Onur Simsek is both smart and technically capable. So, although he had all he needed to build his game-changing hospitality business solution, when it came to seeking the Start Up Loan funding to fulfil his dream, he was quick to seek out expert financial help from Helen Steel at Streamlion Consulting.
Atlacarte is a hospitality business solution that is now attracting significant interest from major brands. Its founder Onur Simsek, originally from the Netherlands, had followed opportunities around Europe for some years, including running a Benelux business for a large technology firm from their base in Dublin.
It was in a bar in Dublin during a 2012 business trip that the original idea for Atlacarte was born. Hungry and frustrated with slow waiter service, Onur conceived the idea for a platform to improve customer service speed and experience. He registered the domain name but did no more.
A few years later, work brought him back to Dublin – and he decided the time was right. He began to digitise the hospitality customer experience by building a unique software solution based on a messaging platform – an ideal medium for the highly social world of eating out.
Atlacarte found immediate success with restaurants, pubs and takeaways who loved its chat-based ordering and reservation capabilities – but then the pandemic shifted the market. By 2020, a slew of new apps and appless solutions had emerged to serve this space. There was real danger that his platform’s wider potential might be lost in the morass. He was determined this wouldn’t happen.
Finding fast funding for growth
Development takes time and money, so Onur now needed funding. Having bootstrapped the original build with his own funds, he needed a loan to invest in making the solution a fully appless and web-based enterprise hospitality CX solution for big chains and international brands.
Moving quickly is essential in the tech business. Moving at speed with finance depends on having a deep understanding of the process and every fact and document at your fingertips – especially when it comes to gaining a Government-backed Start Up loan.
A friend recommended that he speak with Helen to get advice – and things moved smartly along from there. Onur recalled that “Helen was really approachable and professional. She was able to take everything out of my hands! With her help I applied for the Start Up Loan I needed to take Atlacarte forwards.”
Virtually effortless application experience
Financial applications and banking procedures can be complex. With Helen’s help, Onur had no need to navigate these. He acknowledged that “I really didn’t have to do anything, as Helen created the business plan, cashflow, and dealt with all the application paperwork. She went above and beyond what I expected and really surprised me with her depth of knowledge. She always knew exactly what was required – and she needed only the minimum from me to get the deal done.”
He continued: “It ended up being easy for me because Helen did everything. This kind of Government financial help seemed quite far away, but through her it was easily reachable. She simplified the process completely – basically saying to me what was needed, what to fill in, and what to get for her. If you give her everything she asks for, she can make an amazing case for you.”
“Without her help I am sure we would have got there eventually, but it might have failed along the way and would probably have taken three or four months. Thanks to Helen it only took one month to get approval.”
With his Start Up Loan in place, Onur was able to shift Atlacarte development into high gear. He has created the market’s only true all-in-one hospitality business solution that uses the vast power of chat to help businesses sell, showcase, and promote themselves by creating conversations between venues and their customers and between customers themselves – wherever they are.
Sharing opportunity with new entrepreneurs
Onur has built a strong relationship with Helen through the loan application process. “She’s so nice to work with. She even surprised me with a gift of brownies, which happened to be from the small town in Wales where my girlfriend comes from – those personal touches matter” he remembered.
Small wonder perhaps that he has been quick to share the benefits. Because Onur did not originally have an office of his own, his Uncle had offered him space within his accountancy practice, which supports the local Turkish community. In the months following lockdown, Onur became aware of many people that wanted to start their own businesses after experiencing job losses and employment uncertainty. With his Uncle’s support, Onur referred several of these to Streamlion Consulting.
Helen has helped several businesses this community unlock access to funding – including, so far, a furniture designer and maker, two mobile car washing firms, and a mobile dry cleaner. She has also helped find funding for a kosher chocolate start up for a member of the nearby Orthodox Jewish community.
Onur has become a regular referral partner for Streamlion. His advice to other entrepreneurs: “I know so many struggling entrepreneurs – although I will only get to do the Start Up loan process once, I will continue to refer others to Helen for help. People who have a dream need to be helped to do it now – because if they wait, they will regret it”
Want to become a referral partner? Find out more here.
You can download this case study here: Streamlion_CaseStudy_Atlacarte_FINAL