Young entrepreneurs behind Shuttlecook woo Newcastle foodies

23 year-olds Simon Edwards and Robin Bilgil turned down well paid graduate jobs to launch their ingredients delivery business Shuttlecook

Simon Edwards, right, and Robin Bilgil of Shuttlecook
Simon Edwards, right, and Robin Bilgil of Shuttlecook

Two young entrepreneurs have set tongues wagging in Newcastle with their recently launched food delivery service.

Shuttlecook is the idea of Simon Edwards and Robin Bilgil, both 23, and offers workers a single daily recipe and fresh ingredients delivered to their place of work, just in time to take home for an evening meal.

The two Southampton graduates are one month into trading since moving to Newcastle to progress their business through the Ignite100 accelerator programme, based at Campus North.

So far the pair, who both turned down well paid graduate jobs to go into business, have seen encouraging take-up of their service, which is free to sign up to and costs £5 per head, regardless of the ingredients involved.

Mr Edwards, a graduate with an MA in Engineering, said: “Initially we came to Ignite100 with another business, Parsly. We were trying to solve a similar problem - which was sourcing ingredients for your cooking quickly and efficiently.

“After speaking to the mentors here and doing a lot of research, we gradually evolved the idea and realised we were approaching it the wrong way. That’s when Shuttlecook came about. We’re both technical and enjoy cooking, so we tried to combine the two to make a business out of it.”

The pair have tentatively launched Shuttlecook within the NE1, NE2, NE4, NE6, NE7 and NE8 postcodes.

Potential customers sign up to a list and are texted daily with one recipe. If they like the look of it, they can opt in.

Between them, Mr Edwards and Mr Bilgil then fetch the ingredients, mainly from Newcastle’s Grainger Market and local stores, before portioning them out and delivering kits to offices.

Simon Edwards, left and Robin Bilgil of Shuttlecook
Simon Edwards, left and Robin Bilgil of Shuttlecook
 

Mr Bilgil, a graduate in Physics and Maths, added: “A lot of people hate shopping, we know that. While there are online delivery services with the big supermarkets, we recognised they take too long, and come with a number of problems such as product substitutions.

“If you see a recipe, you want the ingredients right now - not a week later after you’ve been shopping. Essentially we’re solving the problem of what’s for tea tonight.”

Shuttlecook are now on the cusp of hiring into a position that would drive the logistics of the service, which relies on both entrepreneurs to do the leg work - largely on foot.

The pair have used social media to drive much of their marketing activity so far - including promotions to entice people to try the service.

Mr Edwards added: “It’s important for us to do every single job because we want to know how the business works, and how we can grow it.

“We’re experimenting at the moment and trying different techniques so we can measure the impact on demand.”

The two entrepreneurs are also wise to the environmental credentials Shuttlecook offers conscious shoppers. Each delivery only comes with the required amount of ingredients per head, eliminating wastage.

Both acknowledge that investment will be required to export the idea to other cities beyond Newcastle.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer