Many of the companies that supported our Indiegogo campaign are active participants in the sharing economy and we wanted to hear more about their companies and perspective on the sharing economy. We've asked each company to answer the same questions and we'll be rolling out the answers over the course of the series.
What is your name?
Michael Schaecher, Director of Marketing, Munchery.com
What does your company do?
Munchery is a marketplace for ordering home-delivered meals from local chefs, online or on your iPhone.
When were you founded and how big are you?
We were founded in September 2010. We currently have 10 full time employees, and over 50 professional chefs that have served over 80,000 meals. We currently offer our food delivery service to San Francisco, the East Bay, Marin County and The Peninsula from one location in the heart of San Francisco.
How do you define the sharing economy?
At its core, the sharing economy is about using technology to give people access to goods and services in a way that wouldn’t have been possible even just 5 years ago. And for the providers of these goods and services, it allows them to fully leverage their assets, which can be their property or their time, to create their own paths to economic stability and freedom.
How does your company contribute to the rise of the sharing economy?
We want to help the world eat better by giving everyone access to a new dinner option that is convenient, delicious, high-quality and good for you, all by giving them direct access to some of the top culinary talent in their area.We’re giving talented local chefs the opportunity to come out of the restaurant kitchen, and fully leverage their passion, skill and creativity by giving them a marketplace to sell their wares directly to the customer.
How do you build community?
It all starts by building something people want. If you can make people’s lives fundamentally better, while at the same time creating more value than you extract in the world, you’ll find yourself with a passionate community sprouting organically around you. Engaging and bringing all of these passionate people together both online and offline is the foundation of community. It’s just as true for a sharing economy startup as it is for a hyper-local nonprofit.
How does your company reduce consumption and stimulate economic growth?
We’re reducing consumption by bringing efficiency to every step of something so fundamental as your nightly dinner.It’s estimated that households waste 1 in 5 bags of groceries that they purchase because of poor meal planning. Our chefs are professionals who plan their own menus and manage their own ingredients. Because they average over 13 years professional experience, they waste far less food than not only a household, but even most restaurants. It’s estimated that the average American meal travels 1500 miles from farm to plate, and many times that trip begins in large scale industrial farms that are bad for the environment, bad for the animals and packed full of hormones and additives.
Our chefs are passionate about what goes into a dish and think that’s a shame. They source locally, organically and seasonally as much as possible. For example, our chef’s favorite chicken and turkey supplier is Mary’s Chicken & Turkey Farm which is an organic, free range and additive free family farm located just north of San Francisco. We’re also giving chefs the opportunity to serve a large metro area from one location, as opposed to building new restaurants that serve a single hyper-local neighborhood. This eliminates the need for constant new construction of locations to expand, while at the same time allows people to have access to this world class culinary talent without everyone having to individually drive long distances to get it.
Can you share a recent milestone your company has achieved?
We’re in the process of closing a previously announced Series A fundraising round of $4 million. We announced that in early November, and at the time we had served over 60,000 meals to the entire Bay Area since 2010. In the two and a half months since then, that number is now well over 80,000 meals served and every day in January has been a record breaker for us.
What’s your biggest challenge?
We’re currently getting ready to do our first expansions in Seattle and L.A., which will be a big learning process as we go. But with each market we go into, we’ll continue to get better, faster and more efficient, very similar to companies like Uber and others that have tackled this same issue.
What is your favorite thing to share?
Well I was an early Airbnb employee and not much beats the local travel experience that they’re enabling. Unfortunately, I don’t have frequent opportunities to take advantage of that like I do with Munchery. Personally, I love discovering and sharing new music and articles with people. I’m pretty good at filtering signal from the noise. Music is the soundtrack to life and knowledge is power, the more access to high quality versions of both, the better in my opinion.