-White, the founder of Grubby, a plant-based recipe kit box. Grubby launched in 2019, not too long before the pandemic, will speak about that. And now recently I've seen a lot of massive growth in the subscriber base, people shifting to plant-based food, cooking more at home and using grubby to do so. And it's also become one of the highest rated recipe kits here in the UK. It's really great to have you on the show, Martin. Thanks for joining me. 

[00:00:28] Martin: Great to be here. Thanks for having me.

[00:00:30] Maiko: So let's start with your personal background and your personal journey. We just spoke previously, one of your first part-time jobs was actually as a chef. So you've been in food and catering actually for most of your career, as far as I can see, but give us a bit of your personal journey and how you became a founder in this space. 

[00:00:48] Martin: Yeah, so, I've sort of been in food for most of my adult life, you know, food and hospitality, basically I started out as a chef, part-time when I was about 16, and it was on the back of a school work experience. So I literally did like a week in this local French kitchen and really enjoyed it, just like loved the atmosphere in the kitchen, loved like everything about the sort of food and what we were cooking and the local ingredients and all that stuff, and ended up getting sucked into the hospitality of food industry from then on which really, I went on to do hospitality and business at university. So I went to Oxford Brooks, and studied that, and then did a placement on a cruise ship. I worked in events and then ended up landing in contract catering, whereas like a business development manager for essentially sort of restaurants within offices, universities, that type of thing.

So we'd kind of figure out what the operation was gonna look like and then sell those services to the different clients, and then grubby sort of came from that, and I was sort of seeing all these people leave the offices and looking for healthy alternatives to cook at home. And the original concept before we sort of get onto the main part of grubby, the original concept was actually a B2B concept. So it was, as you left work, you could grab a recipe kit from a smart fridge vending point as you left the office and that sort of stemmed from my work within the contract catering sector of, of that being quite a dead part of the day. And also like my own personal experience with living in London and leaving work late at night, not knowing what to cook and then just sort of being bombarded with all these unhealthy options or big aimless, wonder around the supermarket in the evening where like three quid for a bag of kale or something. And, you know, so that was kind of where it kind of stemmed from in the early days. 

[00:02:30] Maiko: Yeah, let's talk a bit about that initial idea. So that was in 2019, right? The idea was the B2B idea. Did you launch that in 2019 and sold it? And then what happened afterwards? I guess at early 2020, it must have been quite a blood bath in B2B food?

[00:02:44] Martin: Yeah. So the B2B concept, it was literally just me at that point. So it was me packing the rescue bags. There were bags at that point, not box. It was me delivering to the offices. I'd stand and I'd watch this pickup point essentially, and see how people interacted with it. I'd speak to the people that were buying it.

We had the bags in these units. We'd probably sell like three to five a day, but I was just like relentlessly trying to get feedback from these people. And then obviously, was very fortunate. I pitched an event called The Supper Club, which is like an angel investment network in London, where they have like two kind of effectively like dragons den style events on an annual basis where these angel investors sit around a very daunting long table and I sort of wandered in with my little grubby bag, pitching them and the business to try and get some money from them. And fortunately, they all seemed to really like it and eventually got a guy called Rob Hamilton who invested a 100K at that point, which was a complete game changer brecause, I was running out of my own money and Rob's been absolutely fantastic cuz as an angel investor and you know, really encourage other entrepreneurs to get an investor that you really get along with.

They're not just there for the money. That's not what it's about. And I've realized that over time, it's just, it's so much about how they can help you and be a mentor to you. 

But anyway, just skipping back, that was pre COVID. That was in the December of 2019. And then March 23rd I remember it very well, COVID came along.

Everybody left the offices. We were just starting to get a bit of traction and yeah, basically everybody left and the whole thing went pretty Pete Tong pretty quickly. And I landed back at my mom and dad's house thinking, what the hell am I gonna do now? So first that stage. 

[00:04:20] Maiko: And then at that point, you decided to pivot, I assume, how long did the pivot process last and when did you kind of relaunch with the current concept?

[00:04:28] Martin: Yeah, so very quickly had to just make a decision straight away, really. I mean, nobody knew what was going on quite, but decided that I wanted to go down the direct to consumer route. Had no idea really what I was doing, so you know, traveled back down to London and actually decided that we were gonna deliver to some central London, hospitals to the NHS.

