Manna is the ultimate food destination app that lets you find, edit, organize, customize, cook, shop and share recipes – all in one place!
Founder Interview with Rachel Abady:
Manna Cooking’s product and service offerings are dedicated to community building through food by cooking and sharing recipes; do you predict this expertise might expand in the future?
Absolutely. Sharing food is one of the most fundamental qualities across human culture. Right now, people are clinging to food sharting as a way of connecting while we’re apart during COVID-19. As technology develops, this ability will only get more accessible and advanced. Manna is the first social cooking network to connect what Instagram does for sharing content and what other recipe apps do providing inspiration and information.
Manna has experienced great success in recent funding efforts. What are your funding plans for the future? How do you plan to utilize future funds?
- We’re currently raising a $500k seed round to help accelerate our community growth. This will allow us to achieve some key milestones like building cross platform integration with web and android, building out and securing a distribution partner for our “One-Click” Grocery Shopping.
- Manna is looking to generate a variety of diverse revenue streams through:
- In-app grocery shopping (drag and drop recipe cards to instantly create a grocery list. “One click shopping” to order the groceries to your door)
- Content partnerships
- Non-invasive in-app advertisements
- B2B specialized profiles for restaurants
- Restaurant utility tools and supply
- Exclusive curated Manna cookbooks
- Printed user cookbooks as gifts
What is it about your role at Manna that inspires you daily to continue innovating? What does ultimate success look like for your company?
Inspiration: I’m constantly inspired and lucky to be working with my biological and chosen family. Everyday, I sit with my brother Josh (CEO), Guy (CTO) – my brother from another mother – and David (Chairman of the Board) and we work together to bring our dream to life. We share ideas and have totally different skill sets, so I’m constantly learning new things and feeling creative. We also have an incredible Advisory Board of folks who are so invested in us as people – not just the success of the business – so it’s like having 10 coaches in your corner, always teaching you things and cheering you on.
Success: A large, loyal customer base of folks consistently using the app, sharing it with their communities and ditching other apps for Manna – that’s success! Success is also securing the next round of funding so we can activate all the necessary tools and community features to make Manna as great as it can be.
Was there a major risk you took that stands out to you, especially at Manna Cooking’s beginnings? Are there any challenges you’re facing now?
The first major risk was quitting my full-time job at Vox.com in April 2019! Betting on myself and my team, trying something we’ve never done before, trusting each other this much – felt so risky yet exhilarating.
The second big risk was releasing the beta version of the app very early. Manna was never meant to see the outside world until 2021, and then suddenly the world went inside because of COVID-19. Many small businesses are shuttering in the wake of the pandemic and start-ups are having a hard time securing crucial funding. Millions of people are cooking at home and learning to nourish themselves, trying to share and stay connected while staying apart. We decided to embrace the current reality and release a beta version of the app early to provide tools to help people adapt while they cook at home.
How has the current pandemic positively or negatively affected your business? Have any unexpected challenges or adjustments been presented? Have you learned any lessons through this experience?
Right before COVID-19 hit the US, we had funding secured – and then in a flash, the stock market plunged and our deal vanished. For a moment it felt like things could be over. But instead, we decided to pivot to crowdfunding; sometimes the best way to build community is to galvanize community. We raised $150K (pre-seed) on WeFunder by evangelizing our cause and enlisting our friends and family to spread the word. It was a tremendous “it takes a village” success and we’re so proud and grateful to our community.
The most vital thing that I’ve learned from starting a business? Community = everything. Manna was born from family & community. It all started because Guy Greenstein had a brilliant idea – so he called his best friend Joshua, who called me and then eventually we all called David Greenstein and started this journey.
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