CookSocial.ly

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CookSocial.ly

Stockholm, SwedenStockholm, Sweden
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Cooksocial.ly saves your and the planet's resources while giving you fun, food skills AND yummy lunches. Meet new friends and cook!

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

A lot of people buy more groceries than needed, and they throw away LOTS. In Sweden alone, 900 000 TONS of food are thrown away yearly - 57% of which would have been fully usable/edible. This is a terrible waste. People lose time, money and health when they buy expensive/nutritionally bad work lunches outside the workplace. Or they lose "fun"/variety if they cook big batches of the same food for themselves at home and bring to work during the week. Even disregarding the whole food aspect - people want to meet new people and enjoy fun activities together IRL. Whether single or just looking for new friends and meaningful, social activities, we're often too stressed (or lacking imagination!) to take the initiative ourselves. Cooking food should be an enjoyable, adventurous activity!

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

We will offer a digital social platform to host or attend "social cooking get-togethers" where you produce 5 days worth of your own lunch together with 5 other people, randomly matched. We will supply a neatly packed, optimized "shopping bag" from a national food distributor, containing everything needed to make 6 portions each of 5 different dishes, as well as recipes, aprons, empty containers to put the food in, and possibly even video instructions, making the get-together into an effectively outsourced/crowdsourced "homeparty" of sorts. The strong social/automatized functions of the online platform, as well as the tightly directed (but conducted by "our" incentivized hosts) cooking events themselves, plus an exciting menu of seasonally, preference-wise and culturally adapted "recipe bundles" that the hosts get to choose from, combine to make the service an addictive experience from start to finish. We build longtime loyalty among our members by rewarding activity with points.
Sustainability

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

Sweden has many companies offering home-delivery of pre-packed "dinner grocery bags" for families (once a week, with recipes and everything). Logistically we want to roughly the same thing, only with a strong social aspect and a seamless online/physical experience that manages and directs the events with the hosts as an important player in the system. They are more like "only a service" whereas we're like a movement/decentralized network. Internationally there are players such as AirBnB.com (rent out sleeping space in your home) and Grubwithus.com (connect with random people over dinner at a restaurant) of which we can be said to be a combination. Compared to them, we're out to promote the joy of cooking and the awareness of food resource management in a fun and exciting way.
About You
Organization:
CookSocial.ly
Background Information
First Name

Niclas

Last Name

Johansson

The competition is only open to people between 18-34 years-old and resident in UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark or the Netherlands. Does this apply to you

Country of residence of entrepreneur

Tell us about your personal background. Why are you passionate about this issue? Making an idea a reality takes innovation, dedication and strong leadership. Do you have the necessary entrepreneurial skills to realize your vision?

My primary business is in food/beverages already - I'm building a "gourmet bar snacks" brand, working with suppliers and partners to develop unique products/packaging in a new premium market segment. That company is Bar-deli and already has some prestigous hotels/bars in Stockholm as pilot customers, in addition to having supplied premium events with our products.

My background is mainly in sales and media sales/business development. I have a keen awareness on "everything entrepreneurial" and am the chapter manager for the local TiE chapter (Talent, Innovation, Enterprise), the biggest entrepreneurial network in the world. I've attended many leadership/entrepreneurship workshops with Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship, won some small biz plan competitions, and know my way around the "ecosystem of startups" despite my main business not being purely in the digital arena like all the "hip youngsters".

I've become passionate about spreading awareness of food and culinary experience, and my ultimate vision is to apply big business logistics/branding savvy to global food distribution and help put an end to world hunger. Hungry people can't enjoy the finer nuances of taste!

The idea of "The Social Lunch Box" came to me from a self-experienced pain/problem: I know I should eat better and more "frugal" than expensive lunch restaurants or bad fast food, but cooking for myself is boring and a hassle. But cooking together is an awesome social activity! So I combined that with some "resource optimization" and got a few friends together for a lunch box cooking session. We "crowdsourced" the recipes, did the necessary grocery shopping, had a super nice time in the kitchen, and produced more than five lunchboxes with VARIED and DELICIOUS and CHEAP food to use during the coming week. This is now a network on facebook, and it's grown to around 150 members, and I've seen the willingness of food brands to associate themselves with us as well as a big public interest to make this into a simple platform that lets people host or be guests at "automatized cooking get-togethers".

With this idea we promote the joy of food/cooking, the awareness of seasonal ingredients/global and local resource management, sustainability, and create a setting for cultural exchange between people who didn't know each other. Kind of like "couchsurfing" but with KITCHENS instead of couches!

