Startup Spotlight: Food For All
Startup Spotlight: Food For All
Meet Sabine Valenga – Co-Founder & CMO of Food for All, an app that allows people to buy food from restaurants 1 hr before they close, for 50-80% cheaper.
GH: What is Food For All?
Food for All is an app that allows people to buy food from restaurants 1 hr before they close, for 50-80% cheaper. Our mission is to prevent food waste by increasing accessibility to quality food and helping local businesses to thrive.
Sabine Valenga & David Rodriguez (Co-Founders of Food For All)
GH: What was your Eureka moment: how did Food For All get started?
When we realized how bad of a problem food waste is for both society and the environment, and the opportunities around it. A lot of restaurants already discount their food at the end of the day, and Food for All was a solution to do this at scale.
GH: How did you build/ are you thinking about building your team?
We are 3 co-founders that have been working together for over a year now. We needed a solid core team with complementary abilities that fulfill the basic needs for a startup (CMO and CTO), but most importantly, we needed a team that together is expert in making a lot of things happen with very little resources. Self-motivation and companionship were the keys that put us together.
GH: What is your company philosophy driving your company culture?
- “Always be truly open to suggestions”: one of the best advantages of being a startup is being able to change our product and strategies quickly according to what we learn and opportunities we grasp.
- “Resourcefulness & Efficiency”: It’s ok not to know everything, but figure out the best way to do it by mobilizing the right people and the right tools.
GH: Startup life is full of failures and ‘make it work’ moments – can you identify how you bounced back from one of yours?
Staff turnover in restaurants is very high and this makes their training very challenging. Sometimes we would call restaurants to let them know that a client was about to come in and the worker on duty would not believe they were part of Food for All. Now we give our restaurants a sticker for the cashier that says “This establishment is proudly part of Food for All” with the owner/manager signature – it’s been very helpful!
Sabine Valenga & Victor Carreño (Co-Founders of Food For All)
GH: What did you learn from your first customers?
We originally thought Food for All was all about college students who wanted to be part of a cool movement against food waste. However, the more we run our pilot, the more we understand we have a second and larger group of target users: professionals with non-standard working hours (many struggling financially and/or with multiple jobs). For example: Uber and Lyft drivers love us!
GH: What has the Boston ecosystem provided you?
As foreign entrepreneurs, networking events are crucial for us to build our network and the Boston Startup scene is very dynamic and accessible in this sense. Additionally, we are currently part of two incubation programs that have been very resourceful for us to build a strong team of mentors and advisors: Smarter in the City & Majiraa Project
GH: What is the Boston ecosystem lacking from your perspective?
More awareness towards the Impact Investment scene.
GH: What’s the best/worst piece of advice you were given along the way?
Best: Keep your prospect investors on the loop with periodical and short newsletters.
GH: What was the best thing that happened to you last year?
Being featured on the Today Show when all we had was a pilot and an explanatory video!
GH: What does the future hold for Food For All?
Food for All introduces a profitable and scalable solution for surplus prepared meals, and its power is in the fact that it’s a B to C platform – we create the right incentives for everybody to take part in the movement against food waste. Some of the future headlines:
“Food for All makes restaurant food accessible for the ~45M Americans that receive SNAP Benefits by accepting food stamps”
“Food for All enters grocery stores by partnering with Whole Foods”
“Food for All reduces food waste in campus dining halls all over the US by partnering with Aramark”