Ondon Olio-based food waste app has launched a new marketplace with the aim of encouraging neighbors to share instead of buying everyday household items.
The Borrow feature, launched before the opening of COP26, aims to get people to share things like exercises and pasta makers (the classic lockdown impulse buy) with their local community. The app wants to help families save money and avoid waste in the long run.
The idea is, why does everyone have to buy a drill or a roomba in an apartment building when a lot of them will end up in a landfill? Each purchase also fuels the demand for more consumption. Why not share a couple between the building?
“Garbage isn’t just what ends up in landfills. Garbage is also all the things that collect dust in our homes – while our neighbors are busy buying more of the same,” writes the co-founder. Tessa Clarke.
She cites research showing that an average American home contains 300,000 items, many of which are hardly ever used.
The loan will allow neighbors to lend and temporarily use items such as books or camping gear, then rate their neighbors on helpfulness and return status of the items. Users can give a rating out of five.
“If we are to avoid the worst effects of the rapidly accelerating climatic and ecological crises, it is absolutely essential that we move from our economic model of ownership (and waste) to a model of guardianship (and use)”, argues Clarke. “We very much hope that by making borrowing easy, secure, quick and fun, it becomes second nature, much like buying is today.”
Last month, Olio revealed that he raised $ 43 million in a Series B funding round led by VNV Global. DX Ventures, the venture capital arm of food delivery giant Delivery Hero, has also joined.
The startup has more than quintupled in the past year to see more than 5 million users. Around 80% of users are based in the UK. It takes less than 30 minutes for unwanted food to be picked up on the app, the app says.
Olio’s boom is in part due to his recent partnership with Tesco. The association allows the more than 30,000 volunteers of the application to collect and share food waste not claimed by charities. Since the launch of the partnership, the number of food products listed on Olio each month has grown to more than 1.6 million, compared to around 300,000.
The start-up has also teamed up with restaurant giant Compass and recently started working with fast grocery delivery company Zapp. Such partnerships have helped the app create a lucrative source of income. It is not yet profitable.
The start-up plans to use the last cash to continue its growth and expand into new markets.
It also plans to unveil an insurance offer to users, to “provide additional peace of mind.”