Flashfood

Sponsored Content with: BDC

​Food waste is an enormous global problem, with billions of dollars’ worth of food going to landfills in Canada every year. For Toronto’s Josh Domingues, that waste inspired a smart business idea with an important purpose.

​Domingues is the CEO and founder of Flashfood Inc. Flashfood is a mobile platform that allows people to purchase surplus food directly from grocers via their phone at greatly reduced prices for same-day pick-up.

​With a background in finance and consulting, Domingues first got a glimpse into how much food gets thrown in the garbage on a daily basis through his sister, a chef. He began researching the subject and was alarmed to learn that when food gets thrown out, it usually ends up in a landfill, where it gets covered by other garbage and rots. The decomposition process produces methane gas, making food waste a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, countless people face hunger and food insecurity, making food waste a perplexing problem.

​Delving deeper into the issue, Domingues learned that grocery stores toss large quantities of food that is nearing its “Best Before” date but that is still perfectly good and safe to eat. That’s what got him thinking: if grocery stores and restaurants could upload a picture of the food they were going to throw out on any given day, mark the price down, then send out a notification, people could see the deal on their mobile phone, put in an order right then and there, and pick up goods that same day. The app would be a win-win-win: for the store, the consumer, and the planet.

​Domingues gathered a team of equally passionate people who had solid backgrounds in consulting, investment banking, and technology, and Flashfood was born. Not only did the company founders do their homework with a thorough research and development phase, they also later ended up on Dragons’ Den. Their pitch was successful, with two Dragons signing a deal.

​“A company that can make money while making a big social impact is an entrepreneurial dream come true,” says Jasmin Ganie-Hobbs. a major accounts manager at the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). “I think that the backbone of Canada's economic future depends on innovators like Josh….Josh might have the right plan, experience, and competitive advantage to disrupt the industry in a meaningful way.”

​As of August 2017, Flashfood had already diverted over 5,500 meals away from landfills. And while the company is helping address an urgent problem, its success to date stems from meticulous planning. Besides building a strong foundation with BDC start-up financing, Domingues brought strong business skills to the table.

​“The Dragons often remind us that they invest in the entrepreneur, not just the business,” Ganie-Hobbs says. “It’s crucial for any pitcher on the show to prove they are a passionate, driven, and trustworthy partner.

​“When pitching a business in its early stages, elaborating on your business background and highlighting your strengths as an entrepreneur will greatly help offset any doubt investors may have in the concept,” she says. “Time will tell what the future holds for this entrepreneur and his big vision, but with a deal like that, things are looking pretty bright.”

This is paid content provided by or produced on behalf of BDC.

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