FoodShare Inc.

FoodShare Inc. : World's First Food Rescue App

Toronto, CanadaToronto, Canada
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

FoodShare is an iOS, Android and Web based application that will connect households, events, stores and restaurants with leftover or excess food with people in need of cheap and accessible food (i.e. university students, low income bracket individuals). This will be the first app of its kind.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if your leftover or excess food could easily feed someone else immediately instead of ending up in a landfill?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There are two problems we are trying to address. Firstly, approximately 40% of food in North America goes wasted and ends up in landfills. That's $165 billion worth of food annually wasted, which could fill 730 football stadiums. This food currently rots in landfills where it produces toxic methane. Secondly, current food rescue programs are not providing a timely solution in a personal manner and aren't app based reducing widespread usage.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

In our application there will be a giver and getter. The giver (giving food) will be able to post a food listing by providing information about the food like portion size, ingredients, allergens and a picture. The getter will be able to scan food listings on a map or list. When he/she finds something they like, they can find out more information about it (approximately how far the giver is, the giver's reviews, food characteristics), and after they can book that meal. After the giver confirms this, the getter will be able to see the giver's address and will be able converse with them through the app's inbuilt chat function. The giver does not need to be an individual and can be a store, event, or restaurant looking to reduce waste.

Awards

N/A
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Imagine you're a single mother looking for a nutritious meal at a lower cost. Instead of having to go through more uncomfortable and degrading processes like using soup kitchens or relying on food stamps (this is usually not enough). Using the FoodShare app, you can now tap directly into a market of nutritious, fresh food or deeply discounted produce from stores. Using intuitive software, you can quickly locate and pick up meals in your area with minimal delay or financial/physical hardship. Likewise, grocery stores, events, and restaurants can now lower the cost of food disposal, lower their waste footprint, and eventually receive tax receipts working through the app with organizations like Second Harvest who we aim to partner with.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Currently, we have finished several design wireframes and constructed a complete back end platform. We are in communication with law firms in forming a terms and agreements contract for the software, as well as a potential patent. As development of the application continues, we are working with the University of Toronto towards potential avenues of partnership in which the application would be launched in partnership with meal halls and stores across the campus. Moreover, we are getting ready to establish contact with food rescue programs like Second Harvest and are hoping to bring them on board with our app based solution. We are also contacting several youth influencers to give us feedback on our wireframe and to provide insight on what we could provide in our final version that we aim to have done by the new year.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

FoodShare plans to employ a marketing and spread strategy similar to that used by Facebook in its primitive stages. We plan to partner with universities specifically across the continent, and aim to bring on board regional representatives that could help us funnel the app into their local campuses. We think that by specifically focusing on today's highly social youth, we will be able to immediately get a good following given that there is an abundant number of students that because of their meal plan (if they even have one) go without meals throughout the year.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We don't have that many costs beyond maintaining the application and web servers. Other than that, which our partnered organization WebMotion Studios is willing to provide for us for free, we plan to raise money by working directly with MaRS in Toronto, and partnering with strategic organizations. We have also applied to foundations for funding as well as applying to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for a grant of 75K.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Currently, this problem remans largely unaddressed. Beyond food rescue programs that use expensive truck fleets to pick up food which is highly inefficient, there exists one other mobile app that is trying to tackle this problem: LeftoverSwap (LS). Our solution is superior to LeftoverSwap's since LS does not have a web interface, ability to receive nearby food alerts, no focus on personalization, and as seen by the limited number of people that use their low quality app, does not have a partnership/marketing strategy that is scalable. Our solution will remedy all of these problems.
Team

Founding Story

Myself and my founding partner came up with the idea after walking past a large truck filled with what seemed to be sealed milk jugs, fresh produce, and boxed sandwiches being emptied directly into an adjacent dumpster behind a grocery store. Upon inquiring as to why all the food was being disposed of, a worker told us that it had all passed its "expiration date by a day." Upon further research we discovered that expiration dates are set arbitrarily by the food distributors initial producers. With no viable solution on the market, we found it unacceptable that society fight so hard at ending food insecurity while at the same time filling our own trash cans with perfectly fresh, edible food.

Team

Quinn Underwood (Co-Founder, COO) - Intern at Hootsuite, CEO of Indian Umbrella (social venture), Full-Time, Manu Goswami (Co-Founder, CEO) - Canada's Top 20 under 20, CEO of RafikiMedia (marketing agency), Full-Time Tameem Iftikhar (Backend Lead) - Lead Developer at Surf Easy, Full-Time Naitik Mehta (UX Designer) - UX Designer for Hootsuite, Full-Time Darsh Thanki (Web Designer) - CEO of WebMotion Studios, Full-Time Karim Alibhai (Frontend Lead) - Designer at Vare, Full-Time We plan to steadily evolve the team's composition by adding specifically unpaid interns to work under each department (Operations, Design, Product, and Marketing) as well as appointing regional representatives (volunteer position) that will help spread the reach of the application. Currently, we have people on our team that certainly have a breadth of experience working on their respective fields in a competitive and professional setting. Our coders, designers, marketers have all been part of social enterprises and therefore are willing to compromise personal gains for the sake of increasing the exposure and ability for the application. That is critically important given knowing that allows us to work cohesively as a unit and we will constantly be looking to add talent that follows that foundation of our culture.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Facebook

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Co-Founder

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Responsible Consumption and Production.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

I (Manu Goswami) was awarded Canada's Top 20 under 20 award for my work starting social enterprises. I was recognized thereby as one of Canada's Best Young Entrepreneurs for starting over five high impact ventures. As a serial entrepreneur, have started a global non-profit Canada Thinks that created Canada's first ever National Youth Fund which provides youth entrepreneurs with grant money, networking opportunities, and mentorship. Moreover, I have also started RafikiMedia, which was selected as Canada's Top Youth Social Media Agency by the Canadian Student Business Review. Along with FoodShare, I am currently managing a $10K seed fund MGSXW I created with my father which invests in high impact early ventures in the Waterloo-Toronto strip.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

Partners - WebMotion Studios, University of Toronto (Lee Fellowship)
Mentors - University of Toronto Best and Banting (Impact Centre)
Advisors - Rochman Goswami (Director of Operations - Jacobs Oil)

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