Cooklet Cooks Up a Culinary Social Network
Cooklet.com is a social networking platform for anyone interested in the culinary arts to organize recipes in easy-to-use interactive cookbooks that can be easily shared with everyone else – a different way for users to explore and interact with the culinary world. Launched slightly over a month ago, the cross-screen platform was built with the support of Adobe-led initiative Open Screen Project.
Cooklet is developed by award-winning company IKS, which is based in Wroclaw, Poland (also known as the Polish Silicon Valley) and founded in 1999 focusing on web design, multi-platform games and other ‘interesting’ new technologies. Founder and CEO Grzegorz Trubiłowicz says it all started in May 2009 when the team were brainstorming and conceptualizing about big, cross-screen ideas. “Among the different ideas that we had was of an international culinary platform with interactive e-books,” he remembers. They called it Cooklet, because it merged the two words ‘cooking’ and ‘booklet’.
Cooking Up A Storm – Online
“There are too many sources of recipes in the offline and online world,” says Grzegorz regarding the pain point Cooklet is created to solve. “Handwritten pages in your notebook, torn pages from magazines and plenty of cookbooks – that’s the situation in every day life.” Other times, Grzegorz says, people Google for recipes and bookmark them on their browsers for future reference but doesn’t allow them to do much more. “We also tested different websites, but none of them was enabling you to easily manage and store the recipes – it was either user-generated content, or from limited sources.”
“Our idea is to gather the recipes from multiple sources – blogs, authors, publishers, producers etc. – in one place and have them ‘physically’ available for the users’ convenience,” he says. “We hope to provide a more efficient tool for everybody to find the right meal for today’s supper and to keep the really tasty recipes in their own e-cookbooks.” In all, Cooklet provides users with new ways of interacting with recipes – all these backed by complex software solutions such as artificial intelligence, automatic translation and full synchronization, making Cooklet a rather unique proposition in the culinary world.
“Cooklet is also a perfect place to be for content owners – bloggers, publishers – as it will help promote them among international audience,” Grzegorz says, adding that the site will soon add a way for users to monetize their work through premium content.
Cooklet, says Grzegorz, is enriched with Adobe Flash technology. It is, for example, complemented by a website for mobile devices Cooklet.mobi and two applications: Cooklet App for the desktop browser, based on Adobe AIR, and the upcoming Cooklet Lite, a mobile application based on Adobe Flash Lite.
You can see a video here on how it works:
More videos are available here.
A Culinary Challenge
The key benefit of Cooklet, other the ease of putting together and sharing one’s favorite recipes, is the fact that users get connected and become part of an international community of cooks and food lovers, says Grzegorz. They do target a wide demographic – both male and female aged 20 to 50 – but food (and cooking) is a universal love, after all.
One of the biggest challenges the site has faced, ironically, is attributed to its growth - garnering a few thousand users in just one and a half months from 87 countries, requires massive localization of content. But that’s to be expected of a site that appeals to an international audience.
Grzegorz says that Cooklet has identified three main revenue streams, but adds that ‘it’s too early to reveal them’. “But definitely advertising stays out of ‘the podium’ as we would like to keep the site as clean and pleasant for our users as possible,” he hints. Grzegorz also declines to reveal the amount of investment that’s been pumped into Cooklet so far, but says enough was invested to allow them to build ‘high-quality technical solutions which are scalable and upgradable’.
“At some point, we also consider getting investors on board to boost our international expansion,” Grzegorz adds.
Having The Right Motivation
Grzegorz – who describes himself as ‘positively obsessed with quality focused on design, new technologies, marketing and business management – started his first business designing and building websites when he was just 16 years old (which was the start of IKS, or Innovative Key Solutions). Over the course of being an entrepreneur, Grzegorz’s learnt that quality really matters, and hard work is essential to achieve that. “I don’t believe the stories of easy, self-winding businesses. It is really very important to be focused on achieving the goal, even though it might require a lot of time, energy and sleepless nights, but this is what entrepreneurs are – a bit crazy. This is what we need to change the status quo.”
“Entrepreneurship is not for everybody”, he insists. “But if you feel motivated enough to move the mountains and don’t expect to get rich quickly, then you should go for it.”
His philosophy in life mirrors a quote by Russian-American novelist and thinker Ayn Rand: “A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”
Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.