Just raised money through just giving and gained traction very, very quickly. And funnily enough, the first hire that I made, which was a girl called Songy, who's now our operations manager, she had head out, worked for the NHS, cause it was actually really difficult to deliver food at that time. But we managed to deliver kits to these two central London hospitals. And that sort of got the operational wheels turning, and that's kind of how we started. 

So we delivered all these free meals and then thought, you know what, we can do this. We're capable of delivering. We delivered about thousand free meals to NHS, which was a lot for us at the time, just had help from friends and family and whatnot, and yeah, launched together a Shopify website and we had seven deliveries in our first week, which we delivered by bike, and that was a big part for us to keep it really sustainable.

At that point, it was literally our own bikes and a little trailer on the back of it and yeah, we were sort of doubling every week with kind of new subscribers and we would have a chat with the people we were delivering to. We'd see how they got on with their last box. Really tried to just engage with every customer we acquired and if things went wrong, I, or song, you would go back late into the night to make sure we delivered them exactly what they needed. And we just took so much care over our initial customers. And I think that sort of carries through to sort of what we're doing now really.

[00:05:56] Maiko: Got it now, you know, obviously in this market of recipe boxes, there's quite a few players, some big ones. So my main question there is, how did you think when you got into that space, especially more specifically with the direct to consumer model, how did you see yourself differentiating against the big players in the space and how did you differentiate your product beyond obviously the plant based focus?

[00:06:19] Martin: Yeah, I mean, to your last point, the big part. Is that we are the only authentically plant-based rescue box out there. And it does carry a lot of weight. We've seen a lot of people transitioning from competitors to coming to us because they know that we are all focused on plant-based we're fully focused on vegan cuisine.

That's what we do every day in the little development kitchen. We're testing constantly on all these new ideas. And, you know, there's obviously a few main players in the market, but I also wouldn't say it's that crowded. And I think part of the reason why that's happened is that it's an incredibly complex type of business from an operational point of view.

I mean, just a small example of that is we're just changing from six recipes a week choice wise to eight recipes a week. And that takes a number of variants to 172 different combinations of rescue bags with thousands of skews that are going into those boxes. And the operational picking and packing processes are really difficult, but yeah, that's your original question.

We see ourselves as being the really sustainable option. We got certified as a B-Corp just recently, which I'm sure we can talk about as well, but you know, we're trying to use our business as a force for goods and being that authority on plant-based. 

[00:07:39] Maiko: Got it. And how does that trickle down into other aspects of your business? You said initially you delivered the boxes by bike. Are you still able to do that, even at the scale that you're at? I assume it's probably getting more challenging to do things like that. How do you kind of weave sustainability into your business operations in general?

[00:07:55] Martin: Yeah. Sustainability is one of those things that over time you do realize that it's not the cheapest thing to do, ultimately that it comes at a cost and everybody can have great intentions, I guess. And everybody can kind of talk the talk, but it does hit you in the face with some quite big decisions as you are scaling, you know, what materials do we use? What material do we use for our boxes? And you've got two options in front of you, two invoices, one saying one number the other, saying another number, and it's gonna affect your gross margin significantly. And we have virtually every turn tried to take the sustainable route. And I think it's something that I didn't really necessarily understand that the cost of green is a lot, but that's improving, you know, it's definitely improving. These green sustainable businesses are getting more scale. They're getting more economies of scale.

And then those green products are becoming more cost effective because the technologies that are being used for these compostable packaging solutions and machinery are becoming better and better and better. So it is the future and that's what we want to deliver on. And it's what we are like totally committed to doing I guess like our boxes are FSC certified, virtually all of our products and our boxes are recyclable. The pods that we use for our spice blends are biodegradable. So, you know, they're made out of this enzyme, that's put into the plastic, that's PT plastic, which breaks it down in under five years, if it ends up in landfill.

So there's all these different things we're doing behind the scenes, they costly, but we believe that customers hold value in that. And they, they understand that that is important. And that's why they buy into our product and our kind of mission, I guess. 

[00:09:30] Maiko: You mentioned earlier that early on in your journey, you pitched at the supper club and you got your first investor on board. You got a hundred K from that investor. Going back to that kind of stage of the business, you were still operating on a B2B basis, I assume, right? 

[00:09:44] Martin: Yeah. Yeah, it was, it was. So that was what Rob originally bought into. 

