Digifest Startup: Flashfood

Josh Domingues, is the CEO and Founder of Flashfood, a company tackling food waste in Canada.

Flashfood won Digifest's ITS A START pitch competition in 2017. Applications for this year's competition are now open!

Josh, you are taking on a HUGE problem in Canada: food waste. Can you tell us a bit about its environmental and economic impact and also why you decided to take action?
It’s definitely a huge problem, there’s actually $31billion worth food thrown out each year in Canada. The stat that eventually created Flashfood was this: ‘If International food waste were a country, it would be the third leading cause to GHG emissions behind the US & China’. - National Geographic (March 2016).
How did Flashfood begin? Who were your early partners in building a product and a devoted community of conscious shoppers?
It all started when, my chef sister called me distraught about throwing out $4000 worth of food after a large catering event she worked at. A decision that was made by her boss. She was so upset because she was walking by homeless people on the walk back to her place and it was frustrating to her why this problem happens. That really opened by eyes to the issue. It seemed too hard to dismiss as a common everyday occurrence, yet, that was the norm in the food industry. Our earliest partner who really took a chance on us was Farm Boy in London, Ontario. The Bunz Facebook group and other social and environmental influencers were our early supporters and helped us spread the word and give valuable feedback when we first launched in Toronto.
Josh, you have won a ton of awards (including ours) for your big ideas, and your ability to articulate a vision that marries business and social good. What advice do you have to budding entrepreneurs that would like to start a social impact business, but are worried that they will struggle to make profit or raise capital?
The struggle is real and comes with the territory, so that’s something that any budding entrepreneur has to come to accept as a part of the game. What may make it easier is 3 fold: a capable leadership team, your ability to network (meet as many people as you can) and then build a strong advisory board that can act as a sounding board. Lastly, your own ability to trust your instincts and be confident in making the final decisions on your own. People will tell you how to run your business and give you lots of opinions - at the end of the day - you have to remember your “why” and trust your gut.