Created by two good friends, Kasper and Sebastian, YourLocal started out as an SMS list in Copenhagen. The idea was to connect local shops and consumers in the fight against food waste. Every time a shop had food leftover, the SMS list was activated, and locals would receive a good offer on cheap surplus food. It quickly became a success and in 2015 YourLocal became the first app to help small businesses and supermarkets fight food waste in Denmark.
“YourLocal has in many ways been an explorative journey, being the first app in the field of fighting food waste.” Expressed Kasper and Sebastian when asked about the challenges they had to face in developing the concept.
“When we started off we really didn’t know if or how this could turn into a business - we just really wanted to fight food waste! And, we knew we were creating a lot of value for a lot of people. Essentially both businesses and customers can save money, while saving the environment a whole lot of unnecessary food waste. In that sense YourLocal is really a win-win situation.
This had to have enough value for us to also earn some money on the way. We just didn’t know who, if anyone, would eventually pay for it.
Through countless iterations and tests with partnering businesses we have found a business model, where we either take a small transaction fee, when food is traded directly through the app or businesses pay an advertisement fee for using the app to market their surplus food. This combination allows us to help businesses of any kind fight their food waste.
Finding our business model has as such been by far our biggest challenge to date.”
With the invaluable help from a fleet of more than 100 volunteers, 500+ businesses, and 100.000+ users nationwide, YourLocal wants to help businesses internationally in any kind of fight against food waste.
“For now our focus is on Denmark. But we will expand YourLocal internationally soon. At the same time we are working hard to create ever more value for both businesses and customers.”
YourLocal is a perfect example of cooperation at local level using a digital tool, which is why, when asked about the advice they could give to someone who wishes to start their own app, Kasper and Sebastian had two tips to share:
“Test everything and find your own running pace.
Test everything: One of our best decisions to date has been testing YourLocal as an SMS list first. It has cost us absolutely nothing and quickly validated the concept of trading surplus food. Later on we have tested almost all potential future features by showing both customers and businesses sketches before developing anything. That way we have saved a lot of time and money not making unnecessary features. So in short - test everything!
Find your own running pace: When we first started off we had a notion that we just needed to get our first version of YourLocal on the market, and then everything would be a piece of cake from there on out. It wasn’t. Making a startup is a lot like running a marathon. But a marathon without a goal line. There are milestones and KPI’s that you need to meet. But no actual goal line. The key is not to reach a goal, but as a company to find the right pace where you can keep running one marathon after another. So learn to leave your work at work and take time off when you need to. Otherwise people burn out. And good people are any startups’ most valuable asset.”