Scaler Interview: Last Minute Sotto Casa
Field of work: Environment and Sustainability
We had the pleasure of interviewing the Founder of Last Minute Sotto Casa Francesco Ardito
What is Last Minute Sotto Casa?
LMSC is an innovative digital mouthpiece fighting food waste. It offers a new live-marketing formula that allows shops with a surplus of food products to instantly and easily inform people nearby. A real Win-Win-Win idea! By the way, Sotto Casa means “a few steps away from home”.
What is the story behind its creation?
This idea came up to my mind at the beginning of 2014, as I was seeing almost daily those unsold slices of pizza at bakeries in my neighbourhood, just before the closing time. They were often thrown away at the end of the day because it was impossible to sell the next day. I was critical about food waste and decided to do something in this field in order to help these neighbourhood-shops to save the leftovers from the waste bin.
How and why do shop owners and customers get in touch via Last Minute Sotto Casa?
How? As simple as this: through a website and an app for tablet and smart phones. Both shops and customers register on the website and complete a basic profile. From that moment on, shops are allowed to upload new offers (food-alerts) and customers receive an alert message in their mailbox or a notification when a discounted item is offered in one of the registered shops in their neighbourhood. Customers, when registering, can select the type of offers that they want to receive (bakeries, fish shops, butcheries, deli shops, grocery stores, restaurants, bar, fast-food, wine shops, etc.) and the desired distance for each type (one can be attracted by some expensive food offers by more than just walking distance).
Why? Because this is a win-win-win idea! The retailer wins (new and unexpected income at the end of the day, new clients stepping in), the client wins (fresh food at 50, 60, 70% discount) and most of all, the planet wins (avoiding to throw away tons of fresh food)! The main result for shop owners is that when users, lured by an interesting cheap offer, step into the shop, they often buy something else in addition. This is a great marketing result for small shops that would never be able to promote themselves in such a way!
What are the social and environmental impacts of Last Minute Sotto Casa?
Every single month, just in Torino, we are saving more than 1 ton of food from waste bin! All over Italy we’ve been saving some 20 tons of food and millions of litres of water from waste! An additional great social impact is the following: LMSC helps users to put their shoes on, step down and share some words with the baker, the butcher or whatever shop has sent the food alert. A Great social aspect not to be underestimated!
How is your project financed?
FFF – Family, Fools & Friends. We did start with some people, basically friends, who liked the idea from scratch and decided to invest some money in it. We’ve then received a financial support from Torino Social Innovation, one of the local administration / institutions who rated LMSC as a possible scalable and interesting project. We are currently meeting potential investors and industrial partners in order to export LMSC out of Italian boundaries at the beginning of 2016. Furthermore we’ve been awarded as a winning idea at several Italian and international competitions and we are at the final stage of some additional competitions that could help us to get more visibility and … more money! The upcoming competitions will award 100K to the first three ideas (European Social Innovation Competition) and 50K (EdisonPulse Award).
What do you want to achieve by being part of the Scaling Program?
Started in one Turin’s districts some 18 months ago, LMSC has now spread all across Italy and – thanks to a couple of partnerships signed with minimarket chains counting some 2,000 shops across the country – we will definitely be able to grow more rapidly in 2016. Today we’re counting 35,000 registered users who are saving money when buying fresh food, on a daily basis. Again, thanks to these two partnerships signed at the end of October and to additional partnerships recently signed, we will be able to dramatically accelerate our national growth. We believe that thanks to the Impact Hub Scaling Program and its international team this objective will be successfully achieved!
A random fact about Last Minute Sotto Casa that everybody should know:
The owner of a bakery in town told us that each time he sends out a food alert, the first customer to step into the shop and buy at 50% price is an old lady, more than 80 years old, still lively and spry, but definitely not a teenager! He asked her: “How can you always be the first one to get my deals? Are you connected to the Internet? Have you got a smartphone?” The lady answered: “I don’t have any, I don’t know what Internet is but I asked my daughter to register on LMSC, pretending that she lives where I live, and each time you send an offer, she gets it on her smartphone and then calls me to inform me… ‘Hey, rush down, a new food alert just arrived’!!” Nice story, isn’t it??