The Winged Bean offers an affordable way to eat healthy without the need for cooking.
Born out of the frustration of wanting to maintain a healthy diet with little time for cooking, Founder Daniil Kiselev thought their must be a better way.
Serving Hamilton and Burlington, Kiselev is spreading awareness about healthy eating by delivering chef-prepared meals. By offering a weekly meal plan of gluten free, plant-based food, The Winged Bean aims to show that healthy eating does not have to be difficult.
We sat down with Kiselev to learn more about his personal inspiration for the company and what drives him to get out of bed each morning.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR COMPANY?
My partner has spent 4 years in and out of hospitals due to Crohn’s disease. She has been in remission for just as long since she has adapted a plant-based diet. She had done it for ethics and found health benefits. Then she met me, and I did it for health benefits and found ethics.
There is quite a lot of research on the topic: significantly decreased risks of heart disease, diabetes and even certain types of cancer. Along with being the best thing one can do for the planet, it is also the obvious ethical choice. We started to investigate why everyone and their grandmothers are still not adapting the diet.
We came up with: it’s inconvenient, it’s expensive, it doesn’t taste nearly as good.
Well. The Winged Bean was a natural solution: Convenient, Affordable, Delicious.
WHAT DO YOU FIND THE MOST REWARDING ABOUT BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR? WHAT DO YOU FIND THE MOST CHALLENGING?
Rewarding? It’s like having a baby and nurturing it’s growth.
Challenging? It’s like having a baby and nurturing it’s growth.
HOW HAS ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEFIED OR LIVED UP TO YOUR EXPECTATIONS?
I initially had a very romanticized view of entrepreneurship. We were going to launch in under a week, by second week we would be overwhelmed with customers, and somewhere by week 4 VC’s would be beating on our door to give us a blank signed cheque where I would naturally put a few dozen zeroes and prepare for tomorrow’s IPO.
HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED WITH INNOVATION FACTORY?
I was at a Forge@Mac event to learn more about entrepreneurship and was recommended to come check iF out. We’ve been a client of The Forge and iF ever since.
WHat have you valued most about innovation factory’s support?
Workshops and mentorship. I was a kid with an idea who didn’t know the first thing about business. iF workshops really helped me build an understanding of the type of journey we were going to embark upon, as well as build the skills to not sink at the port.
How do you measure success?
There is a word for this in Japanese: Ikigai. It translates as ‘reason to get up in the morning’. You are successful as long as you have a purpose-driven ikigai that makes you jump out of bed and seek life, as opposed to retreating under the covers and hoping life won’t find you there.
WHAT DIFFERENTIATES YOU FROM YOUR COMPETITION?
A plant-based, whole foods approach. We started this company not for the bottom-line, but to help the planet and all it’s inhabitants by changing how and what we eat.
WHAT IS THE BEST RECOGNITION YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
A customer once invited us inside during our delivery. He is diabetic and his blood sugar is back to normal for the first time in months. He had lost almost 10 lbs at that time simply because he replaced junk food with our lunches and he was now feeling radiantly alive because of it. It gives me shivers every time I think about it. This is the reason we wake up in the morning.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE NEXT YEAR AND BEYOND?
We are aiming to accomplish a lot: move to a production facility of our own, offer a larger menu of 25 meals, give our customers the ability to choose their meals, switch to 100% compostable packaging, outsource logistic to UPS, and begin shipping all over Ontario.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS WHO MAY JUST HAVE AN IDEA?
We haven’t even closed our first 6 months of operations and I’ve had more mental breakdowns than revenue. Entrepreneurship is hard, and you have to know that off the bat. You need, emphasis on ‘need’, an intrinsic drive. The reason why you are doing this. When things get tough, the tough get going, and you won’t be going anywhere unless you have a strong reason to keep at it. Ikigai.
HOW CAN WE CONNECT WITH YOU?
The Winged Bean
The Winged Bean