[00:09:48] Maiko: Got it. So at that stage, tell us a bit more about like, kind of the type of traction you had at that point and how you actually convinced Rob to invest and what maybe he saw in your business at that stage when it was basically just you, right? 

[00:10:01] Martin: It's a good question. I mean, I actually looked back at that deck a few weeks ago, because a friend was asking about pitching at The Supper Club and I couldn't believe how bad it was, if I'm honest, when comparing it to decks that we're working on now. Obviously you learn lots of things as you go so I suppose there's a bit of it.

That's kind of natural, but in those early stages, I think for other entrepreneurs and founders who are starting out, it is just about getting as much traction as you can. Really grinding out those early stages to prove that there's a concept there. And for me at that time, it was going into offices and proving that people were gonna buy these recipe kits. And proving that they enjoyed them when they bought them. And that was really the crux of what I was trying to prove was that this concept, people buying recipe kits in this way was gonna work. And although, obviously it's now changed to something completely different, that's really all you can prove at that stage.

And then showing the investors that if you take those same metrics for a building of a hundred people where people are buying five bags a day or whatever, what if you got into buildings? Thousands of people or train stations of footfalls of tens of thousands of people every day. So that was what we were trying to explain and show how that would scale within like our financial model at that point.

But I guess when angels are investing in that early stage, when there's very little revenue and very little traction, they are investing in you as an individual and what they see in you and whether they feel they can work with you. And a lot of it is about that personality fit I guess. 

And also, I think from a founder's point of view, getting an investor that you feel you can get on with. And if you don't get on with that first angel investor that you get, who's gonna be probably a non-exec director on your board, then you've got a problem. And I'm really fortunate that Rob and Jonathan, the two non-execs on the board get on with them both really well and value their input, like hugely, so yeah.

[00:11:56] Maiko: Got it. How was the position from your side to do due diligence or making sure you got the right investors? I think you've spoken about it publicly as well. And how influential your investors were to really get you to run the business in a proper way and not splash out money, like be kind of conservative with things, but focus on building a great business. Primarily how much work did you have to do in the early days to make sure you got the right investors or did you get a bit lucky on finding them very quickly? How was the process at the time?

[00:12:26] Martin: First thing I'll say is that Rob particularly was, very much drill into me from the start, which I felt anywhere, I think, but he sort of encouraged me to think about bootstrapping and making best use of every single pound that you spend and just being so unbelievably conscious about what are you getting out of that money that you're spending. 100K sounds like a lot of money. It is a lot of money. And it can go very, very quickly if you spend it in the wrong way. And in those early days, I think spending every pound, like it's your last pound and you're trying to squeeze as much value out of that pound as you possibly can. That was something that was drilled into me like from the start, I guess.

And obviously the question about how we then found future investors basically got to a point we're growing really very quickly. And that a hundred K did run out pretty fast, to be honest, because we were putting money into technology. We moved away from the Shopify website, which was we'd were just outgrowing it, basically, it wasn't fit for purpose.

So we actually applied at that point for a government grant from the sustainable innovation fund, which are for businesses that are showing that are doing things in a sustainable way. And there's a huge application process to go through. Again, got pretty lucky. We actually failed the first time we did it. I wrote the application probably quite badly, didn't get it, and then my colleague, Paul supported me with it second time around and we were fortunate to get another a hundred K from the Sustainable Innovation Fund, which drove us to that next point. And then we did a combination of angel fundraising and the crowdfunding raise. So the angels that we got in that round, where we in total raised around 1.2 million were a mixture of some of Rob's contacts.

So again, that was obviously a huge value add that Rob was able to put me in touch with people and other sort of startups that I was aware of that put me in the right direction of different agent investors that they'd spoken to. And just a lot of researching and adding people on LinkedIn and all the usual stuff that you scrabble around doing in those early days.

So, yeah. And for those who haven't been crowdfunding before, a lot of the time, what happens is you, you raise an angel round. The whole thing with crowdfunding is, is that the crowd follows. So if you have some angel investors involved already, then they believe in the products and it obviously helps the cause massively.

So when we went live on crowdfunding, we already had around 750 K secured from a handful of angel investors, including founder of sky scanner, and then Jonathan Quin, who's the founder of WorldFirst who analysis on the board as well who's a brilliant help. And then the crowdfunding, I would definitely recommend it. It's really helpful. We've got over 600 crowdfunding investors and you know, they're great advocates for the brands, obviously. And there's another part of what helped us accelerate the growth at time, which was last year. 

