Next time you’re looking for grass-fed beef, organic kale or fresh-baked bread, you don’t need to head to the farmer’s market or Whole Foods, you can just go online — as long as you’re in the Bay Area, at least.
On Thursday, San Francisco-based GoodEggs is piloting the launch of its online marketplace that gives farmers and independent foodmakers a way to sell directly to the people in their local communities.
“When we started, it was really a mission-based premise…to grow and sustain local food systems worldwide,” said Rob Spiro, CEO and cofounder. “We were guys from the tech industry, we didn’t know what we were going to build, but we had this design process to figure out what kind of product would best achieve that mission. A year later, we’ve come up with this food hub concept. On a neighborhood by neighborhood basis, we’re creating these hubs.”
Spiro co-founded question and answer site Aardvark and then worked on Google+ after Google (s GOOG) acquired his company and his co-founder and CTO Alon Salant co-founded software development company Carbon Five. The other dozen or so people on the team have similarly strong backgrounds in tech and design. But for months, they worked with farmers, ranchers, bakers and other independent foodmakers and spent time with shoppers to figure out the best way to use technology to support local food communities.
For now, the marketplace is only available to five Bay Area neighborhoods and includes 40 sellers, but the company is planning a bigger San Francisco launch for later this year and then plans to scale nationwide. In recent years, the local food, or locavore, movement has gained momentum as more consumers gravitate to farmer’s markets, community-supported agriculture programs and other local food options, and even restaurants, schools and other institutions boost locally-sourced options. GoodEggs is well-timed to support and capitalize on that growing interest.
Through the design-centric (and yummy-looking) platform, foodmakers who would normally sell to grocery stores can share their available products, from baked goods and organic veggies to peroshkis and made-to-order baby food, and customers can place their orders. All items are available for pick-up or delivery (nothing is shipped). GoodEggs, which takes a cut of each order as a transaction fee, said the prices are about the same as what consumers would pay offline.
Along with the marketplace, GoodEggs is launching a content component to the site called Eater’s Digest, which includes stories and blog posts about seasonal foods, the people behind the food and recipe ideas. Alice Waters, chef, author and founder of Berkeley, Calif. restaurant Chez Panisse, is a guest contributor, along with other top foodies and food writers.
About a year ago, GoodEggs raised an undisclosed amount of funding in a seed round that included Harrison Metal Capital, Baseline Ventures and the Collaborative Fund.