Graduates help shoppers to bag a bargain
June 21, 2016 | Simon Jenkins
A technology start-up, launched with the help of University’s business start-up service SPARK, took first prize in an international pitching competition for its end-of-shelf-life advertising platform.
The competition was part of a global summit, Seeds and Chips, that brings together start-ups, investors, thought leaders and policy makers to share innovations and ideas around food production.
Called YellowLabel, the Leeds start-up is aiming to create an advertising platform that will allow supermarkets to reduce food waste and promote convenient access to cheaper goods for customers. The scheme alerts users when local supermarkets have discounted food for sale which is nearing its sell-by date – saving customers money and reducing the amount which would have to be thrown away.
Leeds graduates Toma Paro (Politics 2013), Sam Patchitt (International Business 2015) and Richard Torpey (Geography 2012) set up the company to help satisfy an increasing appetite for technologies that can help cut down on food waste. Working with SPARK, the team were able to get advice and financial support to form the company and build a prototype.
SPARK also helped them put the pitch together for the competition. Their prize includes €10,000 and a three-month place on an accelerator programme, to enable the team to get the business ready for larger investment.
“Our idea is quite simple, but we think it’s going to have a big impact on food retail in the UK,” says Toma. “The aim is to reduce costs for shoppers, but there’s a strong social responsibility angle as well because we’re aiming to reduce the overall amount of food that supermarkets have to simply throw away at the end of each day.
“The prize means we can build a fully-functioning prototype of the system and start talking to supermarkets and potential investors later this year.”