[00:15:00] Maiko: Got it. Okay, so since then, do you feel that crowdfunding investors have stayed involved as advocates for the business spreading the word what's been the strategy with that?

[00:15:10] Martin: Yeah. I mean, definitely we keep in touch with them every couple of months we send them an update on what's happening. A lot of those crowdfunding investors are customers, which was helpful in of itself. They refer friends, they tell people about it and we definitely try and engage with those investors as much as we possibly can, because these are people that some people in that crowdfunding round put 10,000 pounds in of their hard-earned money.

And then others put 25-50 quid, but they're all hugely engaged and hopefully we can give them the return at the end of it. Whenever the end is. I definitely see the value in crowd funding because, for a consumer brand where word of mouth is so important. Cause obviously word of mouth is the cheapest way to grow your businness.

Because that is definitely one of the biggest challenges for any consumer business, which again, probably underappreciated at the start was how much it costs to acquire customers. It's an expensive world, especially now things are changing from a digital perspective with Instagram's algorithms and all that mumbo jumbo.

[00:16:07] Maiko: Yeah. What's been your strategy there because like a lot of the recipe boxes out there they've kind of thrown vouchers around. And if you look at some of the big ones, how much they had to raise, um, I don't know how profitable they are now, but I think it didn't really seem like they were gonna be profitable anytime soon. So what was your strategy? Initial growth and now growing further? 

[00:16:27] Martin: Yeah, firstly, I would say that what's interesting is the competitors, particularly two of the top three, are now big and profitable and like hats off for them for doing that. They obviously raised a lot of money along the way. But, you know, they've proven that the industry can be profitable.

Unlike some other industries that are sort of happening within the sort of grocery market at the moment, that it seems as a lot of new entrant into certain aspects of it. But it is an industry where discounts are a big part of what entices new customers. And to an extent, we are slightly different to the others that we have a product which for some people requires a bit of explaining.

And yes, we do do a lot of the kind of classic digital marketing affiliate, paid social media, a lot of print as well, but we also found, you know, a bit of a sweet spot for actually talking to people and telling people about our products. At the beginning, in the early days we were knocking on doors, we were delivering flyers.

We were trying to get the wood sign up anywhere we possibly can. I'm still grateful to the 20 odd, family and friends who went out around, happening in his LinkedIn at the start, just blasting flyers out there 24 7. That was literally how the business started. And I think what we realized in those early days, We could convert people by talking to them.

We could get people across the line of, of ordering for the first time, by just having a conversation with them. And we have definitely seen that as a direct sales as being quite a big part of it, you know, at train stations at events. And, you know, once you start to talk to people about the impact of just having a couple of plant based meals a week and just building that into their diet, they're like, yeah, definitely wanna do that.

This is just giving me that easy way to do that so. By the way, I don't think I've even sort of properly said about like our core mission. It is to make plant-based cooking just more accessible. We're a team of flexitarians. We're always trying to create dishes where people don't miss the meat, they're getting a big portion, they're feeling healthy, and if they just wanna do that, like a couple of days a week, that's great, and that's fine. So that's really, our mission is just to make plant-based more accessible across the world. 

[00:18:23] Maiko: Got it. I love that mission. And I've had JP from all plans on the podcast a while ago, and obviously they've done well with that with great business, with ready meals in the plant-based space.

So, um, love that more startups popping up and succeeding like you do now as well. 

What I'm interested in and what I speak to a lot of early stage founders about is like, which should be the customer segment that you focus on initially. And how can you scale, especially in the social impact space, right?

So if you think about the plant-based community, you have like the hardcore plant-based vegans that are basically what never even like look at anything that's not vegan and that's what they want, right. That's probably quite a passionate community of people that would love your product. I'm sure you've got plenty of them using your product.

Is that a group that you focus on in the early days and that you have focused on. And then you've just mentioned a group of people, even in the early days that are like, yeah, maybe they do eat meat, but they do feel a bit guilty or they want live more healthy and you come with the value proposition. Like you don't need to give up meat a bit, like our plans does in their marketing as well. It's like, it's not a religious thing. Just swap out one of the meals and try it out basically. But those are like quite different customer segments. So I'm just wondering in the early days, what do you start with, and then how do you scale? Because you will need a broader customer segment to kind of use your product as well.

