Foundr Magazine Podcast with Nathan Chan

Ben Simon showed up at his college classmate Ben Chesler’s door with a giant, ugly sweet potato, plopped it down in front of him, and declared, “This is the future.” Chesler believed him.

Simon had visited multiple farms in California, and discovered that 20% of the state’s produce was being thrown out, which amounted to around 3 billion pounds of unnecessary waste. Together, with their friend Ron Clark, the trio launched a service in 2015 that would save ugly, unwanted fruits and vegetables and deliver them to consumers at low prices. They called it Imperfect Foods.

Thanks to an admirable mission and relatively untouched market, Imperfect Foods took off. Four years after the launch, the company now boasts six fulfillment centers in over 20 cities and more than 1,000 employees. The team is also expanding their offerings in order to fight food waste across the entire system, now offering dairy, dry goods, and canned foods to their customers as well.

Learn more about food waste, the power of customer interactions, and the importance of giving employees a stake in a company in this interview with Chesler.


Key Takeaways

  • How Chesler and Simon got their start tackling food waste in the nonprofit world
  • The giant, ugly sweet potato that became the catalyst for Imperfect Foods
  • The hilarious story of how Reddit brought in more customers for Imperfect Foods than The New York Times
  • Why the original founding team’s first hires were a bunch of teenagers
  • A look into Imperfect Foods’ massive growth over just four years
  • Why product-market fit wasn’t on the team’s mind until six months after the company’s launch
  • The brilliant marketing strategy that helped Imperfect Foods take off
  • The power of customer interactions
  • Why Chesler and the founding team make sure every single employee works in the warehouse at least once—and has access to stock options
  • The biggest challenges Imperfect Foods faces
  • Chesler’s reasoning for hiring people you have no business hiring, early on
Direct download: FP271_Ben_Chesler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:06pm AEDT