Our solution's stage of development:Growth
COPIA uses technology to allow businesses/event organizers to request pickups of excess food and have it instantly delivered to communities in need. It's a simple and effective way to feed the hungry, save money by lowering disposal and overproduction costs, and reduce methane by keeping food out of landfills.
Everyday businesses across the US waste over 180 million pounds of food sending over $300M dollars straight into the trash. Such rampant waste has been an afterthought for DECADES. But now, cities around the world -- including San Francisco -- are passing laws that impose massive fines on businesses that throw. away. food.
Fortunately, in addition to these large sticks there are also some pretty sweet carrots. Recent changes in the tax code provide HUGE financial incentives for business to donate -- rather than discard -- excess food. By PROPERLY donating food, businesses can avoid hefty fines and receive billions in tax credits. Yet hardly anyone takes advantage of it, because donating food is really. freaking. hard! You’ve been there, you don’t want to waste food, but you don’t know where to take it, who to call, or if it’s even legal to donate your food in the first place.
And this is where Copia comes in.
We make donating food easy AND profitable for any business. Just visit our site or download our app, and request a pickup of your food. We’ll then transport it to one of the hundreds of shelters in our network. We provide all the legal protection and documentation needed to ensure you get the maximum tax credit with zero liability.
Isn’t that a story you want to be part of?
40% of all food produced goes to waste while 1 in 6 Americans and nearly 1 billion people worldwide are food insecure. COPIA was founded to find balance in this unfathomable imbalance.
Why our solution will solve the problem:
Hunger in the US occurs not due to a lack of food, rather due to an inequitable and inefficient distribution of it. We have created a process that is systematic, formal, and replicable in order to solve both hunger and food waste at scale. We provide businesses with data and analytics to reduce purchasing over time; we help companies capture the monetary value of surplus through automated tax deduction processing; and we connect millions of people in need with high-quality food that without our real-time matching software has previously been sent to landfill or at best, compost.
Our target outcomes:
We have created a path for businesses to drastically improve their operating margins, benefit their communities, and reduce massive food waste. In monetizing the actual value of excess food for partnering businesses, we have recovered over 650,000 pounds of high-quality food and diverted over $6 million worth of food from the landfill. We are on our way to achieving our goal of feeding 1 million people with high-quality food that would have otherwise been wasted.
How we will measure our progress:
The populations we will benefit initially:
The regions we will benefit initially:
The technologies we employ:
Why our solution is unique:
Our competitors include a handful of for-profit matching software platforms like Zero Percent and Spoiler Alert. Our service involves unique integration between software and professionally-trained drivers, connects businesses with excess food to nonprofits and communities in need, opening the door for significant tax incentives, and provides businesses with data analytics to help them reduce overproducing and disposal costs.
Why our solution is human-centered:
Hunger doesn’t have a face, a religion, a nationality, a political party or a color. It surpasses all geographical bounds. And let’s not be fooled. Hunger is not negotiable. It will not resolve itself. It will not go away if we do nothing. It can happen to anyone, and we believe it should happen to no one, and we're committed to making sure it can't happen when perfectly edible food is available for distribution.
How people will access our solution:
The cost of using Copia falls completely on the businesses/events requesting pickups and receiving our services (impact reports, access to unlock enhanced tax deductions, etc). Recipients (community-based nonprofits) do not pay for the food we deliver to them and cannot charge for the donated food. It's a win-win!
Technology-Readiness Level:6-8 (Demonstration)
How we will sustain our team financially:
Our business model is a combination of pickup and delivery fees and 30% of the total tax savings we enable businesses to receive. To date, Copia has delivered over 650,000 pounds of high-quality food from businesses like Intel, Cisco, 49ers, Stanford Hospital, Sodexo, UC Berkeley, along with events like the Super Bowl and the Oscars.
The factors limiting our success:
The greatest challenge is operating in a what is today a nonprofit market. Businesses are accustomed to receiving recovery service (via food drives or other volunteer-based methods) for free and are sometimes skeptical about paying a company like ours to receive and deliver their donation. To address this, essentially, we need to educate customers on the value left on the table with overproduction and unrealized tax benefits in addition to helping enhance the culture of corporate social responsibility. We provide our clients with data analytics and impact reporting, which will more than justify the expense for COPIA.
How long we have been working on our solution:4 years
How long it will take to develop a pilot:We have already developed a pilot.
How long it will take to scale beyond our pilot:We have already scaled beyond pilot.
Our expected annual budget:
How much of our budget we've secured to date:
We're looking for partners in these fields:
Why we're applying to Solve:
We would love the opportunity to meet with like-minded leaders in sustainability and receive mentorship on everything from business model, scaling, and leadership. We're ready to expand Copia across the country and would take advantage of the expertise Solve offers in building it out to be the leading food recovery software nationwide.
Our current partners:
Structure Capital, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Y Combinator, Tusk Ventures, Mitch Kapor, Frieda Pinto, and more
- Komal Ahmad CEO, Copia