Daniel Protz, founder FlavorWiki, Swisspreneur Podcast
Timestamps:

2:33 - Does the Ivy League open doors?

15:14 - Turning down a unicorn job

22:00 - From the Midwest to Zurich

40:17 - Trying to run yourself out of business

1:00:14 - Taking on your first investor late in the game

About Daniel Protz

Daniel Protz is the founder and CEO of FlavorWiki, a B2B digital service supporting the food and beverages industry with customer insight and data management.

With an impressive track record in reputable corporate companies such as Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Groupon, Daniel’s interest in the food industry grew as learned about its complex internal logistics and bureaucratic standards from his wife, a food scientist. As of now, Daniel describes the field as heavily concentrated in a small number of players. It also maintains low levels of disruption, and consequently slow cycles of change — after all, childhood experiences and cultural identities aren’t easily displaced, so eating habits are inherently emotional.

Daniel’s original problem statement stemmed from gaps in online retail platforms. Taste is the number one reason why people care about a certain food product, but it can differ radically according to gender, ethnicity and age, a reality most recommendation models often ignored. Also, traditional market research processes were slow and expensive, so Daniel wanted to find a solution for better digital food-selling that really finds its core in large-scale, honest customer review. By accelerating data treatment on taste and personal preference, Daniel’s vision wants to provide an affordable research model that is accessible to big companies and small players alike.

As an experienced entrepreneur and sportsman, Daniel told us his two cents of advice for those fearing the entrepreneurial roller coaster:

Rely on the small moments of validation to boost your confidence.
User feedback is the most valuable tool for building new features.
Accept that failure is an inevitable part of the journey: a “no” can actually give you priceless directions on where to go next.
Overcome emotional clouds to read better into criticism.
Don’t underestimate the value of family for honest feedback and kind support along the way.
Ideological match matters when it comes to knowing potential investors.

Sticking to your unique vision is what entrepreneurship is all about, and the future is certainly looking bright for FlavorWiki! In 2020, the company grew by 400%, and they are now about to take on their first investors. Listen to the episode to hear Daniel’s personal insight on food as a promising entrepreneurial field!

Resources

How I Built This

Waking Up — A Conversation with David Whyte

Memorable Quotes

"If you have your own business, it runs you. You don't walk away on Friday night, right? I think entrepreneurs need to understand that too."

“Access to the product is the most important thing to achieve success. You can have the best product as a startup, but if you can’t get it on the shelf, you have a huge problem.”

“If the prize is the only  reason you’re in sport or anything else, you will never succeed. The prize is one billionth of the whole journey.”

If you would like to listen to more episodes related to the food and beverages industry, check out our conversations with Leif Langenskiöld and Tobias Gunzenhauser.

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