Meet Innovator of the Week
Co-Founder and CEO of Dealici
Please provide your 30-second pitch about your company.
Dealici (dil-e-chi) is a mobile platform designed to help restaurants get more customers during off-peak hours by rewarding consumers with 20-50% discounts for the flexibility with their meal times (eat lunch at 1:30 PM instead of 12:30 PM). The coolest feature about dealici is the price drops for everyone as more people buy the same deal (including the previous buyers). We call it community social buying power. Consumers also earn dealici points for sharing deals and inviting their friends. These dealici points can be used to buy future deals or earn a free meal. Our favorite local restaurants also benefit as they are able to utilize their fixed cost better. Dealici has a wide variety of restaurants and cuisines to choose from. Dealici is committed to support local communities and local businesses.
Who or what was your best resource for starting your company.
I long had a passion to do something on my own. Innovating solutions and creating value is what I have done all along in my career. I am a food lover and loves to cook. The few times I got a thought of starting a restaurant, but I always saw restaurants struggling and even good ones going out of business. I learned that their biggest problem is the high fixed cost and losses during off-peak hours. As a consumer I have always strived to get a better bargain for goods and services. If you sum it up, Dealici is my passion to be an entrepreneur, reflects my love for food, is a commitment to help small businesses and shows my zeal to help consumers save money.
Outside my passion, I have received a lot of help along the way. Score and SBDC were instrumental early on and with trusted advisors like Andrea and Hollis, I continue to benefit from the SBDC relationship. Another key resource I leverage is AlphaLoft, Mark Kaplan specifically and through regular events at AlphaLoft. I also benefited a lot by attending several of NHHTC breakfast events and off-course NHHTC showcase events like Entrepreneur forum, Entrepreneur of the Year and TechOut. I also took advantage of resources in Boston including CIC, TechHub, Harvard and MIT. My special shout-out to several NH restaurant entrepreneurs including Tom from Great NH restaurants and Eric from Lui Lui who were very open to provide their inputs on the business model.
What was your biggest obstacle in starting your company and how did you overcome it?
My biggest obstacle was my well-paying job and family commitments. I am a risk taker, but taking a 360 turn in my career was not an easy decision. It took me a while, but I put together a plan and mentally prepared myself to give my 100% for few years knowing that I will not be earning any money. My wife was very supportive all along and we together had the confidence that we will do great and at a minimum we will not regret for not trying.
I will suggest a good read from Laura, Co-founder of TestNotice http://livefreeandstart.com/before-you-quit-your-job-to-co-found-startup/
What’s the best advice you have received?
The other good advice I received is that people will tell you 100 reasons to not do something, you have to find just one good reason to pursue your passion.
What about the NH lifestyle appeals to you?
New Hampshire is a great place to raise family and kids. It offers great quality of life and I love the closely knitted communities.
What does the future look like for your company?
Dealici started earlier this year. We have launched in Manchester and Nashua region mid-November with 15 well-known local restaurants. Our mobile app is now available for iOS on the app store (https://appsto.re/us/9zCK-.i) and we will be available for Android devices in December. We will keep adding more restaurants and plan to take dealici to Portsmouth and Hampton area in 4-6 weeks. We will extend our reach in key cities in neighboring states in 2016 and strive to grow nationally in 2017 and 2018.