“Every start up needs a break, that one special opportunity, that pushes you between a small start up and a force to be reckoned with.”
That was the sentence that ended mine and Marcia Wood’s conversation. Marcia Woods is the Co-Founder and CEO of FreshSpoke. When speaking with Marcia, it was very clear that she is not afraid of hard work and commitment. Her business was introduced to the market in September of 2014 under the brand of ei*ei*eat. After a few years of intense research and development, ei*ei*eat was re-branded as FreshSpoke in May of 2016. Marcia tells us that her very first customer was in October 2016, ever since then she has hit the ground running!
FreshSpoke is an online platform that connects local farmers and micro-producers directly to you through an App! As a food producer; FreshSpoke will add your information to their online marketplace, were users can easily purchase and have your products delivered right from their mobile device! If you are a food buyer, FreshSpoke will connect you directly to the best products and deliver right to your door. Are you a driver? Freshspoke will give you the opportunity to earn extra cash while delivering fresh, local food products.
Marcia’s describes her first customer, a local food producer, as key for providing solid feedback on her platform’s prototype. She asked them to speak to the usability and what features they liked best about her platform. Marcia then on-boarded wholesale suppliers, then drivers and lastly, third party drivers. She describes her first customers as the key to her success. Without those customers she says “we wouldn’t have had the success we have now without the local food producers to help us understand the features we needed for the platform to truly meet the needs of customers.” After spending a lot of time in discovery and validation, Marcia is confident in her platform, and can say with pride that it is now much more informed, comprehensive, and easy for the user to navigate.
For a new start up business, hiring your first staff member/team can be a huge task to undertake. Marcia is happy to say that she still has her original first hires on her current team. Marcia immediately brought on 11 developers in November of 2016, they worked under her and her Co-Founder, Henry Quach, a software engineer. Their employee’s devotion and loyalty are another key aspect to the organization’s success. With the fast pace of a technology based company, it is important for not only her employees but for her advisors and investors to have a full understanding that every 60 days the technology is changing, therefore the company is always evolving. It is important to have a team that understands and is willing to work with these constant industry changes, which is exactly what her team does day in and day out.
“We spent a lot of time in discovery and validation, spent a lot of time in talking to local producers and customers”
When we spoke about FreshSpoke’s working relationships with suppliers and partnerships, Marcia expressed the importance of boots on the ground. She believes in old school sales 101, personal contact. Her team of Regional Managers will often be face to face with potential producers and buyers to ensure they build a good relationship and have a strong understanding of how the FreshSpoke platform works. Because FreshSpoke is a technology company, her team is always in contact with their suppliers and partners via email, and digital marketing. The producers, drivers and shop specialists are provided with ongoing training to ensure they are always up to date with what is happening in the industry and trends to ensure maximum sales.
What is next for this successful start up? Marcia was so excited to share that FreshSpoke was invited to FoodX this past March. FreshSpoke was one of TEN companies that were invited to join this program. Over 500 companies from all over the world apply to be a part of the FoodX Accelerator, and FreshSpoke was one of them! Marcia and her team moved their offices to Mid-Town and are currently spending the next three months in New York to expand their organization in Canada and the United States of America. This was great opportunity for Marcia to continue to scale the company, refine the platform features, build bigger markets and find investors in their network. Marcia described this invitation as a special opportunity; “Every start up needs a break, that one special opportunity, that pushes you between a small start up and a force to be reckoned with.” Marcia and Henry have put in countless hours to contribute to the great success of FreshSpoke, their success is a direct result of their hard work, positive attitude and dedication.
Congratulations to FreshSpoke on your acceptance to the FoodX Accelerator! Definitely a force to the reckoned with! For more information, please visit their website: https://freshspoke.com/
Curious about FoodX? Visit their website: https://food-x.com/