Olio grabs $6m to tackle food waste in local communities

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Olio, the hyperlocal food sharing app that wants to help tackle the world’s food waste epidemic, has picked up $6 million in Series A funding.

The U.K. startup offers a location-based app and website that lets you list and post a photo of unwanted food items to be shared with other people in the same neighbourhood. That is, food that you might otherwise throw away.

OLIO claims that its community has shared over 600,000 portions of food in just over two years using the app.

Now, this latest cash injection will be used to double the size of the team – with a particular focus on product.

It will also be used to expand their “Food Waste Heroes Programme”, where volunteers collect any unsold or uneaten food from local businesses such as a bakery, supermarket, deli, event or work canteens, that are left at the end of the day, and re-distribute it to the local community. The programme currently has 1,500 volunteers supporting approximately 200 locations including Pret a Manger, Planet Organic, Sainsburys and Morrisons.

OLIO was founded by Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One, who met during their MBAs at Stanford Business School and felt inspired by their first-hand experience of food waste. Clarke was a farmer’s daughter, while Saasha Celestial-One is the daughter of Iowa hippies and an avid freecycler. The actual idea came about when Clarke moved country and couldn’t find anybody to take her surplus food, but didn’t want to throw it away.

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