Jasmine Crowe is a social entrepreneur who founded Goodr, a food waste management company that connects restaurants with food surplus to non-profit organizations that can use the food. “I had friends and family members that were experiencing hunger, [and] that really made me think I had to move forward,” Crowe explains why she founded her company.
Establishing Goodr did not occur in a vacuum but it was based on data, in addition to her own experience with friends that were experiencing hunger. Through her own research, she noticed that 72 billion pounds of food go to waste in the U.S. At the same time, over 50 million people experience hunger, she learned.
Crowe started small, receiving donated spaghetti noodles and hamburger meat and lots of grocery coupons. In 2013, she started feeding the hungry with the donated food items every Sunday out of her own kitchen in her one-bedroom apartment in Atlanta, according to CNBC Make It.
By 2017, she had turned her passion into a business to help feed the hungry and that is how she birthed Goodr. In 2018, Goodr was valued at $7 million, according to PitchBook, and $12 million in 2021, Crowe told CNBC Make It.
The company has also successfully raised $2.7 million from investors. However, the journey to this point did not come easy. According to her, she and her team took over 200 meetings to raise the first million dollars.
“I probably took over 200 meetings to raise the first million dollars for Goodr. I was told: ‘This sounds like a non-profit,’ ‘Hunger is already being solved,’ ‘Your team isn’t experienced enough and too young,’” Crowe recalled. “The fundraising for me has not been something that I’ve enjoyed. It hasn’t been easy.”
The turning point for her was when she focused on pitching on numbers like the tax benefits companies could enjoy should they donate their surplus food and how much they could save eliminating the cost of removing their food waste.
According to her, she took this approach because, in her meetings with firms to raise money, she noticed they were all whites who had not experienced hunger before. “I realized I was speaking to cis white men that have never been hungry,” she said. “Of course, they don’t understand what I’m building. They never experienced this problem before.”
Aside from initially struggling with the funding, Crowe said she was motivated to carry on by all the people who felt what she was embarking on was not sustainable.
“I’m really motivated by all the naysayers,” she said. “As long as you’re going after something that you love, you shouldn’t give up on your dreams. That’s the biggest thing.”