South Bend Firm Focuses on Reducing Food Waste
An early-stage business in South Bend that focuses on food waste is preparing to launch a pilot program this spring with some of the largest fast-food companies in the world. FloWaste Inc. is a food analytics company that helps foodservice providers optimize portion size, meal preparation, and reduce food waste.
“We put little cameras into the kitchens of quick service, fast food, and cafeterias,” said FloWaste Chief Executive Officer Rian Mc Donnell during the Ag+Bio+Science podcast presented by AgriNovus Indiana.
“We basically learn exactly what’s going on with trash using machine learning and computer vision. And then we give key insights to reduce that waste and reduce the costs.”
Mc Donnell says he hopes to get pilot programs in place this spring at McDonald’s and Wendy’s, and in cafeterias at Facebook and the U.S. Air Force.
Mc Donnell earned a master’s degree from the University of Notre in May 2020. He has also been a member of the gBETA Agbioscience cohort through startup accelerator gener8tor.
Using connections through both institutions has helped FloWaste obtain mentoring and money to advance the company.
“For someone like us, we don’t come from any generation of wealth or anything. But it’s been about getting the connections in the business and the financing,” Mc Donnell explained to Inside INdiana Business and podcast host Gerry Dick. “Having Notre Dame on board and having gener8tor on board have been huge for building our network. They just have so many influential people that that are willing to have a chat.”
Last week, FloWaste completed a $270,000 pre-seed round of financing. The round included investments from San Francisco-based Plug and Play Ventures, Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures, Culvex Investments in Bloomington, among others.
The full podcast will be available Monday morning. You can find more information on how you can listen by clicking here.