Startup To Watch: Pasta Evangelists

Here at Work In Startups, we’re on a mission to champion the best and most exciting startups in the UK. To support this, we’re starting a new blog series highlighting some of the most innovative and fast-growing startups around. Follow us as we interview startup founders and employees across the country and find out more about their goals and ambitions, what the future holds and (for all you startup jobseekers out there looking for the inside scoop) what they look for in a prospective employee.

This week, we’re interviewing Alessandro Savelli, MD and Founder of Pasta Evangelists: a company on a mission to become the authority in fresh pasta in the UK. Pasta Evangelists is growing quickly, hiring just as fast and radically disrupting the way we think about and consume pasta in the UK. Giles Coran and Prue Leith rank among its supporters.

Hi Alessandro, what would you say Pasta Evangelists’ mission is? 

Our mission is to make the best possible fresh pasta and sauces in the UK, thereby becoming the authority in fresh pasta across multiple channels. We want to spread the joy of high-quality, fresh, hand-crafted pasta!

Can you tell us about your recent growth? What’s next for Pasta Evangelists?

The business has grown considerably over the past few years. We tripled revenues in 2019 and they grew tenfold the year before that. We’re one of the fastest growing startups in the UK and expect this to continue. In fact, we’re making sure of it by investing in our product, hiring new people and expanding our number of distribution channels. 

Our three broadest priorities in 2020 are: 1) to improve our profitability, 2) to execute our concession business and 3) to improve our online business by focusing on online subscribers. With regard to the first priority, we are working hard to improve our margins and therefore, whilst top line growth remains key, it’s not our main focus in 2020. With regard to the second priority, given how pasta is purchased in the UK, we are looking to sell across a broader range of different channels this year. We have concession stands in Harrods and M&S and want to execute on these this year. There’s also a strong demand for our pasta on Ocado and Deliveroo, so we’re going to focus on growing these channels as well. 

Beyond 2020, we see ourselves expanding globally. We’re currently trying to conquer the UK market, but Asia, Europe and America are also in our sights! We’re also going to stick to just making pasta: it’s in our name and it’s what we’re good at. We don’t want to diversify into other areas just yet!

What are your values as a startup employer?

We don’t have any formal ‘values’ per se but, ultimately, people are here to be treated fairly. We want to provide the people in the team with a lot of learning opportunities and we thrive when people take ownership of tasks and push for more responsibility. We’re a diverse startup team and encourage creativity, outside-of-the-box thinking and alternate perspectives as much as possible. We also reward people for hard work and dedication!

What’s great about working at Pasta Evangelists?

We give people a lot of responsibility early on, which is great for self-starters and people that want to get stuck in. We move quickly and also invest in the people in our startup team and provide a lot of learning opportunities. Working with pasta is also fun because it’s a great product. If you love food, you’ll be in heaven here!

What do you look for in an employee?

We look for people that are really interested in what we do. We hate generic applications! If you’re a massive foodie, have written about us or like our pasta – we would love to hear from you! 

We’re also looking for people that have a lot of energy, work hard and are keen to learn. If you’re driven, motivated and ambitious – you’ll do well at Pasta Evangelists!

Do you have any advice for young co-founders thinking about starting their own company but currently unsure?

Move as quickly as possible. Things always take longer than anticipated so it’s good to think ahead and plan accordingly. Also, starting a business is a bit like going to war: you need allies and a good team. Don’t go to war by yourself – if you have a team, advisors, supporters, partners and co founders, your chances of success are likely to increase.

Also, do something in a category that you have a specific interest in, not just in a category where you see a business opportunity. When you found a start up, you’re tied to it for a long time and the hours are long, so it helps if you are passionate about what you do! You will also come across as more authentic and credible if you genuinely love what you do. 

On a separate note, we have several open positions at the moment! So check them out and if nothing interests you but you think you could add value to Pasta Evangelists – send us an email! We’d love to hear from you.

And of course, make sure to check out out fresh pasta directly on our site (!): https://pastaevangelists.com/

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