The Found8 monthly Meet The VCs event is a Found8 original initiative to drive early-stage investment knowledge to share with our members and the greater innovation community. For first panel Meet The VC in 2020, we are honoured to have Rayner Loi, Co-founder and CEO of Lumitics to Found8 High Street Center to share his knowledge on the future FoodTech and Food, along side Christian Cadeo, Managing Partner for Big Idea Ventures in Asia.
Having learnt about what some are calling the Global Food Waste Scandal, Rayner co-founded Lumitics (previously known as Good For Food), a startup that empowers hotels and large commercial kitchens with data analytics to reduce their food waste and environmental footprint. Fuelled by his conviction to have everyone in the world become an eco-warrior, he is eager to leverage on technology to bring about scaleable social and environmental impact.
In this Found8 Meet the VC, we gain valuable insights into the power of data analytics to reduce food wastage, tips on being hired in and building a startup team, as well as fundraising tips in this vertical from co-founder Rayner
The Focus on Food Waste
Co-founder Rayner Loi first realised the volume of food wastage in Singapore whilst volunteering in his younger years of working. To put in perspective, 1.6 billion tonnes of food is wasted globally every year. When he first started Good For Food, now Lumitics, a few years ago, there were only 2 companies in the world using data analytics to prevent food wastage and cost. Rayner say this gap in the market and took the opportunity to enter.
Upcoming trends to watch
Rayner explained that up until now, their product has been focused on providing historical data to hotels, kitchens and other food providers to allow them to make educated decisions on food prepared and orders. He continues by explaining that now, we're looking into how we can provide recommendations to food providers, and use data to predict events such as holidays and seasonal trends and it's effect on volume, meal choices, and required volume of food to be ordered at any given point in time.
Fundraising for a Food Tech company
Rayner explained that as a Food Tech company, you should be looking at people from within the a Food Tech industry, such as hospitality, and culinry backgrounds, to have investors that understand your space, especially for B2B companies.
Biggest Challenge in The Food Tech Industry
In his opinion, cosmetic filtering sends huge amounts of food to waste before it even hits the supermarkets - bananas that aren't just right, apples with blemishes. This is solved by human behaviour, but encouraged by entrepreneurs who can create solutions that open consumers mind to purchasing food that is less than perfect.
Biggest Opportunity in The Food Tech Industry
Rayner is looking at expanding the uses for his product such as on cruise ships, hospitals, schools and universities. Wherever there is food being serves there is a use for wastage optimisation. He has also seen a lot of movement in the Food Tech space in the last 12-18 months and as a result fundraising is very interested in this space.
Talent and People
What are Food Tech Companies Looking for In Talent
Rayner explains that for companies like his own, he's looking for people that are passionate about the problem, and to eventually build a team of food saving warriors. The people looking to work in this space must show initiative. Because startups are usually such a lean team, your day-to-day tasks will be more than your original job scope. Teams like this work together collectively to complete tasks, making sure that nothing is dropped. Lastly, they have to be willing to literally get their hands 'dirty'. In Rayner's case, at end of the day they are a food wastage company, and people working with them have to be willing to speak to customers in sometimes a space that requires you to be around garbage and waste
Advice for startup owners
Focus on self awareness, Rayner explains, as long he knows who he is, and what skills he needs to work on, or is missing all together, he knows where to hire and what he needs to make his company reach the next level. Being humble about your skills is essential for a good owner.
More about Found8 and Meet the VC
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