Low-Tech Food Artisans Get High-Tech Online Home
Can technology help craft food scale up? The Bay Area entrepreneurs behind Good Eggs are experimenting with a new business model for artisans.
What would happen if some of the Bay Area’s top tech minds collaborated with some of its top foodies to produce an e-commerce site for local food? The result: Good Eggs, a new online platform that's been dubbed an "Etsy for local food" and provides the tech infrastructure necessary to help farmers and artisans spend less time filling out spreadsheets and dealing with distributors and more time making their product, building a customer base, and closing deals. The goal is to help small-scale food production scale up by creating a new tech-oriented business model.
While Good Eggs has provided online marketplaces for a variety of Bay Area food sellers for months now, it just launched its website—“a local food marketplace, a guide to eating well, and a set of tools to help local farmers & foodmakers sell direct”—on Friday. Drop in on Good Eggs’ homepage, and you’ll see the option to search San Francisco neighborhoods for food purveyors near you. You can shop for goods like organic produce, gluten-free muffins, free-range meat, small-batch coffee, or Brooklyn-style bagels and order a subscription to pick up or receive weekly delivery (sometimes by bicycle) of your favorite products. Each food purveyor gets its own branded page to advertise itself, and the site takes a three-percent service fee for each transaction.
Back in December, the company's co-founders Rob Spiro, a former Google product manager, and Alon Salant, cofounder of the software company Carbon Five, announced their ambitious plans for the project on the food blog Civil Eats:
What if we could use technology-based products or services to grow local food systems ten-fold or even twenty-fold in the next few years–from one percent of the current food production in our country today to 10 to 20 percent in the next decade? […] Our hypothesis is that some technology-based product or service will be an important enabler.\n
With advisers like Alice Waters (who will guest blog) and tech talent and investors that have had their hands in everything from Yahoo to Ebay, the team may be uniquely positioned to succeed where other food-tech projects have failed. While the site’s only operating in the Bay Area for now, it's trying to quickly expand to Portland, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and Detroit.