[00:19:45] Martin: Yeah, definitely. I mean, like going back to what you said about all clients, I mean, is this like, I think myth when people see the word vegan, a lot sort of science around it as well, and they see the word vegan, they think it's some like weird religious cult or something it's very off putting and still there's this sort of, that word has just negative connotations for some people. First off, like did a survey recently of over 500 customers completely at random and more than 80% of our customers aren't vegans. And even the other 20% are of extra of vegetarians and vegans. So we are definitely a product which I believe has mass appeal because most of the people that use our products.

Are people who are plant curious, as they say, or they're just reducing their meat intake. And from a demographic point of view, we've probably the vast majority of our customers have between like 25 and 45. But then we also have this, really loyal actually section of our customers, which are slightly older people like my mom and dad, you know, who have been so ingrained in their ways of eating that they've always cooked with fish and meat and veg.

That's sort of how they imagine a meal to be put together. But Grubby, without sounding patronizing is sort of like educating in a new way of cooking. Even for me in the early days when I was developing the recipes and my flat, I had so many failures. Like it was just constant messing up dishes and trying to make them taste the best that they possibly could.

And the whole time it's been about making it as simple as possible to make plant-based cooking accessible in that like simple, fun way. And that's sort of how we think about appealing to our customer base is we're not some preachy vegan brands. We want to appeal to women, to men, gender neutral brands, where if you've got a big appetite, then you can still get Grubby and feel fulfilled and sustained for a long period of time.

So, yeah, I mean, we do have a relatively high proportion of women who order Grubby, like bigger than men. That is definitely a fact, but I think we have sort of proven that we have that kind of gender balance in the products and, and what we're doing as well. 

[00:21:43] Maiko: Interesting. And then in terms of your marketing and positioning, you would say you're definitely a bit more focused on, you said the 70% that are not necessarily vegans, but that are looking to implement the plant based diet, or are you working with different types of messages for different customer segments?

[00:21:57] Martin: Oh yeah, definitely. I mean, it completely depends on the placement, I guess, where we're putting our product out and, you know, if it's in a vegan magazine, we might sort of shape the messaging slightly differently, but at the same time, I think we're a black and white brand. Our branding is black and white.

Deliberately black and white, because it is just plain. It's simple. The word Grubby is obviously all about fresh veg, fresh from the ground. It's a bit dirty, obviously the cooking experience is a bit messy. That's where that, like the whole connotations of that word, I know some people think why the hell have we called our business Grubby. But you know, it grabs people's attention. And that's what we're about. We're we are trying to be a, a standout brand that people remember. And as I said, just sort of making the whole thing as simple and straightforward as possible. 

[00:22:40] Maiko: What's been the biggest challenge for you as a founder in the last couple of years, since starting out in 2019. 

[00:22:46] Martin: I think in the early stages you think back and you think, oh, you sort of shape things in a positive light all the time, but definitely that like first year and a half, there was some pretty rough patches where you get pretty down, you are working very long hours.

For no reward. In fact, negative, you know, I went six months without a salary without getting the violins out. You know, I was fine that it was difficult. And I found in that early stage, one of the top hardest parts was kind of working out what the hell to do on a day to day basis when there were so many things to do.

Actually creating some structure when you've just got all these different tasks that you need to do and trying to prioritize them in like a logical way, I found that quite difficult at the beginning because you don't have anybody else to do anything. So you're just scrabbling around trying to figure out which tasks to do first.

And I think that was like the most challenging part was that sort of organization. When you have such a blank canvas. And really getting honest with yourself about organizing your days and being really regiment the end of the day, like thinking about what you're gonna do the next day and the next week. And I wasn't great at it at the beginning. That's for sure. But I've definitely like improved in that aspect over time. And obviously when you start to get team, that's pretty helpful as well. 

But yeah, I think that's like, I'd say that the most challenging point is that beginning bit, especially when you're starting to run out of cash. I mean, it's bloody scary.

