Sergey Dubovik & Marharyta Orbaztsova of FoodFinder: Updating the offline world


It is said that good co-operation is the key to success. This is true at least for Sergey Dubovik and Marharyta Orbaztsova, co-founders of FoodFinder, a website which lists all the discounts on grocery stores in Helsinki in on one page.

This Russian-Ukraininan duo looks clearly satisfied with working together on a common project. Their good working relation is based on mutual respect.

”Sergey is really professional”, Orbaztsova compliments her partner. ”He sets his goals high and also wants to reach them. That’s something I appreciate.”

Dubovik immediately replies with another compliment. ”Marharyta is really hard working”, he says.

Their common project, a website called FoodFinder, was launched in last October. The idea of FoodFinder is simple. It lists all the discounts offered by different grocery stores in Helsinki on one website.

”It’s not about making a big innovation, but seizing the opportunity”, Dubovik explains. ”We have talked with people who have had something similar in mind, but never really got anything done.”

Orbaztsova and Dubovik think that FoodFinder could be useful for both the customers and stores. They argue that the way grocery stores advertise, by sending paper to people’s homes via mail, is old fashioned and needs to be updated to meet the modern world needs. New ways of delivering advertising would benefit both the stores and customers alike.

Dubovik believes that in five to ten years, people will stop searching for information. Instead, they will expect that relevant information is provided them in a right place at the right time. This means more location based services and wearable, easy-to-use technology. FoodFinder aims to be part of this change.

For now though, FoodFinder is still at prototype stage and requires quite a lot of manual labour from the founders. It’s not always easy, when you have to combine studying, working and one’s own projects.

”You have to sacrifice something”, Orbaztseva admits. ”But at the same time you have to learn to know your limits. You can’t go forever without a good night’s sleep.”

Despite the challenges, both seem to be really satisfied with their lifestyle. They hope that one day FoodFinder could be for them a way to make a living. Despite this, neither money nor full time entrepreneurship as such are main goals for the two.

”It’s about the thrill of bringing your ideas alive”, Obraztsova explains. ”Being an entrepreneur is just one way of doing it.”

Dubovik and Orbatztseva are not the only ones who have trust in FoodFinder. As the next version of the software is coming out next summer, the launch will be done together with two partners, Tokmanni and Saiturin pörssi, both major players in Finnish retail business. And more will come, Dubovik and Orbatztsova believe.

“We can provide the stores both better visibility for their discounts and also data about which offers the customers find most attractive”, Dubovik explains. “This information is something the stores are really interested in.”

But for now, the daily work with Foodfinder is still mostly about testing and developing the software. As a web developer, Dubovik values the feedback from both the customers and the stores.

“We are not making this for ourselves”, he reminds. “You have to listen to the customers and partners and go to the direction they want.”

For new startups and entrepreneurs Dubovik and Obratztsova have two tips. First, before doing anything else, test your ideas properly. This, according to Dubovik, is something that is often forgotten. Secondly, don’t be scared of the routine work in the beginning.

“It can be really frustrating. The amount of work prevents you from seeing the overview”, Dubovik explains. “And that leads to people to give up just before reaching the goal.”

Clearly, this is not anymore the case with Foodfinder. Although the project is still in early stage, both Dubovik and Orbaztsova are enthusiastic to carry on and develop their idea even further.

FACT: Foodfinder

Website that provides all the offers in grocery stores in Helsinki in one place

Opened in October 2014

Free to use. Does not require registration.


Text and photo: Tuomas Pulsa