From dumpster-diver to becoming a social entrepreneur!
[ Deutsche Version ]
The last few months have been exciting and filled with change. We moved back to Berlin due to family reasons, as well as to have the opportunity to live in the same city as my dear Co-Founders Martin and Alex of our new Impact Startup SirPlus. We are so happy to be back and enjoy the proximity to my parents and old friends. For SirPlus, Berlin is perfect. The city has the most vibrant startup ecosystem in Germany (and perhaps in Europe), full of opportunities, entrepreneurs & innovators, interesting events, the media, startups and the right people to take our venture to the next level.
Meeting Alex, my Dear Co-Founder of SirPlus
I am very thankful to have met Alexander Piutti about 1,5 years ago. He is a serial entrepreneur and company builder who at the time was searching for a subject where he could share his skills and expertise of two decades in the tech and startup world to create a positive impact. When we first met, my vision was still very limited; I was feeling that the complete voluntary approach to scale foodsharing & foodsaving was the best way to tackle food waste and create change in the world. When we met again this summer, Alex was still looking for a challenge and after some meetings, Martin Schott, my old friend and Co-Founder of SirPlus and I decided to invite Alex to become our 3rd Co-Founder for our social startup SirPlus. It was a perfect match, he has a completely different background than us, and teaming up meant connecting the dots and complementing our skills. It was a crucial step to success and for prioritisation of SirPlus. His insights and experience in the tech and startup world, accompanied by his seemingly never ending network filled with passionate and knowledgeable people with entrepreneurial spirit, continuously helps us to focus on our vision to create the biggest impact with our venture as possible.
Alex helped to narrow down our original vision of yunity, which was nothing less than a single platform to share and save everything, worldwide. Stepping away from yunity to take on SirPlus, we had at first still a very similar vision, just with a different approach. Alex has supported us with the right questions to find our focus and the one topic that fits into the tip of our prioritization pyramid: food waste.
Presentation of our Impact Startup at the “Bits & Pretzels” Conference
Thanks to Alex, in September I had the honor to speak only hours after the brilliant opening keynote by Kevin Spacey on the impressive main stage of the Bits & Pretzels conference, the biggest Founders Festival in Germany. After 300 presentations, keynotes and lectures I’ve held in the last 5 years without PowerPoint slides, I still have to get used to the projector but I am practicing and progressing 😉 .
During the Bits & Pretzels conference we did a lot of networking that opened the door to another world of entrepreneurs, investors and founders who all want to change the world in ome way or another. The first person I met was Matthias Helfrich, a friendly and open minded investor and consultant who got attracted to SirPlus by our vision. Back in Berlin we met Matthias again. Besides supporting us with valuable contacts and advice, he became SirPlus first financial “initial supporter”. It was a very beautiful feeling, after living 5 years without money where thousands of people helped us with money indirectly, to receive money for our project, unconditionally, from someone who we barely knew at the time. We still need more money to start our food outlet store and therefore are looking for more generous supporters. Until June 2nd 2017 you can support us with smaller or bigger amounts via crowdfunding on www.startnext.com/sirplus .
In the last 4 month we’ve been talking, presenting and partnering up with dozens of people, companies and startups in Berlin and have gained massive confidence that we are on the right track and that it’s time to take the battle against food waste to the next level. We had the chance to talk to non-profit organisations, entrepreneurs, CEOs, Impact Investors, business men and women, scientists, logistics experts, retail managers and many other ventures who are tackling food waste. From every meeting and event we learned a lot and gained more trust that our social enterprise, in partnership with all actors in the supply chain, will make this world a better place.
We realized that to be a strict non profit tech startup against food waste would limit our venture and jeopardize the achievement of our goals. We worked to think beyond and break out of our past experiences and influences, and although we wanted to think big and to the future, we have to start small and start with a non technical food outlet store for big volumes of food which otherwise would be thrown away.
It reminded me how I started the foodsaving movement (today foodsharing), with just one cooperating food business and me as the only Foodsaver with no software solution at all. Today 23.000 Foodsavers are saving about 1.000 times per day at more than 3.000 cooperating businesses and have saved 6.7 Mio. Kilograms of food. Now we want to build on this success story with a professional approach to save larger volumes of surplus food with SirPlus. While doing so, our aim is to increase awareness of food waste as a global topic – to eventually reduce food waste altogether.
Creating “Sir Plus” – the first food outlet store in Berlin
The idea of a food outlet store and storage facility designed for food that doesn’t have the right size, color, shape, or whatever other characteristics are required to be accepted by retailers or customers, came to me after living without money for 4 years during one of the most difficult moments in my life. My family had to leave the home we were living in because the kind family who were hosting us moved away. I had to rethink my value system, my priorities in life and question the unfair situation of instability I had created for my marvelous wife Nieves, and our two kids Alma and Noam, because of my stubbornness concerning money. Back then my mind was still trapped in the moneyless dogma and I was not strong enough to free myself from my own shackles.
Today, I am thankful that I freed my mind and opened up to think and act as if there are no limits. Thanks to all the lovely people who helped me on this path and especially to my inspiring wife Nieves, who I love so much! Nieves has always supported me and helped me to think out of the box. Without her, I would probably still be locked in my own cage. I have been working voluntarily against food waste for more than 15.000 hours since January 2010; and I am looking forward to soon be able to provide a living for my family and others while continuing the fight against food waste, making it so all humans have enough to eat and our precious planet can thrive along with all its inhabitants.
Foodsaving Revolution 2.0
Now I am ready and prepared to make the foodsaving ‘revolution’ 2.0 with SirPlus a reality. My team and I are very much looking forward to connecting with passionate people who want to help, support and join us on this big adventure to tackle food waste with a practical, sustainable and scalable concept. We are going to take the fight against food waste and world hunger to the next level, together.
SirPlus is about to take off in Berlin and we are looking for skilled and motivated people who want to become part of the team, as an intern, volunteer, financial supporter, connector, business administrator, lawyer, social media expert, truck driver, warehouseman, adviser, retail salesperson, accountant, ecommerce expert, fundraiser, designer, coder, food logistician and so much more. Despite the fact that SirPlus won’t be able to pay salaries from the start, we will open our food outlet store and start our crowdfunding in April 2017 and as soon as we are able to pay salaries we will do so. We believe in fair salaries and maximum impact with our venture. Just write us an email with your motivation, skills and the area you would like to contribute to.
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Thank you for sharing this with everybody who might be interested! We appreciate your support and will keep you in the loop!
Sincerely yours Raphael