Gordon James Campbell: We wanted to create a one-stop destination allowing people to discover and interact with places, and share food experiences with friends, family and foodies.

January 9, 2024

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How did the idea of Maribon, a mobile app for food lovers, originate, and what makes it unique in the market?

Food is such a powerful force because it brings people together – it’s social by nature. With widespread adoption of smartphones and high speed internet, people capture food moments but do not know what to do with them. The idea behind Maribon was to provide a dedicated space for individuals to connect with the food they love. We wanted to create a one-stop destination allowing people to discover and interact with places, and share food experiences with friends, family and foodies.

What sets Maribon apart from other platforms is its focus on technology, service, local community and user experience. The Maribon app allows users to connect with places and foodies like never before. And we are just getting started: Maribon will provide even more meaningful interactions with local businesses with the aim of improving the overall customer journey and ultimately contributing to the growth of local economies.

Maribon is proudly built in Mauritius and supports the Creole language. Can you tell us more about the significance of this local focus for your app?

The local focus of Maribon is significant because we embrace Mauritius’ cultural identity. Maribon acknowledges and celebrates the diverse culinary heritage and traditions of Mauritius, creating a sense of cultural relevance for users. Maribon’s local focus allows for stronger connections with the local community, including restaurants and food businesses. This opens up opportunities for partnerships, collaborations, and tailored events that resonate with the Mauritian market.

Maribon is the first social mobile application to support Creole as a language, which is a significant milestone in the history of Mauritius. Supporting the Creole language ensures that Mauritian users who are more comfortable communicating in Creole can actively participate in the app, promoting inclusivity and a sense of belonging.

What were the biggest challenges in developing an app that combines social networking with food discovery, and how did you overcome them?

Developing an app that integrates social networking with food discovery involved several interesting and fun challenges. Firstly we had to create a data model that made sense for the type of content and interactions taking place on the app. Other challenges followed: data accuracy and content quality, fostering user engagement and community building, addressing scalability and performance, maintaining privacy and security, and establishing partnerships with restaurants and businesses.

Overcoming these challenges requires both experience and experimentation. We needed to create proprietary systems and processes to implement data verification, foster user interactions, optimize app performance, implement robust security measures, and offer value propositions to potential partners. By addressing these challenges effectively, the app can deliver a compelling user experience.

  1. How does Maribon help restaurants and food businesses, and what feedback have you received from them about the app?

Maribon offers significant advantages to restaurants and food businesses. Firstly, Maribon provides increased visibility to a dedicated community of food enthusiasts with clear intentions of eating out. By being featured and discovered on the Maribon platform, establishments can gain exposure, leading to heightened brand awareness and increased foot traffic.

The app also offers targeted marketing opportunities, allowing businesses to reach specific users interested in food and culinary experiences. This enables restaurants to maximize the impact of their marketing efforts. Maribon facilitates direct customer engagement through features such as reviews, ratings, and recommendations. This allows businesses to build relationships with their customers, address feedback, and create a loyal customer base.

Maribon has received positive responses from restaurants and food businesses so far, and are excited to become official partners. Many appreciate the increased visibility and exposure that Maribon provides. Maribon is currently working directly with a group of select restaurants to build more advanced features tailored to their needs.

Maribon emphasizes discovering ‘hidden gems’ and sharing experiences. How do you ensure the app continuously offers new and engaging content for users?

Maribon ensures a continuous supply of new and engaging content for users through various strategies. Firstly, the app encourages users to actively contribute by sharing their dining experiences, posting reviews, and making recommendations. This user-generated content creates a diverse and ever-growing database of culinary insights, allowing users to discover hidden gems and unique food experiences shared by fellow enthusiasts.

Secondly, Maribon leverages curated recommendations to deliver personalized suggestions to users. By employing algorithms and human curation, the app tailors its recommendations based on individual preferences, location, and past interactions. This approach ensures that users are consistently presented with relevant and intriguing food options, fostering excitement and exploration.

Furthermore, Maribon establishes partnerships and collaborations with restaurants, chefs, and local influencers. These partnerships enhance the content diversity and provide users with fresh and unique perspectives, keeping the app engaging and enticing.

Looking ahead, where do you see Maribon in the next five years, and what are your plans for its evolution?

In the next years, Maribon envisions itself as a leading glocal (thinking globally and acting locally) platform for food discovery and dining experiences. The app aims to expand its user base and establish a strong presence in key markets worldwide.

Firstly, Maribon will focus on enhancing personalization. The app will invest in refining its recommendation algorithms and leveraging advanced machine learning techniques. By gaining a deeper understanding of user preferences, behavior, and context, Maribon will provide even more personalized and tailored suggestions to users. This enhanced personalization will ensure that users can discover culinary experiences that closely align with their tastes and preferences.

Additionally, Maribon plans to strengthen its partnerships with restaurants and key stakeholders. By fostering seamless integration within the app, Maribon aims to provide users with a comprehensive dining experience. This may involve features such as reservations, ordering, exclusive offers and payments. By establishing strong strategic partnerships, Maribon will further enhance the value it offers to users and businesses alike.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs in Mauritius looking to create a tech startup?

For entrepreneurs in Mauritius looking to create a tech startup, here is some valuable advice. Firstly, it is important to identify a problem or pain point in the market that your startup can address. Look for gaps in existing solutions or areas where innovation can bring significant improvements. By focusing on solving a genuine need, your startup will have a higher chance of success and attract potential customers.

Networking and building connections within the Mauritian tech and business ecosystem is also essential. Engage with other entrepreneurs, industry professionals, and potential investors. Attend startup events, join relevant communities, and seek mentorship from experienced individuals. The support and guidance from the startup community can provide valuable insights, resources, and opportunities for collaboration.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to iterate and adapt your startup idea as you gain feedback and insights from users and the market. Remain agile and open to adjustments that can improve your product or service. Embrace a mindset of continuous learning and improvement as you navigate the challenges and opportunities of building a tech startup in Mauritius.

Finally, as the founder, what personal fulfillment do you find in Maribon’s journey and its impact on the food community?

As the founder of Maribon, I find immense personal fulfillment in the journey we have embarked upon and the impact we have made on the food community. From the very beginning, my vision was to create a platform that would revolutionize the way people discover, experience, and connect through food.

Seeing Maribon come to life and witnessing users engage with the app brings me great joy. Every time a user discovers a hidden gem or tries something new based on a recommendation from our platform, I feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that we have played a part in enhancing their food experiences. It’s incredibly fulfilling to witness our users’ enthusiasm and passion for exploring the diverse culinary world, all facilitated by Maribon.

Moreover, the impact Maribon has on the food community is truly gratifying. By promoting user-generated content and collaborating with local businesses, we contribute to the growth and recognition of the food industry. Supporting small businesses, fostering collaborations, and providing a platform for culinary creativity are some of the ways we make a positive difference. Knowing that Maribon is helping to showcase the talent, innovation, and diversity within the food community fills me with a deep sense of pride.

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