About Your Organization
Organization Name

CookSocial.ly

Organization Country

, ST, Stockholm

Country where this project is creating social impact

, ST, Stockholm

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Innovation
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities

A person comes to the website and signs up as a host, and creates an event on "this Sunday" with the "vegetarian" menu option. Five other people come to the website and see this event because they are in the same geographic area - and they register as guests. The event now gets "confirmed" to all the participants and 200SEK gets withdrawn from all participants EXCEPT the host (who will get her lunches for free, yay!). This triggers the order, and on the Friday or Saturday the "CookSocially" grocery bag gets delivered to the Host. The delivery also includes "starter kits" consisting of apron + empty lunchboxes for the first-time participants.

When the guests arrive to the host's home, everything's waiting for them - and everyone start cooking together, following team instructions that come with the recipes. They have a wonderful enjoyable time together for 3 hours during which they get to know each other and learn (by doing!) about food. They leave with 5 full lunchboxes each, and they've SAVED MONEY AND TIME to top it all off.

As participants/members of cooksocial.ly attend/host more events and recommend the website to more people, they collect points and get rewards such as product samples from food brands, free dinners at local restaurants, offers from kitchen equipment suppliers, etc.

Select the stage that best applies to your business

Operating for less than a year

Social Impact
What is the social impact you have had to date and how you measure it?

Not much - we're just "betatesting" without any of the automatization that will come from the online platform and the food distribution partner(s). It started with one get-together in October, and we're 150 members in the facebook group. About 10 events have taken place, all in all about 30 participants. We've had commercial interest - Rent A Chef decided to let us use their foodlab professional kitchen for free, and Lantmännen sponsored us with empty lunchboxes (they approached us!). Public interest is indicated by something like 10 blog posts mentioning/praising the initiative - but the online platform is needed to scale up/automatize. Meanwhile, we keep doing it in the fb-network on a weekly basis, and all participants are enjoying it immensely. It simplified things for myself!

What barriers might hinder the success of your business? How do you plan to overcome them?

Lack of personal finances - the business is hingent upon micro-investments to start with, to build and sharpen an MVP as well as to keep a close, collaborative contact with members when the online platform goes live. I will use "fundedbyme", a crowdfunding platform, to gain traction during the spring. I have no deep connections with the food industry, but am in the process of gaining such access through my extended personal network. I work parttime at Coca-Cola and am always building connections that are also relevant for my main business Bar-deli. I'm learning programming in order to effectively lead (not mainly do) development.

Sustainability
How does your model address financial, social, and environmental sustainability?

Financial - cooksocial.ly will be revenue-financed from day 1 and never need external financing other than short-term loans. (dream scenario) We will succeed by starting with a "shippable product" that delivers the absolute minimum core experience but is still worth paying for - such as manually puzzling together groups for events, physically doing the grocery shopping and home delivery ourselves before those systems are in place, etc.

Social - the platform itself promotes serendipitous encounters between people from differing age groups, cultural backgrounds, etc. This makes for a deepening of understanding of those who are different from us.

Environmental - we will focus on food that's locally produced and seasonal, and educate our members about the supply chain in a light-hearted way similar to how B&J does. The core message is that we "cooksocial.ly" because it saves resources - more money left in the pockets for the members, and less energy spent on kitchen heating, grocery shopping, food distribution, less food wasted etc - while providing a FUN and thus "lifestyle-sustainable" activity.

Awareness & learning
How do you see social entrepreneurship contributing to the improvement of developing countries?

I love the idea of micropreneurship and microfinances - getting people aware of their own power over their situation and eventually empowering them towards higher education. The big challenge for developing countries is how to allocate resources to develop physical/digital infrastructure, and I believe there's tremendous innovative powers to be tapped once the people have ownership and belief in their own skills - including the skills to create attractive business proposals that grants them access to outside investors who can clearly see the economic growth potential.

I also love when technology is developed anywhere in the world and made available where it's needed the most, such as simple and portable systems for energy transfer, telecommunications, lighting and sanitation.

Most of all, I love ideas that bring humanity closer - ideas that plant the sense that we are one big tribe. Innovations in food distribution/quality are necessary!

What aspects of your stay in Uganda as part of the competition do you think you will find most challenging and rewarding?

Just massive amounts of cultural learning, getting to experience completely different worldviews. Seeing how they deal with everyday challenges and enjoy everyday life. I imagine I will learn LOTS about agriculture in sub-optimal conditions - having been in touch with "Better Globe" that deal with tree planting in Kenya and Uganda that is an area I'd love to learn more about - and specifically the whole chain of domestic food production/distribution. I will definitely enjoy being around the PASSION of VSO volunteers/workers, and am really looking forward to hearing about their personal motivations to be there and make a difference.

Challenging? I imagine I will be made aware of frustrating bureaucracies and formalitites, see a lot of suboptimized systems that I don't understand the reason for. The challenge will be to try and grasp as much as possible of the whole context instead of starting to "judge" and think I'd know best.