One of the main impediments to veggie box schemes is administration of ordering, delivery and payment.
New Zealand-based entrepreneur Will Lau saw just how much of a handicap it was when helping out friends with their scheme. “There were no solutions out there so I decided to build a software package that would cut out two days of needless administration every week”, he says.
The result is Bucky Box, a web-based app that automates subscription, delivery and billing of food boxes. The seed funded start-up charges users a one-off price of $3.75 (£2.41) per customer, putting the software within reach of even the smallest budget.
“As a small concern it is hard to get the capital to spend on software”, says Nick Bourne, founder of Bristol Veg Boxes in Southwest England. “Bucky Box is cheap to start off with, which means you can do it straight away and it puts you on a level playing field with the bigger companies.”
Bucky Box is not alone in this market. Others, such as Good Eggs and Farmingo in the US, are working on the same problem, yet their solutions are different, says Lau. “While ours is very much a software infrastructure play, theirs is looking at solving the final-mile problem of delivery logistics.”
Bucky Box was made available to the public at the end of last year, yet remains in so-called ‘beta mode’, which means it is up and running but still being tweaked.
“Any help in terms of enabling local food systems to become efficient, more productive and professional has to be welcomed. There is definitely a need for this type of technology”, says Michael Heasman, Senior Lecturer in Food Policy and Management at Harper Adams University.
Bucky Box plans to reinvest a minimum of two-thirds of its profits in sustainable food projects. “Being a social enterprise, we are very careful about values alignment when it comes to whom we allow to put money into the venture”, says Lau. – Rohan Boyle
Photo credit: Flickr WordRidden