Innovation That Matters

App matches homeless shelters with companies who have leftover food

Nonprofit & Social Cause

Bay Area based Copia sends a driver to pick up catering food waste and deliver it to people who need it.

Providing leftover food to those who need it is often a problem of logistics rather than willing. Several innovations have come up with solutions that bring the circular economy to food distribution. Springwise covered this UK based community startup that connects households with leftovers, and those who might find it difficult to cook for themselves. And this NYC based app, connecting companies keen to share food otherwise due to go to waste, with volunteers who are able to help transport it to source need. Offering a variation on this solution is Copia.

Copia, named after the Roman goddess of abundance, is an app that matches companies who have food that will otherwise be wasted, with homeless shelters. The startup works by sending a driver to pick up and deliver the food within two hours of it being logged. The company arranges for the food to be taken using the Copia app. They pay a fee of $20 and in return get both a report of who received the food, and a tax write-off. Copia is currently operating in the Bay Area but plans to expand across the US this year, with the aim of growing internationally in 2017. To date, the service has fed over 720,000 hungry Americans.

Food as an unequally distributed resource is a particularly prominent problem in the Bay Area. A significant number of big businesses are aiming to build a strong company culture and promote innovation by offering free meals to their staff. This acute conflict was what inspired the company’s founder, Komal Ahmad, to set up Copia. Could this idea be used to distribute other resources more fairly?


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