Cortilia is the first Italian online store which allows you to buy food from local farmers and get it delivered on your doorstep
Fruits and vegetables freshly picked from the farmer, ordered online and delivered to your doorstep. This is the idea behind Cortilia, the Milan based startup that launched the Zero Kilometer philosophy on the web. “An eBay for zucchini”, this is how its founder, Marco Porcaro, 41, called it, because just like e-bay, Cortilia connects farmers and buyers, dealing with the logistics of it all.
The products distribution is managed through Viamente, the navigation software which was co-created by Porcaro and his business partner Antonio Perini and purchased last summer by an American company for € 4.5 million. Becoming a customer on Cortilia is simple, you just have to order the products on the website and select your desired time of delivery. A van picks up the goods from the farmer and it delivers it directly to the customer.
Thanks to Viamente, the time of delivery is extremely accurate. The software as a matter of fact, identifies the best routes and it allows the van to save time and fuel. Created in January 2011 and funded with the support of an investment fund and several business angels, today Cortilia works with twenty direct producers, it has 8,000 subscribers to the service and it handles hundreds of transactions every week.
Following a model which has become extremely popular in the US but is still very new in Europe, Cortilia is giving local farmers the opportunity to promote their business to the general public, through a service that is particularly useful to people working full time.
"According to our initial projections, we should reach the break even point in about two years, but we might review our plans," explains Porcaro. "Given the success that the business is having, we are evaluating the opportunity to continue to invest. We might not just stop in Milan, Cortilia might take over other Italian cities very soon. "