There's no dressing it up. When we were going for that sustainable innovation grant at the start, we were running it close to the wire, really close to the wire. Weeks probably. So those times are like, obviously scary because you're like, well, if this doesn't happen, then we're pretty screwed. So I think that, trying to maintain some kind of positivity in those periods is tricky. And, uh, I do think having good mentors around you, or like a mentor that you feel you can just pick up the phone to at any point when you are breaking it about something or you don't feel good about something or whatever is, is just so important because founders are mostly extroverts. I'd say I'm an extrovert and have like a very positive outlook over time. But sometimes things do sort of, uh, get you and catch you by surprise. And to have somebody that you can talk to is important. I think, you know, my brother is still an important part of that as well. He runs his own business as well and fortunate to be able to bounce a lot of things off him. 

[00:25:00] Maiko: Yeah. Did you turn early on to other entrepreneurs? What helped you the most to get kind of people around you that understand the challenges that you're going through? 

[00:25:09] Martin: Friends who know have no idea in a way of what you're going through is actually also really helpful. Just having some like level to still being able to just go out and socialize and not getting completely sucked in just being a complete workaholic. I've not got the balance right, a lot of times, but yeah, that side definitely think is, is really important. Mom and dad definitely, as I said, my, my brother being another entrepreneur, I think if you know, somebody who is been an entrepreneur is really, really helpful, you know, obviously having an angel investor at that point.

That for me was like definitely a strong kind of mentor feel and somebody who has been through that grind. So I'd say just anybody, who's sort of been through something similar that you can draw upon. Their expertise is super helpful, even if they're not an investor finding that person. And they'd be surprised as well, like reaching out to people when, when you're asked for help, people are often willing to give it, you know, if it's not related to trying to get business out of them or selling to them, people are really willing to give their advice and give their support in, in those early stages. Several examples of that from suppliers as well, who just took a punt on us, had absolutely no need to do it. They'd lose money on every order because we wouldn't pay postage and stuff like that. And those sorts of people are just the gems. You just wanna keep hold of for as long as you can. 

[00:26:25] Maiko: And I'd like to zoom a little bit on the point that you mentioned in terms of when you are by yourself, you are the solo founder in the early days, and you need to organize your time.

And I've definitely struggled. Or I would say I still struggle with this at times, you know, like in, in different ways, to really prioritize things properly. And as a founder, you need to be flexible to some degree, to not work away at something that doesn't work, right? And you need to be able to pivot and change and adapt and take feedback and adapt to that.

But on the other hand, you need to be also really rigorous and ruthless, worth your time and focus on the things that actually make a difference. But in these early days, sometimes you don't know what does make the biggest difference, right? So any kind of advice, what helped you in the early days to kind of structure your life as a founder, a bit more and still keep kind of flexible, 

[00:27:17] Martin: I guess it's that it comes back to that point of proactive versus reactive and you do have to be pretty reactive as a founder, and that doesn't really stop. And it is actually really distracting at times as well, because over time you could just become more and more reactive.

And it's a really tempting thing to just get into that things were popping off in your inbox and with people in your team. And I think having that element of like proactiveness of having some structure to your day, that for some parts of your day, and I'm definitely still not perfect at this, but having some parts of your day where you're not being reactive. You are doing the things that you said you were gonna do at the start of the week. Bob, again, used to say, put one thing in your calendar at the start of the week that you say you want to get done by the end of the week and remember that throughout the entire week, because you might get curve balls from everywhere.

But if you just have that one thing that you said I was gonna do that, and I still haven't got it done and it's Thursday afternoon. So that means I will get it done by the end of the week. And you almost have that like relentless sort of, I'm not gonna finish this week until that's done, because I said, that's what I was gonna do. Self-discipline I guess is one kinda takeaway. 

And then I think a lot of founders talk about this testing things on a really sort of micro level. Not going all in, on initiatives, right at the beginning, trying to sort of just put small amounts of money into, you know, marketing activities or whatever it is to see what the uptake is like, then increase it if they do well, you know, double down on it and all that good stuff, but trying to test things in ways, which aren't gonna SAP massive amounts of your time, but you can just do them quickly, efficiently.

They don't work. Spin it off. Don't worry about it. Forget about it. You know, it's gone, you can't get that money back. So that's maybe another aspect to think of just being quite flippant about, okay. Didn't work. We didn't like spend massive time on it. Massive money we move on and we don't do it again. 

[00:29:08] Maiko: So would you say really important to be very strict under overall long term, vision and why you're doing this and what you're trying to create in the world, but then being very flexible in the short term, trying things out, not spending too much money and time on it, testing it. If it works double down on it, kind of generally good approach that work for you. 

