“Here in the UAE, with the support of the start-up ecosystem, you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it and keep moving forward.  With our business, the team at HelloChef is really passionate about creating opportunities for people to gather around the dining table to share a delicious homecooked meal and connect through that experience.”

~Olivia Manner

Olivia Manner is the Founder & Managing Director of HelloChef, a meal delivery service that sends tasty recipes and fresh ingredients directly to your door, making it easy to cook a delicious meal at home. Prior to launching HelloChef, Olivia had a successful 10-year career at IBM and E&Y. She is passionate about creating a space where families can gather around the table to enjoy a delicious homemade meal while connecting and creating special memories.

Ahmed Al Akber is the CEO of HelloChef and takes the lead on strategy implementation and marketing, helping to grow and scale the business. Ahmed is a dynamic leader that loves to create ways to provide more value for HelloChef’s customers so they can save time, money, and eat amazing meals by using the service. He is also a published author and had a successful 15-year career as marketing professional prior to joining HelloChef full-time.

Enjoy the show!

Posted on March 22, 2018

Show Notes:

  • 4:30 – How the idea for HelloChef was born
  • 5:30 – How Tony Robbins inspired action
  • 8:00 – Why home cooked meals are still so important for family bonding
  • 8:45 – Getting started with just 3 customers and a rapid growth trajectory
  • 12:00 – Start your business as lean as possible to go fast
  • 13:30 – How the business model all comes together and has evolved
  • 17:45 – Expanding the market and offerings
  • 19:30 – The customer experience with HelloChef
  • 21:00 – The sourcing of the highest quality ingredients
  • 24:00 – How using data analysis is core to driving business decision making
  • 27:15 – Creating new recipes that actually work at scale
  • 29:00 – The current size and structure of the HelloChef business team
  • 30:00 – The power of leveraging freelancers to grow your business
  • 30:45 – The positive culture of entrepreneurship in Dubai
  • 33:30 – Great resources in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Dubai
  • 37:00 – Challenges of the startup journey
  • 39:00 – How starting a business with a spouse is a challenge and a blessing
  • 40:15 – Connecting with other entrepreneurs based on common experiences
  • 41:15 – Strengths and weaknesses of the current startup ecosystem in Dubai
  • 46:30 – How the government has improved bureaucracy by going digital
  • 47:00 – What they do to get recharged and stay motivated
  • 48:15 – How building a startup helps you develop resiliency
  • 49:30 – How to build a community around you within a 2km radius
  • 51:00 – Heroes that help keep them moving forward
  • 55:45 – Words of wisdom to live by

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