Jasmine Crowe
Jasmine Crowe, founder of Goodr

What do get when you combine blockchain technology with a desire to reduce food waste and help people in your community? The answer is Goodr.

It all started with founder Jasmine Crowe's weekend volunteering project. Every two weeks over the course of about five years, Crowe would host a "pop-up restaurant" to feed homeless individuals in her Atlanta neighborhood.

One day, a video of her project that was shared on social media went viral, and people began asking which local restaurants had donated the food. To their surprise, Crowe revealed that she was a one-woman operation.

"I was going to countless grocery stores [and] farmers markets, getting all this food, then spending 15 to 20 hours over the weekend cooking it [and] ... cleaning up," she said in a CO— interview with C-Suite Network's Gregg Greenberg. "I started thinking ... 'Why aren't businesses donating food?' and I thought we could do better."

In January 2017, Crowe launched Goodr, a food waste management company powered by blockchain technology. The company collects surplus food waste from local organizations, then tracks its journey from pickup to donation via a secure ledger. The Goodr platform and mobile app provides "real-time social impact reporting analytics" to help businesses track and verify their tax-deductible donation, while addressing the important social issues of environmental waste and hunger.

Gaining capital, buy-in and a team

Although Crowe could have structured her business as a nonprofit organization, she ultimately decided she didn't want to go that route. This presented a challenge when it came time to raise capital — investors and consumers alike thought Goodr sounded "too non-profit-y," according to Crowe.

"I believed I had a really good business case for what ... we were building, and there was a really clear value proposition for customers," she said. "It was hard conveying that message ... to people ... but I built technology. I built a real business around it."

Ultimately, what helped Crowe create buy-in among her fellow community members — especially when it came time to hire employees — was simply talking about it to everyone she could. During the hiring process, Crowe spoke with prospective employees to ensure that they not only fit the Goodr culture, but also that they brought different perspectives and work styles to the table.

"I'm very much a visionary – I needed a lot of Type A personalities that were going to sit down and make those to-do lists and be very methodical in how they attack things," Crowe explained. "I was like, 'Hey, I want to be in India tomorrow!' and they were like, 'Hey, let's get out of Atlanta.' I looked for the balance."

Crowe had to adjust her mentality and learn how to delegate as her team grew. While she believes she's gotten better at it, she admits it was difficult in the early days.

"In the beginning, I was ... wearing everything on my shoulders, because if it didn't work, it was going to be on me," she said. "Now, I'm very good at delegating."

Telling the Goodr story

In the two years since founding Goodr, the team has worked hard to spread the word about their mission and activities, primarily through photos and storytelling on social media. However, Crowe has also spent a lot of time attending and speaking at local events, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Summit in Atlanta.

"It just was about getting on the stage and telling our story," Crowe said."

With this growing awareness and momentum, Goodr has begun to expand outside of its Atlanta headquarters, and Crowe's goal is to be in 20 cities by the end of 2020. The challenge, she said, will be successfully replicating what they've done in Atlanta and achieving the same level of buy-in from other communities across the nation.

"We have a lot of people ... messaging us from all over the country [saying] ... 'We would love to bring you to our city,'" Crowe said. "That's a good thing, so now ... we've got to get there and still have those people cheering and championing us in that city."

Watch the full video conducted on behalf of CO— by C-Suite Network's Gregg Greenberg, for more entrepreneurial tips from Jasmine Crowe.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Jasmine Crowe interviewed on behalf of CO- by C-Suite Network's Gregg Greenberg. 
Published February 25, 2019