Flatev is a Swiss start-up on a mission to change the way people eat at home. In 2012, it created a Keurig-like machine for tortillas, using pods filled with fresh dough. After winning several global start-up competitions, such as MassChallenge in the US, the team has been building up its funds and consumer base, ready for an official launch in 2017. We spoke with Flatev CMO Sandro Meyer about its invention, target market and plans for 2016.
Tell us about Flatev. When did the company start up and what inspired its creation?
Flatev developed unexpectedly as two Mexican brothers set off to explore different parts of the world. As each travelled and settled in alternate continents, a simple but very particular flavour was missing, a fundamental food which connected to the experience of home: the humble yet essential tortilla. As a basic food, it should not have been difficult to find, to source or to make. But one of the brothers wanted the warm flavourful experience of a homemade tortilla and he wanted it at the touch of a button. The idea was as pure as the perfect tortilla.
However, the perfect tortilla is far from easy to make. The basic recipe may have been around for centuries but if imbalances occur in temperature, ingredients or proportion, the bite and flavour of the nourishing flatbread will be lost. The dream therefore of Flatev’s founder, Carlos Ruiz, was to fuse the delicious taste of Mexico with the immediacy of technology.
How does Flatev work and how long did it take to create?
In 2012, Flatev fulfilled its flavourful mission and created a domestic fresh tortilla maker. It works in much the same way as a single-serve coffee machine, only the pods contain dough that uses purely organic and natural ingredients. Flatev emphasises the importance of using non-GMO dough flour and no artificial preservatives, colours or flavours as this enables them to produce the perfect tortilla, with all of the freshness, texture and consistency of the homemade variety. Flatev believes that eating satisfying foods, whether you are on your own or sharing with friends and family, should be a creative and delicious experience that inspires new possibilities each and every day.
Tell us about the Flatev pods. What is inside them and what’s their shelf life?
They have a shelf-life of 60 days. In the corn tortilla pods there’s organic, non-GMO corn flour, water, salt and guar flour. In the wheat tortilla pods, there’s organic whoat flour, water, salt, guar flour and starch fermentate.
How long does it take to make each tortilla?
Depending on the crispiness level (we will have an adjuster), from 60 seconds to 90 seconds.
How many units have you sold to date?
We have 15,000 leads and will turn them into our first paying customers through our Kickstarter campaign that launches very soon.
What markets are you currently targeting?
We target the US market first, then we will expand into countries like Mexico, Canada, Australia and the UK for the tortilla, India for the rotis and the Middle East for the pitas.
What’s your plan for 2016?
We will have a Kickstarter campaign very soon (final date TBA), industrialise the machine with our strategic partner (who is also engineering and manufacturing all Nespresso machines worldwide), setup our distribution network for the dough pods, build our pod production plant with our co-packer and prepare our retail channel partners for the launch in summer 2017.
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