Leveraging Technology to Reduce Food Waste
Capital One Ventures invests in Goodr, a startup that helps reduce food waste and deliver meals to people facing food insecurity
More than 70 billion pounds of food is ending up in landfills every year while 54 million Americans face food insecurity.
How One Company is Tackling Corporate Food Waste
Recognizing that paradox, Atlanta, Georgia-based entrepreneur Jasmine Crowe founded Goodr, a company that helps large-scale, corporate food programs to track and reduce food waste and deliver meals to communities who need them the most — all while making sure surplus food is put to its best possible use.
“The impetus for Goodr started in 2017 when I was feeding people who were experiencing homelessness and hunger,” Crowe said. “I thought there needed to be technology for people that didn’t know where their next meal was coming from.”
Goodr’s platform also provides an IRS audit-friendly donation record, real-time food waste analytics and community impact reports.
“Our platform has an algorithm that matches excess food with nonprofits in the nearby vicinity of where that food is being picked from,” Crowe said. “That food is then delivered directly to that nonprofit. We integrate with other logistics companies to move the food, and both the driver and nonprofit report how much food is delivered to verify the ledger.”
In 2021, Goodr delivered millions of meals and diverted hundreds of thousands of pounds of food from landfills.
Another of its initiatives supports the launch of popup grocery stores, which sets up free community grocery stores in the areas of food scarcity.
Investing in Innovation to Reduce Food Waste
Capital One Ventures (COV), the strategic investment arm of Capital One, funds startups that are driving the future of data, technology and financial services.
Since 2014, COV has invested in more than 50 companies — including Goodr — that are empowering consumers and businesses. Through venture capital investments in technology startups, Capital One Ventures aims to harness the potential of emerging technology and accelerate Capital One’s progress as an innovative leader.
“Capital One Ventures has been so accessible, introduced me to key partners and made me aware of the things that I need to think about as I seek out additional funding,” Crowe said. “Additionally, public support from Capital One has been an amazing boost in growing our credibility.”
Donating Excess Food to Local Nonprofits
In addition to COV’s financial investment in Goodr, Capital One is joining forces with the company to ensure that excess food from Capital One’s campuses can be sent to local nonprofits.
Since September 2021, food from Capital One’s headquarters in McLean, Virginia, has:
- Provided nearly 7,000 meals served
- Diverted 8,300 lbs of waste from landfills
- Prevented 4,500 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions
“For an impact-focused investor thinking about human well-being, access to nutritious food is about as critical and fundamental of a need as there is,” says Adam Boutin, Partner at Capital One Ventures. “Through technology and smart logistics, Goodr is feeding thousands of people and contributing to the fight against climate change, all while building a sustainable business. We believe Goodr and Capital One can create tremendous impact not only across the corporate footprint of campuses but also through our vast network of partners and customers.”
Businesses That COV Invests In
In 2021, Capital One Ventures added an Impact practice, focusing on mission-driven businesses that are tackling critical societal and environmental challenges.
In order to be eligible, companies must:
- Deliver measurable impact through their core business
- Demonstrate their stated values through their daily operations and strategic priorities
- Show potential to be a significant and economically viable business
Core focus areas include:
Economic Empowerment: Leveling the economic playing field for individuals and communities that currently face undue barriers to financial success
Environmental Sustainability: Enabling Capital One and our customers to live and operate more sustainably
Underrepresented Entrepreneurs: Do our part in closing the funding gap faced by promising Black and Hispanic founders
Companies That COV Has Invested In
Other examples of companies that COV invests in include:
Trove, led by Chief Executive Officer Andy Ruben, is powering the recommerce experience for some of the world’s most forward-leaning brands, such as Patagonia, Lululemon, and REI. Trove handles the full end-to-end logistics behind the circular economy, including recapturing used goods, performing classification and light refurbishment, and reselling the items. By giving products a second life, Trove and its partners ensure high-quality merchandise doesn’t end up in a landfill, while sparing the precious water and materials that would go into replacement products. In 2021, Trove diverted over 200,000 pounds of clothes from landfills and saved 2 million pounds of Co2e by consumers buying used instead of new.
Additionally, the New York-based company Canary received support from Capital One to establish a service that empowers companies to run emergency assistance programs for their employees. A significant portion of Americans are vulnerable to financial hardship when something unexpected comes up. The global pandemic and natural disasters have made circumstances even more unpredictable. A trio of consumer financial health experts (Rachel Schneider, Aliza Gutman, Kimberly Gartner) created a way to enable employers to unlock the power of tax-advantaged emergency grants, while preserving employee anonymity and dignity and reducing bias. Canary has worked with a range of emergency relief fund sponsors, from small to large employers, raising over one million to be distributed to individuals in crisis. These funds have enabled employees to avoid missed rent payments, pay for needed healthcare, and be able to show up more consistently for work.
A new generation of startups has emerged, focused on generating long-term value through products that also genuinely benefit humanity. Our work here is at its infancy, but we believe Capital One can be a tremendous accelerant to enact change.
Creating a Lasting Impact
Launched in October 2020, the initial $200 million, multi-year Capital One Impact Initiative seeks to create a world where everyone has an equal opportunity to prosper through advocating for an inclusive society, building thriving communities and creating financial tools that enrich lives.