DIGIT Startup Q&A: Florin Mandache, Co-founder of Time2dine
Ahead of the FutureX Silicon Valley Accelerate trip in April, DIGIT caught up with some of the entrepreneurs and startup founders heading to the States.
In April, a host of Scotland’s brightest tech entrepreneurs will travel to the US as part of the FutureX Silicon Valley Accelerate programme.
Now in its sixth year, the programme gives startup founders access to the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem, helping to boost engagement and relations between the two sectors.
This year’s cohort will include Andrew Parfery, co-founder of healthtech startup Care Sourcer, LearnBright’s Stephen Elliot, Scott Weir from Pillow Property Partners, and Nuvven’s Biswajit Roy.
DIGIT caught up with Florin Mandache, co-founder of Time2dine, to discuss the inspiration behind the startup, future ambitions and what the Accelerate programme could produce for this dynamic young company.
Time2dine is a point of sale system with an integrated booking platform to help customers book a table, pre-order and pre-pay for food.
Through POS management tools, Time2dine aims to help improve table turnarounds for restaurants and, in turn, increase profits, as well as improve no-show problems with diners. The platform is primarily aimed at families, pre-event diners and restaurants looking to modernise and reach new customers.
Florin Mandache: A Background
I studied Computer Science at Suceava University, Romania, before moving to Scotland in 2000. My previous work has included being an IT manager and developing a gaming device with Celljump for Ronaldo.
I have always loved tech and I’m constantly researching recent developments.
What was the inspiration behind Time2dine?
Personal experience mainly. My wife, Carolyn, and I have four kids and dining out as a family could become stressful when there was a lot of waiting involved. Together we founded the company and found through research that many people would value cutting waiting times in restaurants; not just families, but those short on time for lunch and pre-event diners also.
Restaurants could see the appeal, but we became aware that many venues were using the same outdated POS systems for years. We were confident we could develop something better, to integrate with our bookings, and so now have our own system, which can be adapted to the clients’ needs.
What do you hope to achieve through the Silicon Valley trip?
I hope to be able to investigate further what competition we would have in the US if we considered a Time2dine launch there, and I’m very interested to visit some of the world leading companies that FutureX can provide us access to.
There is the potential to meet investors and gather feedback on what the US’ views are on our services. The leadership training, along with being with a cohort of other ambitious startups, will help me to grow our company, learn with my peers and pass on those skills to other members of our team.
How important are programmes like this for providing opportunities to startups and entrepreneurs?
As a startup, it’s important to build your brand awareness and build trust in your company. Being associated with respected companies like FutureX, and having read the impact previous trips have had for startups, it’s really exciting to be a part of it.
FutureX can open doors in introducing me to the leaders in world tech, as well as providing training through the mini accelerator. It would be hard to find a better motivation to keep going than by visiting Silicon Valley with other tech enthusiasts and the confidence boost that being accepted onto this programme has given us.
What advice would you give to up-and-coming entrepreneurs and startup founders?
Expect the unexpected, accept that everything will take twice as long as you think (at least to begin with anyway) and work with people who understand the nature of startups.
Learn to view setbacks as inevitable, and an opportunity to grow and work through issues together as a team.
What lies ahead for Time2dine?
Our POS sales are growing via word-of-mouth, which is a fantastic position to be in and suits us for now with a small team. However, we need to expand to other cities and grow our team in order to do so.
I’m very confident in our services and proud of what we have achieved. Both Carolyn and I would be thrilled if people all over the UK, and potentially abroad, could spend less time waiting and enjoying more Time2dine. It’s a very personal project and we hope our reasons for starting it resonate with people.