[00:29:28] Martin: Yeah, funny enough, on the wall behind me, there's a, there's our strategy.

We've got like three pillars in the kitchen by kettle so that when everyone goes to make a coffee, they have a look again. We did this last year, and Leo, our marketing manager, actually done quite a lot of strategy stuff. I've realized how fundamental it is as you start to scale to have some really clear pillars, we've got three different pillars and under that, a series of kind of objectives and things that we wanna achieve by the end of this year.

And. That process is really time consuming. And you do spend a lot of effort in trying to figure out what the hell you actually want to achieve and what is realistic. But I'm a huge advocate for spending time on creating that sort of like one page document that you can look at for two minutes. And you'll remember all the things that you said were like the priorities at the start of the year.

And if some of those things have started to slip, then you just try and get grip of them again and work towards them and having that sort of one document that you quickly glance at and be like, we've gotta really shift on that bit and we've done way better than we thought there. So let's just reign in, you know, working too much on that, you know, so yeah, I think strategy is key.

[00:30:35] Maiko: Got it. You also became a B Corp and went through the B Corp certification process. And it's definitely not a walk in a park that you do, like quickly on the side, right? Give us a bit of an overview of how long it has taken you. When did you do that? And any advice on startups looking to become a B Corp

[00:30:53] Martin: B Corp is an amazing institution. From an application point of view takes longer than you think it's gonna take. And it is tricky and it's slightly painful. There's a process, but I think as we were saying, if it wasn't like that, then the whole thing would kind of be not effective because. You need to make it challenging. It needs to be for the businesses that get this Stanford approval to say you are doing things in the right way. You're considering the impact of things that you're doing. 

So in that sense, all I'd say to founders and stuff is perhaps don't do it too early in the journey. Do it at a stage where you feel comfortable, that you can afford to spend the time on something like that.

Try and do things in the right way. Get yourself set up in a way which is doing things sustainably, treating your team in the right way. All those. That B Corp is about, but then actually applying for the process. I would say, do that a bit later on in the journey, I guess

I was gonna say about from a sustainability point of view, you know, one thing we are passionate about is giving our customers an idea of what their impact actually is. And we have recently just launched a sustainability impact tracker. So like a food print tracker. So we worked with a company called Myo Missions to look at every single recipe in detail about where the products are being sourced from and comparing those to meat equivalent versions of that meal. So say it's like a mushroom stroganoff that would be compared to a beef stroganoff, and we've done a carbon impact assessment across all of our recipes.

And we've given that to customers in a little dashboard within their account so they can see exactly how much carbon that they're saving through getting Grubby, basically along with the meals that they're donating, cause we donated meal for a child in poverty for every box we deliver and also the portions of plants that they're consuming. So they can see the sort of health implications of getting Grubby too. So we're having to build on that in the future and kind of gamify the sort of impact tracking element of the good stuff that comes out, getting Grubby

[00:32:42] Maiko: Love that. Love that you're really putting proper measurements behind us and to make it transparent to customers and the best impact driven companies out there are measuring the impact. Otherwise is probably just a little side note, and that isn't the case for you clearly. 

So I've got one last question to you and that's about the future. So I'd like to ask always, how does the world look like in 10 years from now if Grubby succeeds, how do you imagine the world to look like? 

[00:33:10] Martin: 10 years? I mean, it's big, big question. Ambitions wise, definitely have global ambitions for grubby, definitely have this sort of ear in my voice of a lecturer university, actually, who said just don't run before you can walk, Martin and definitely would want to kind of get the UK right first and get our operation here right, but I see grub as having kind of mass appeal and lots of different markets.

I think the US is really, really interesting, parts of Europe, Hello Fresh, have done very well in, in Germany, Australia. So there's a lot of places where people are trying to reduce their meat intake across the world where Grubby can have a really good positive market fit. So in answer to your question, I'd love Grubby to be a global business that becomes world renowned for being the authority on making plant-based cooking really easy and accessible and changing the way people eat at home.

[00:34:00] Maiko: Love it. Thanks Martin for joining. Uh, really appreciate you taking the time. I'll log off now and log onto to your website and order myself a box. 

[00:34:08] Martin: Yeah, nice one. 

[00:34:09] Maiko: Thanks so much for making the time today. It was really good to talk to you.

[00:34:12] Martin: Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.