Savour!: On a mission to empower merchants with a social and environmental cause
From her volunteering and part-time work experience, Katrina saw many gaps and problems in the F&B industry that she was passionate about solving. This led to the founding of Savour!, a B2B procurement and sponsorship platform in Singapore that aims to reduce food wastage while empowering nonprofits, SMEs, and social enterprises via digitalisation. The Refuel Team spoke to Savour!’s CEO and CMO, Katrina and Sharmayne, to hear more about the startup, its pivots and the team's entrepreneurship journey.
Early stages and pivots
During her time distributing food to low income households, Katrina saw that there was a mismatch between the supply and demand of the food that was donated to the families by companies. Companies usually tended to donate canned food and condiments like soya sauce, which is unhealthy and not consumed on a regular basis. This usually led to the households' kitchens being full of such food, but lacking in fresh produce.
Whilst working part-time at F&B establishments, the NUS Business student also noticed that all the surplus food would be thrown away at the end of the day. Employees would not be allowed to take any home, and she was told that it would be too much of a hassle to donate the food to charity.
Katrina started Savour! (then Foodiv), a B2C mobile application that gathered expiring, blemished and surplus food from F&B establishments in its initial stages. Her team consisted of other NUS students, and they participated in the OCBC Green Pitch 2019. There, she met a team of SUTD students, Afoodable, with the same mission and vision, as well as the technological expertise to develop the platform. In the spirit of collaboration, Afoodable and Foodiv banded together to form Savour!, emerging as joint winners of the OCBC Green Pitch 2019, leading to them receiving funding support from OCBC.
The Savour! team decided to pivot on the startup idea after getting feedback from their merchants and customers. They saw great potential in the B2B sector, and thus decided to focus on B2B customers, the likes of non-profit organisations, companies, school clubs, and food businesses. They also expanded their platform offerings beyond food, to other product categories like corporate gifts, supply materials and even event rental services. The team also keeps their customers and merchants at the core of their business, and tries to adapt and cater to their needs as much as possible.
After the pivot, the team managed to gain more traction, as customers were more interested in dealing at a B2B level. Savour! is also now seen as a platform for their merchants to get more sales while boosting publicity efforts via CSR, creating a win-win situation for both the startup and its merchants.
The woes of a student-run startup
The Savour! team
The Savour! team consists of six full-time university undergraduates. According to Katrina, many companies were hesitant to partner with the startup as they were unsure if the founders could commit to the idea as full-time students. Katrina and her team then had to convince merchants that they were a hundred per cent committed to their startup, and eventually managed to secure several merchants, which was essential to getting more merchants on board.
It is really in the initial stages where you have to prove yourself and slowly win people over with your sincerity and dedication to meeting their needs. I had to show them that I have a strong drive to execute the idea and make it happen.
Katrina believes that the hardest part about starting up is taking the first step. She encourages students like herself who want to make an impact to start by joining entrepreneurship events where they can meet other students and network. Hackathons and pitching competitions are also a good place to start for student entrepreneurs, says Katrina, as these events are probably where one would get their first funding and validation of their ideas.
What's next for Savour!?
The Savour! team is currently preparing for their official platform launch in August this year. The team is conducting a month of pilot testing in July, whilst onboarding as many merchants and customers as possible. The startup has already managed to onboard a wide range of merchants and B2B customers, from MNCs, SMEs, to social enterprises and non-profit organisations .
Check them out at http://www.savourapp.co to find out more about what they do and sign up in advance for a free B2B customer or merchant account!
Learning more about entrepreneurship, innovation or just curious about how startups make money? Find out more about Savour's business model here!
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