The platform supports the wave of independent food artisans looking to build successful businesses.
INDIANAPOLIS — October 19, 2021 — Castiron, an e-commerce platform for independent culinary artisans, is announcing its public launch today at castiron.me out of High Alpha. The purpose-built suite of tools is the first to focus on the needs of independent culinary artisans, a group of passionate and talented creators who are underserved and underappreciated by the existing e-commerce and website tools.
Castiron is led by New York City-based Co-Founder and CEO Mark Josephson. Josephson brings 25 years of relevant experience including helping build one of the first creator-focused businesses, About.com (now DotDash), and as CEO of hyperlocal technology company Outside.in and freemium SaaS pioneer Bitly.
“Kitchen-based creators represent a massive opportunity for growth in our economy,” said Josephson, CEO of Castiron. “Restaurant closings and job losses related to COVID-19, paired with the rapid changes in cottage food laws nationwide and changing consumer behavior has accelerated their growth. These entrepreneurs are driven by both passion and necessity to build real, durable businesses, and Castiron is built specifically to address these needs.”
As outlined in “The New Builders: Face to Face With the True Future of Business,” a book written by Elizabeth MacBride and Seth Levine in April 2021, these new entrepreneurs are unlike any others:
Increasingly, our next generation of entrepreneurs are Black, brown, female, and over 40. They are more likely to be building a business on Main Street than in Silicon Valley. They typically start businesses based on their passions and rooted in their communities.
The book also explains that:
New Builders are disconnected from the systems that accelerate new businesses and propel business growth. Those systems were built for past generations of entrepreneurs. New Builders are undercapitalized, and when they try to access networks that control capital, they often face systemic racism and sexism.
“Entrepreneurship looks different than it has in the past,” said Scott Dorsey, managing partner at High Alpha. “Not only is it fulfilling to build products that can truly change the lives of these passionate creators, but there’s a real opportunity in the market to become the platform of choice for this growing community of independent culinary artisans and entrepreneurs.”
Unlike other e-commerce and website tools, Castiron is designed exclusively for the specific needs of culinary artisans. Rather than simply offering food templates and themes, the Castiron platform offers a free, streamlined and customizable website builder, built-in food-specific product information like ingredients and allergen disclosures, order and inventory management tools, ability to manage multiple delivery and fulfillment options including pickup, delivery and shipping, access to customer information and community support to connect with and learn from fellow artisans.
“I built my website in under an hour with Castiron,” said Kimberly Goethe, owner of BarCode by Hollywood. “I love that I could grow my email list and communicate with customers before I even launched my store. The support from the team is exceptional and they’ve shared so many resources with me. They’re incredibly responsive.”
Over the past few months, hundreds of culinary artisans have been using Castiron as part of a beta program to simplify their business operations, sell online, manage inventory, and connect to customers.
“Castiron has given me the ability to process, categorize and streamline the technical end of things so I can spend more time getting back to the other part of business that I love — creating,” said Megan Boehm, owner of Meggy’s Bakeys. “The volume of my online sales have increased due to its ease of use, efficiency and attractive design. Castiron has gone above and beyond my expectations as both a company and experience.”
As a purpose-built platform, Castiron’s mission is to provide culinary artisans the opportunity to thrive as entrepreneurs, and to provide for themselves and for their families doing the work they love.
“I’ve been baking for years. When I made the decision to turn it into a business last year, I tried a lot of different solutions to get my business up and running,” said Lisa Gaub, owner and culinary artisan behind Lisa Fay Bakes. “Not only is Castiron the easiest, most effective tool I’ve used to sell online, but I also feel like they truly care about my journey and are here to support me. It’s simple, elegant and I have more time and energy to put into my craft, not spreadsheets and DMs.”
For examples of artisans on the Castiron platform, visit: castiron.me/artisans.
Castiron is a mission-driven e-commerce company that elevates how independent kitchen-based creators sell to their customers and provides them with resources and community to support their whole business. The world’s best bakers, juicers, canners, jammers, caterers, meal-preppers, private chefs and other culinary artisans use Castiron as a central hub to sell their products online, connect with customers, grow their businesses and save time and money so they can focus on making what they love. To learn more, visit castiron.me or follow on Instagram @castironhq.
About High Alpha
High Alpha, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is a leading venture studio focused on conceiving, launching and scaling next-generation B2B SaaS companies. For more information visit highalpha.com or follow on Twitter @highalpha.