Food waste app pioneer OptiMiam raises 500,000 euros to tap into booming demand in France, eyes expansion abroad.
At a Startup Weekend event in March 2014 at Polytechnic Paris Raodath Aminou shared a story from her recent visit to supermarket. She had seen a clerk sticking -50% discount stickers on boxes of sushi. When she asked for the reason the clerk said he would need to throw the food away at the end of the day if it is not sold.
“I had worked in a cafe so I knew of the problem and I joined her,” her co-founder Alexandre Bellage told ArcticStartup in an intervew.
Aminou and Bellage started to work on the idea, won the weekend competition and numerous other competitions, and founded OptiMiam in October 2014 making them the pioneers of the industry. It took a year before the first teams in Finland, one of the advanced markets in global perspective, started to work on launching waste food apps and it took two years for Finnish firms to start blaming each other on stealing the idea of launching a waste food app.
OptiMiam has been growing step by step since 2014 and today more than 200 restaurants, pastries, fast-food joints or supermarkets use OptiMiam to distribute food which would otherwise go to waste. The main alternatives in use are either using NGOs to distribute the waste food or then restaurants and shops or ganise the sell-out themselves.
The investment of two business angels can be seen as a massive vote of confidence for the emerging sector in Europe, but local regulations played also crucial part. A new law in France makes wasting food a criminal action, hence there is legally-triggered demand out there.
“It is very important for us. Everyone says wasted food is a huge problem for retailers and others. We can say: We have a solution. The topic is on the table,” Bellage said in the interview.
While the first funding will be used mostly to expand the service across French towns, next year the startup aims to expand to key European towns.
“We want to be global. The issue of food waste is global,” Bellage said.