Meet a StartUp: CeliCity
Tell us a little about yourself.
We are a group of social entrepreneurs who live in Barcelona and London, who basically have four common passions: traveling, technology, eating out, and sharing quality time with friends and family. Our London member lives in west London, more precisely in Hammersmith, so actually within your ‘catchment area’! We really love London and are passionate about west London in particular.
We all are lucky enough to have studied at postgraduate level, had a chance to see the world and have loving and caring families, so we felt that we wanted to join efforts and give something back to society by creating something together that is bigger than each one of us individually and that would help others. However we didn’t quite know how to channel this desire until we came up with CeliCity.
What was the inspiration behind CeliCity?
We’ve got family members and friends who are coeliacs and who also follow a paleo diet and a gluten-free diet because of their lifestyle or personal choice. When we went out for dinner with them, we realised the amount of trouble they had to go through when finding a place to eat out. The choice was limited (or non-existent), prices were high, or they simply didn’t know what to expect from a place, so that felt unfair. Was this some sort of sign or call for a solution that would allow us to help others and channel our social entrepreneurial spirit? Definitively yes! So that’s how we started to look into ideas and by the beginning of 2014 we launched CeliCity: a place for you to find all the gluten-free restaurants and shops at your fingertips.
How does the service work?
It’s a completely free app that allows you to find, review and share restaurants and shops selling gluten-free products. It is all based on crowd sourcing, which means that people who are our users are the ones who create the content and the reviews, which gives it a real community feeling and grows something that we can all benefit from: up-to-date data from real people out there.
Users can find the restaurant or shop they want, understand what range of gluten-free products they offer, score it, comment on it, know the price range and share it with the community.
We are available in iOS and in Android, both in English and Spanish, and we are completely free, with no in-app purchases (annoying little things that some apps have that require you to spend money in order to access more content).
What areas do you cover?
We have restaurants and shops that have a gluten-free offering, which is suitable for a number of people:
– coeliacs: people who have gluten intolerance, for which the only available treatment is to avoid eating gluten
– gluten-free stylers: people who are not coeliacs, but made a choice to eat free from gluten
– paleo diet: CeliCity also serves people who are following a paleo diet (which is a more restrictive diet, that also includes avoiding gluten-free products).
We then show what range of gluten-free offering is available at these venues: whether it’s pizza, pasta, bread, beer or others (for example desserts). The price band of the restaurant is shown and if it’s a shop the price/quality relationship. Our users can then score the place on a scale of 1 to 10 and add any comments they may want to make to their review. In a really simple and convenient manner, users can add pictures, webpage, telephone number and of course the address, which then enables the rest of the community to search by geo-localisation (basically a map search, showing where you are and the distance to the places of your choice).
So far we are present in 17 countries, with more than 9,000 users and 2,000 reviews—to be honest, much more than we expected in this short period of time!
Are there any other features you’d like to tell us about?
Sure, I think it’s also fair to mention that we are backed up by our Twitter, Facebook and website with really interesting blog posts. This is a completely comprehensive gluten-free network for our community, both in English and Spanish, where we interact with our users and other members of the gluten-free community, sharing information and events, travel news and tips always with the focus on making a user’s life easier and more pleasant when eating out or buying gluten-free products.
What’s next for CeliCity?
Well, we really have a lot of good ideas and projects for CeliCity, but unfortunately sometimes these cost money and that dictates the tempo of our development. However, currently we are geared up for international growth and we are now growing into a number of countries quite quickly! The US and the UK have proven to be very interesting markets with a high demand for what CeliCity has to offer and we have grown faster than expected in both of them. Also we discover every day that we have reached countries that we have taken no action to grow in (for example Greece, Malaysia and Russia). All of a sudden there were people using our app in those places: fantastic! Developing new sections, like recipes and products reviews, are coming soon. Finally, keeping a high-quality product is always at the top of our minds. For more information, visit CeliCity’s website.