It’s early evening and Ponce City Market in Atlanta’s midtown is buzzing — with families standing in line at the 20+ food stalls, Beltline walkers stopping in for a snack, and groups of co-workers settling in for an after-work drink. Though the restaurants are busy serving, they won’t use everything they have in stock — and a study by the Food Waste Reduction Alliance found that over 84 percent of unused food in U.S. restaurants gets thrown out.
As of this week though, much of that surplus food will no longer go to waste. Food tech startup Goodr has added PCM to its growing roster of clients that include Turner Broadcasting, the Georgia World Congress Center, and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The real-time food rescue app is tackling the $200+ billion worth of food thrown away each year.
Goodr founder Jasmine Crowe says that while the food hall in PCM will certainly contribute to the food rescue startup’s collectibles, she is expecting even more savings from the companies in PCM — MailChimp, Cardlytics, and many more.
Goodr’s platform uses the power of shared economy, like Uber or Lyft. The platform allows clients to connect when they have leftover food to a driver who picks it up and transports it where it’s needed — homeless shelters, food pantries, and soon, a food distribution center where Goodr can store and sort food.
As the team looks back on their one-year anniversary, they have a number of milestones to celebrate: national press, an acceptance into the Techstars Anywhere accelerator, and a number of pitch competition wins. But Crowe points to one milestone above the rest as a true indicator that the company is rocketing in the right direction: in just over a year, they have collected 900,000 pounds of food.
And with the addition of PCM as well as several other clients in the pipeline, she’s confident that they are rapidly moving toward hitting the one million pounds mark.
Crowe has a background in food security and social issues, but Goodr really came to life when she went through a Goodie Nation pre-accelerator focused on gentrification. She knew that hunger wasn’t a result of lack of food — the World Economic Forum states that the world already produces enough food to feed everyone — but of access and, ultimately, logistics.
Through the Goodie Nation program, Crowe was able to connect with technical help and mentors to begin building the first version of the app. Once she landed Turner Broadcasting as Goodr’s first client and word started to spread, other companies and venues began to sign on. She landed the airport deal at another Goodie Nation event: an airport hackathon.
For businesses, Goodr provides a double-bottom line benefit — not only are they directly helping their community, but Goodr’s dashboard shows them how much they can save in tax deductions.
The company is making over $30,000 in monthly recurring revenue and plans to open its first physical office and food distribution center in Atlanta soon. Once they have that distribution center, Crowe says they can expand even faster.
“We had to turn a client down because we literally don’t have the space to put all their food,” Crowe explains. “They throw out over 5,000 bananas a day that have just a spot on them. I have nowhere to put 5,000 bananas right now.”
They’re wrapping up the Techstars program this spring and have begun talking about a seed round. Crowe, who had raised no outside funding until Techstars, is seeking $1.5 million — she says her main targets are social impact investors and food companies who are interested in investing in food tech.
“I want to bring on partners that understand what we’re doing and why,” she says.
Lastly, they’re planning an expansion by the end of the year. Crowe says the ideal city is one in which there’s a density of hungry people and a demand for such a solution.
“Techstars has allowed us to go all over the country to four different cities to see the problems in different areas,” says Crowe. “We’re being very smart about expanding somewhere that they really need us.”
Photos provided by Goodr