150 million meals saved: How to grow a food-sharing app

Tessa Clarke – Olio



GT Impact


If you are into marketplace, apps, behavior psychology, food waste prevention. This episode is for you.

What’s “the chicken and the egg dilemma” when it comes to marketplace?

People looking for an item want to join your marketplace only if you have a wide offering.
But sellers or people who want to share something only want to join your marketplace if you have a lot of people searching for something.
So how do you manage to attract both sides in your marketplace? With whom do you start? How? And how do you attract investors too?

It seems Tessa Clarke, co-founder & CEO of Olio, managed to crack this chicken-and-egg problem.

“Why isn’t there an app for that?” was the thought that sparked the creation of Olio when Tessa faced the hard decision of whether to throw away food or smuggle it.

Some market research and a lot of trials and errors later, now the 2015-founded company has:
– 7М users around the world
– 104k volunteers rescuing unsold food
– 57k ambassadors spreading the word
– 150M portions of food shared

Olio’s motto is “Share more, waste less” and so they do. Their mission is to solve the climate crisis by solving the problem of waste in our homes and local communities. It is a local sharing app for passing on things you don’t need to people who live nearby, from food and clothes to books and toys. It helps to turn your useless into someone else useful and helps fight waste.

In this episode, we went over How to drive consumer behavior change at scale? How to define a new business model? And how to fundraise as a female co-founded business?

In this episode you will learn:
– How they used WhatsApp to run a proof of concept?
– How to solve the cold start problem of a marketplace?
– Tessa’s 3 tips for setting up a marketplace
– How to drive consumer behavior change at scale?
– The EAST behavior change model
– How to find your early adopters?
– Why monetize your product at a later stage
– How to get comfortable with failure and experimenting
– Fundraising for female cofounded business


Don’t miss out on this insightful episode – listen here

Watch the full video interview on YouTube – watch here


We believe we're living in an age of selfish altruism. People want to do the right thing, but there's got to be something in it for them.

Don’t get tricked that you will build a product and everybody will discover your solution and start using it and you will see this sort of Instagram-style hockey stick growth chart. It’s not necessarily the case.

The entrepreneurial journey is a series of false summits. You think when I achieve X, it’ll get easy. The entire journey is challenging, stressful, and fun. You just get different challenges at different stages.


Tessa’s LinkedIn
Olio website

Book recommendation:
Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore
The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Dana Kanze’s TED talk: The real reason female entrepreneurs get less funding


Watch my video presentation “3 key strategies to grow a following of 7500+ changemakers on Linkedin” -> watch the presentation

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