OLIO is a fast growing business that had the biggest seed round we’ve ever seen, and from a VC too. We were given the right to shares which we could buy at a pre-agreed valuation only once OLIO had raised their first round of investment.

“Simpleweb were the first investors in OLIO, which was absolutely pivotal to enabling us to bring OLIO to market. The investment combined with Simpleweb’s passion for our mission, and their incredibly talented team of developers, designers and project managers, meant that we were able to quickly and efficiently deliver our MVP to market. I can wholeheartedly recommend Simpleweb to any other startup looking to accelerate their business.” Tessa Cook, Co-Founder, OLIO

The brief

OLIO was founded by ex MD of E-Commerce at Dyson, Tessa Cook, and Saasha Celestial-One, ex VP of Business Development at American Express.

The idea for OLIO came about when Tessa recently moved back to England from Geneva. Packed and ready to go, she found she had a small amount of excess food (some cabbage, sweet potatoes and a little yoghurt) that she couldn’t bring herself to throw away. Saasha, also passionate about reducing waste, has kitted out her current workplace entirely through FreeCycle and is always on the lookout for an appliance she can rescue from being sent to a landfill.

When we first met OLIO, they had conducted a vast amount of market research, validated their idea with a Survey Monkey survey, started collecting leads with a landing page and set up a basic prototype in the form of a WhatsApp group to get a better understanding of how interactions would work. They wanted to create a working MVP that they could launch publicly in a small geographical area.

The product

We formed a small team of one product manager, one front-end developer and one back-end developer to create a mobile application which allowed users to list unwanted food, and message each other to arrange collections.

With geolocation, users can find items near their homes (which can be pre-set), or near to their current location. Notifications alert users when new items are added within range, as well for conversations between users.

Once they had raised their seed round of investment, we helped OLIO to hire their first developers and worked closely with them in our offices to hand over development to their new in-house team.

Where are they now?

OLIO launched in Crouch-End, London in July 2015, expanded across London in December 2015, and opened up nationally in January 2016. Since our initial investment OLIO has:

  • Raised a seed round from a leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm whose investments include Facebook and Spotify.
  • Trended at number 1 in the UK App Store.
  • Featured in numerous press reports from the likes of ITV News, Metro, the Guardian, the Mirror,
    Time Out, BBC and many more.
  • Received over 400 requests from people wanting to volunteer and rolled out a special
    programme to help people get involved in the cause.
  • Expanded into 22 countries including Australia, New Zealand, USA, and Europe.
  • In December 2016 OLIO raised a further $2.2m from investors including Accel, Quadia,
    Mustard Seed, ASOS cofounder Quentin Griffiths, and Easynet COO Wayne Churchill

OLIO are now completely self sufficient. We continue to provide advice and support where needed.

OLIO connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. This could be food nearing its sell-by date in local stores, spare home-grown vegetables, bread from your baker, or the groceries in your fridge when you go away. For your convenience, OLIO can also be used for non-food household items too.

Further reading

How OLIO Used WhatsApp to Validate Their Food Sharing Startup Idea
OLIO Wants You to Reduce Waste by Exchanging Surplus Food
How This Startup Got 1,000 App Downloads In Its First Month

If you’d like to discuss your startup or project, get in touch with Simpleweb today.