FoodShare wins RECESS tour campus qualifier, advances to national semifinals
FoodShare, a start-up company and app, will move on to the semifinals of the RECESS competition, having won the Washington University campus qualifier last Thursday.
RECESS, a nationwide entrepreneurial presentation tour, held its Wash. U. qualifying round in Bauer Hall on Thursday, pitting five student owned start-ups against each other in a style similar to the popular television show “Shark Tank.” The competition was organized collaboratively by Social Programming Board and the Olin Business Council (OBC) and funded primarily by the RECESS tour.
FoodShare, which allows users to donate a meal to those in need by taking a photo of their food at any of the company’s partnered restaurants.
The company will now advance to the semifinals of the competition, which will be held April 26 at the Pageant Theatre and be followed by a free musical performance by rapper Tory Lanez. Should FoodShare win in this round, it will advance to the RECESS national championship on June 9 in Los Angeles.
The Washington University competition was presided over by three judges: co-founder and CEO of BazaarBoy and alumnus Eric Hamblett, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop Maxine Clark and chief investment officer for the Washington University Investment Management Company Kim Walker.
While these judges asked the teams questions about their companies, however, the winner was decided by an audience vote at the competition, and many felt that FoodShare’s well-established infrastructure gave them an advantage over the other companies presenting.
“I think they have a very strong plan for implementation. They’ve had the most success implementing their ideas so far,” Student Union special projects coordinator and senior Jessie Bluedorn said. “I think they have a really specific plan for how they would use the money that they could potentially win in this contest and how it could take their company to the next level.”
Junior Andrew Glantz and senior Jacob Mohrmann, the company’s co-founders, made the pitch to the RECESS judging panel and have helped guide the company through a complete change in business model after its founding in July 2014.
“We launched in April 2015, and more or less immediately pivoted two months later to the current business model of eat-one-give-one,” Glantz said. “Since then it’s been a lot of experimentation and trying to adapt to user and restaurant needs and receiving funding. At this point, we’re really trying to figure out how we can scale.”
SPB president and junior Rahool Bhimani said he thought the event was a success, as both OBC and SPB receiving positive feedback about it.
“We received a lot of positive feedback from all who were involved, including the judges, participants and audience members,” he said. “I think the event was a great way to support Washington University students and can definitely see RECESS coming back to campus in the future.”
The winners were also impressed with their fellow competitors. Memento, a company which develops software to streamline dementia clinics, finished second at the event, followed by MediMeld, a company which gives patients technology which assists them in medical recovery after leaving the hospital.
“It was really exciting both to pitch and to hear everyone else’s ideas, which were great,” Glantz said. “So when they called us up for the top three and told us we won, it was really something we were grateful for, and we’re really excited to go to the next round.”
Olin Business Council president and junior Jimmy Soldati added that he is hopeful for the team’s chances.
“I’m hopeful our Wash. U. winner advances to the national final in Los Angeles to continue to show the nation the great talent that Wash. U. has to offer,” he said.