Tackling the problem of food-waste, the gigantic sum of food and water wasted to produce meals that are never consumed, is a pretty daunting task. Irish startup FoodCloud, which launched in October 2013 as a registered charity, is looking to do their part by connecting businesses and charities with items that would ordinarily be chucked in the trash.
The platform works by providing businesses a place through which they can upload information about food that they intend to toss out, for whatever reason (fresh produce went unsold, the food was mislabeled, etc.). From there, notifications are sent out to local charities and the first to accept the food can arrange to come and pick it up. In order to be eligible, charities are required to have a CHY number (registered charity in Ireland), have, or are willing to implement, a food-safety management system, and have received relevant food-safety training.
FoodCloud may be a non-profit, but even non-profits must generate revenue somehow and, in the case of FoodCloud, the service is monetized through fees from retailers. And, unlike many startups, they provide detailed information on their revenue and expenses, reporting that they went from relying heavily on donations (70% of revenue in 2014) to sustaining themselves (operational-income made up 84% of revenue in 2015).
FoodCloud started small, partnering with a number of small cafes and 1 Tesco store, but they have expanded quickly and now work with 170 businesses and 330 charities. And the amount of food that has already been donated is pretty staggering, with FoodCloud saving 788 tons (or 1.73 million meals).
In terms of funding, FoodCloud picked up an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Dublin-based investor NDRC back in September 2013. As is the case with many startups, their goal going forward is expansion, both internationally and with the United Kingdom and Ireland. The startup reports that they recently launched a pilot in the United Kingdom with with the non-profit FareShare, in 11 stores across the country, and intend to launch in 100 Tesco stores next year.