founder

Localvore Founder Dan White on the Value of Local Food

Introduction

In a market mostly dominated by big-name chains, local restaurants often struggle to attract customers. They have less funds to work with, and less money means fewer marketing opportunities. Local restaurants could benefit from a chance to show off their businesses on a more even playing field.

Localvore offers a platform that puts local businesses – like restaurants and food producers – in the spotlight. The company has also partnered with several charitable organizations in order to tackle hunger, getting free meals to those who truly need them. We reached out to co-founder and CEO Daniel “Dan” White to learn about some of the challenges he faced and the positive impact of Localvore.

Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

What inspired you to take the leap and start Localvore?

Dan White

I’ve always wanted to start my own business, and I wanted to take the risk while I was still young, but I needed to have a few big experiences that gave me the right combination and vision. After working in green businesses for a better environment and then being a part of the Groupon boom, I had the two opportunities colliding into a bigger idea. 

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

Who is on your team and how did you come together?

Dan White

I needed a technical co-founder when I moved to Vermont to start the company here. I met Michael after he responded to my craigslist ad. He shared the same passion and had the experience and skills to help me get it off the ground. Gage was a college friend, and then we both ended up working at Groupon. He surprised me a few years after Localvore was born and wanted to invest and become an internal team member.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

How is Localvore having an impact on communities?

Dan White

Since 2012, our platforms have generated millions of dollars in consumer sales for small local businesses in New England. Through these campaigns, we have featured thousands of local businesses and nonprofits that are both helping communities feed those in need and helping restaurants and local food producers grow. In the past few years (since we became the platform for a food insecurity and restaurant recovery pandemic program the state of Vermont created), we’ve facilitated close to 1 million free takeout orders for more than 20,000 Vermonters experiencing food insecurity and paid more than 100 restaurants $10 million to make those meals.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

What is your strategy to get customers to sign up on your platform?

Dan White

Our strategy is to attach our consumer subscription service to local hunger relief organizations so people can get rewarded for helping solve this growing problem of hunger in America while also giving restaurants and local businesses a boost in the process.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

What does the competitive landscape look like, and how do you differentiate?

Dan White

We are trying to move society into a future where social media and third-party technology companies that create massive scale don’t look like they used to, as brands that aren’t meaningful enough to the conscious consumer. This is why our name is something you can self-identify with and why it has a business model you can get behind. There are no manipulative social media algorithms, no businesses getting charged outrageous fees – just consumers who earn something with their subscription for taking part in feeding hungry minds and growing healthy communities.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

What are the main challenges that you overcame since you started Localvore?

Dan White

I started the company with $10,000 I had saved up after college, living mostly at home with my parents. When I moved to Vermont, I was starting the company in a community I really knew little about and where I knew few people besides a group of friends I had met. I lived with my friend’s mom the first nine months before I got my feet on the ground. There were many challenges along the way, and once we got off the ground and grew for five years, the next part happened. That was the biggest challenge. 

Honestly, this article sums it up perfectly. We almost went through this exact same experience. We just haven’t become worth $700 million…yet.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

How do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?

Dan White

We want to launch into new markets, like Minnesota and hopefully Boston, and then regionally in the Midwest and New England. We also want to develop the technology and build more social tools the community can use to support each other while creating scale for our freemium services nationwide.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? Have you set any future goals for the company?

Dan White

I feel like “local” is something the public should own. That’s why we are doing this Reg CF raise, so more people can participate and be a part of the vision. Then, for an exit for us and our investors, I see an initial public offering as a great opportunity to further expand the community, mission, and business.

We look forward to seeing where Dan and his team take the company. Localvore is currently raising on StartEngine.

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About: Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

Léa is passionate about impact investing and sustainability. Prior to KingsCrowd, she worked for Stanford’s accelerator, StartX, helping to select the most promising entrepreneurs. She also led the first award-winning study on the Malawian startup ecosystem. In her free-time, she volunteers to help entrepreneurs in Cameroon, Brazil and Colombia. Léa holds a degree in Anthropology from France and is currently enrolled in the UC Davis MBA program.

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