11 August 2009

बे गुड

We’ve reached a stage where most major hurdles have been crossed and opening our doors sometime in October has started to look very real‍. Sam and I keep saying to ourselves that we’ve been extremely fortunate to get to this position given the current economic climate. Luck aside, Mooli’s has had an incredible amount of selfless help from well wishers and we have been especially touched by some incredible acts of kindness from virtual strangers. I feel compelled to thank at least some of them.

I met Springbok Jon Shaw for the first time over a delicious lamb tagine at Cat’s place. He had already heard about Mooli’s through Jan, a common friend of his and Sam’s. He unwittingly offered to help us out, and we unashamedly took him up on the offer. We peppered him on a daily basis with questions about tax reliefs under the EIS scheme (which has been an incredible help in raising external equity), many of which required time out from his busy City schedule to make calls to HMRC and research cases. Last night he filed our application for clearance under the EIS scheme - a letter with a copious number of annexures, something even our accountant was loathe to undertake. For nothing.

I have a special affinity for other things South African. Its been five years since I rolled around with Whitey, since Tiger poo'ed & pee'd on my shoulder, since I swam with Jessica. Five years since I tasted that divine Bunny Chow in Durban and chicken with pap in Jo’burg. Since I heard the infectious beats of Mafikizolo.

Google is now very big, but they have stuck to their original philosophy – be good। Barring some silly privacy concerns, they have been very good to most of us। Yes we all know that they raised the bar several notches for internet search, email, maps etc – but they have also made life easier and cheaper for bootstrapping startups like Mooli’s. This blog is hosted for free by them. As is our mooli’s email. We use google calendars, google tasks, google docs, picasa. Follow this link for a street view of 50 Frith Street , courtesy of google. It feels odd to thank a juggernaut like them, but it is hard to imagine a world without google.

Dodie is a lovely woman. Of Cool Chile Company and Taqueria fame. Sam has eulogised before about her excellent corn tortillas and harbanero sauce. Having heard about and empathized with our frustrating quest for real bread, she invited us over to try to make rotis on El Monstro. She had balls of chappati dough ready and waiting (we were, as usual an hour late, but that is about to change soon) and ran an entire production line for us. For nothing. As she only supplies gluten free corn tortillas, commercially supplying us with wheat chappatis on El Monstro is not an option for her. And she then gave us a free run to poke around her kitchens at Taqueria, quiz her chefs and sample some delicious tacos. Her thumbs up to our Goan Goat and Punjabi Paneer was a great endorsement for us.

I could go on – Bing Bong who stayed up nights and weekends drafting our shareholders agreements (but at least he had the misfortune of knowing us for many years); TAB who writes outrageously funny stuff and understands the Mooli's brand better than us (but at least these might help to make him famous or find a mate. And of course he is also no stranger); Edair who runs my local Oz Café and who taught me to make coffee and gives me a few hours of experience behind his counter every week (his words of advice have been simple but invaluable – "....always always clean, always always good food, always always take girl who speak good English, then always always people come"). There are many more.

Starting Mooli’s has been as exciting and challenging as I expected and wanted it to be – and we are truly grateful for the help that we have got from these Good Samaritans. I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey.

1 comment:

sameer said...

I couldn't agree more. There are SO many people who have been unreasonably kind to us.

James, who works for LEON has been the source of good advice, a great sounding board and has given us so many useful contacts.

I remember meeting Christian (who started and runs Hummus Bros) many times last year and the one thing he kept on telling me was - get a business partner. But that's easier said than that. Until I met Mathew. But looking back, if Christian hadn't told me how important it was, I probably wouldn't have been looking.

There are many others who have helped us immensely. We are grateful and feel lucky.