Jeremy Hibbert-Garibaldi is trying to start a new food revolution. To transform the food chain for retailers and buyers in the UK food market. COLLECTIVfood is an online procurement platform where restaurants connect directly with hundreds of independent food and drink producers. French and Italian, he is passionate about food and business in equal measures. We find out more...
1. What's the biggest lesson you've learnt from starting up COLLECTIVFood?
Apart from sharing your vision and working on improving your product as a CEO, the most important is to build the right team around you and keep it together. This goes from having the right person at the right seat, to promoting the right culture for everyone to learn new things, be proactive and enthusiastic, to be able to share feedback and overall feel really part of the same journey. And this takes a lot of your time and energy, but is the most important driver of success and growth.
2. What's the one piece of business advice you wish you'd been given when you started?
Don't get distracted. Any action you make and decision you take need to help you achieve your targets. Also, don’t bother anticipating problems that you are not even sure you will face.
3. Was there ever a point when you wanted to give up?
No. When you start your own business, you quickly realise how it works: one step backward, two steps forward. The important thing is to keep moving on. I have been through a lot of down times, with team management, account management or fundraising challenges. If you start doubting it just becomes a distraction. Learn what you need from these challenging times, be open to criticism, be flexible, then leave it behind and keep moving and looking forward. Overall, I’m an optimist and a big believer in people.
4. What's been the biggest milestone for the business so far?
We are an online procurement platform where restaurants connect directly with hundreds of independent food and drink producers. The biggest milestone so far is when a great chain of restaurants started sourcing tons of chickens through us. It was the first time we validated our "win-win-win" proposition. Great quality chickens from an amazing family ran farm, straight to the restaurants who are now saving more than 20% on the price, and which means better quality dishes for the end-customers with the guarantee of transparency and traceability.
5. Who is your inspiration?
This is a difficult question to answer to as it all depends on which topic. Current entrepreneurs and leaders such as Xavier Niel, Bernard Arnault, Oprah Winfrey, Larry Page and Jeff Bezos are all really inspiring. At some point Eric Holder also played an important role in my interest in ethics, laws and transparency. I am really into meditation so a lot of guides and spirituality are also playing an important part in my life.
6. What keeps you motivated?
The learning experience and the positive impact we can have on society. And all the difficult and successful times we share with the team.
7. What business or brand do you look up to?
I am amazed by Slack and how they built their product, including the choice of frameworks and technology. I am passionate about Elon Musk's projects and how these ideas force people to be creative, out of their comfort zone and open to change. Finally, I have a growing interest in Google for their team and resources management and their OKRs ("Objective and Key Results" strategy) implementation.
8. If you weren't doing this, you would be....
A beekeeper on Mars with the help of Elon Musk or I would probably find an innovative way to contribute to what I was doing before: fighting corruption and white-collar crime as I am still passionate about these topics.