The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team.
Shraddha Rathod is up.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Shraddha, and I founded a food-tech company called Freshspire. I have an engineering background, and early on, I was inspired by the concept of social entrepreneurship and tech for good. Out of interest, I started researching food systems and realized that I could use my skills to make a difference in the space. What we do at Freshspire? We create user-centered software to help wholesale food buyers plan and buy products from local vendors. It’s super manual today (text, email, phone calls, and spreadsheets) for various reasons, so we mimic that and put in online so that record keeping and data tracking can be more efficient.
What did it take / how did you get started?
We started out testing the waters with business plan and pitch competitions. This gave us a taste of what we should be thinking about when starting a business. We talked to potential customers, and we still do, to get a better grasp of the problems in the food space and potential ways we could solve it. The product’s been through a couple of iterations - it’s all about taking feedback seriously and responding!
What does the future look like for you and your hustle?
I predict that it will be mandatory for all food buyers and sellers to move their sourcing process online due to food traceability laws that will probably come out within the next five years. I see Freshspire being a player in that movement, to make this transition much easier for small to mid-sized vendors.
As we grow our user-base, the market-data we collect becomes more and more powerful. Data like prices, products, and supply/demand in hyper-local markets does not exist today, and we see ourselves being a leader in that area.
Integrations with existing food tech is important for us to have a better hold on the market, so that’s a focus for us as well.
What drives / motivates you?
Talking to our users and seeing the impact that we’re making
Dollar value and amount of food moved, and the big picture of data
Seeing my team thriving and learning
Knowing that we’re doing something challenging, but super important
What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do?
Persistence and getting yourself out there is key. If something doesn’t go your way, the mindset of “tomorrow is a new day” really helps. Sometimes you have to deliberately ensure that you’re thinking that way to continue putting your best self forward.
Your number one champion should be your users - so build for them.
Believe in yourself and have a reliable team. Sometimes it’s the people around you who’ll keep you pushing forward.
Don’t rush into bringing people on your team- think about it, usually your instincts are correct.
Have some semblance of balance in your life to stay sane (social, family, hobbies).
What has been the hardest part of the hustle?
Sometimes, keeping your eye on the big picture it difficult. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds of rejections, specific requests, etc.
What are a few resources that you'd recommend?
Podcast: Y-combinator start-up school radio (my favorites are Episode 49 Mixpanel Founder Suhail Doshi, Episode 46: Detour/Groupon Founder Andrew Mason)
It’s important to look at your job from all angles: I’ve taken inspiration but also learned a lot about how I do and don’t want to grow my company with these:
Book -> just super inspirational: Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
Podcast -> The Dropout
Side or full-time hustle? Full-time.
List the founders Shraddha Rathod, Matt Simpson, Zika Mukungu
How many hours a week do you work on this hustle? 60- 80 hours
When did you start? Seriously - in 2018
How much did it cost to launch? My team and I spent a lot of time getting into launch. Thankfully I have tech in-house.
What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised? Business Plan competitions & grants -> $65,000
Social: Website: http://www.getfreshspired.com/about-us @freshspire - Facebook, instagram, and twitter