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Our Investment in Dispatch Goods
Enabling seamless and sustainable food delivery with reusable packaging
Online ordering has experienced a meteoric rise in the past few years. The ease and convenience of third-party services like Grubhub, UberEats, and DoorDash, coupled with in-person dining restrictions throughout the pandemic, has led to over 60% of U.S. consumers ordering takeout at least once a week.
In conjunction with the rise in takeout, there’s been a massive increase in grocery delivery and meal delivery services. While having food - takeout, groceries, meal kits - delivered to the doorstep offers convenience for consumers, it also creates a tsunami of waste in the form of plastic containers and other packaging. Of the nearly 1 trillion disposable items created each year, most end up in the trash. Landfills are responsible for 17 percent of total anthropogenic methane emissions in the US. Also, up to 23 million metric tons of plastic enters rivers, lakes, and oceans each year, hurting marine life and littering beaches.
The passionate founders behind Dispatch Goods are committed to eliminating the need for single-use packaging altogether. They partner with restaurants and food delivery companies around the US to offer food to customers in completely reusable packaging. Again and again. We are proud to back Lindsey Hoell and Maia Tekle’s vision of waste-free food delivery.
What is Dispatch Goods?
Founded in 2019, Dispatch Goods is a climate technology startup accelerating the shift to reusable packaging for restaurants and grocers alike. By offering collection, cleaning, sorting, and redistribution, the company has created an end-to-end reuse platform that makes it easy for businesses to switch from a single-use model to a reuse model.
Restaurant consumers are able to order food through one of Dispatch Goods’ partners, which includes chain restaurants such as Mixt and Split as well as local restaurants in the Bay area. Menu items are packed in reusable ware before being delivered to consumers. Once they are done with the food, consumers simply scan a QR code located on the containers to schedule home collection, or they deposit containers at one of nearly 50 dropoff locations.
In line with this vision, Dispatch Goods’ client base of 80+ businesses has expanded beyond restaurants to include some of the largest food delivery companies in the world. The company recently hit the major milestone of diverting over 1,000,000 single-use plastics from the waste stream.
Why Did We Invest?
Compelling Founder-Market Fit
Dispatch Goods is a female-founded company. Co-founders, Lindsey Hoell and Maia Tekle are both passionate environmentalists and business leaders on a mission to change the way we consume as a society.
Lindsey Hoell, who serves as the company’s CEO, recognized the urgent need for a reuse platform when she came across a beach littered with plastic while surfing in Hawaii. Maia Tekle led West Coast partnerships at Caviar (acquired by Doordash), and the pair met through the Sustainable Ocean Alliance.
Restorative & Regenerative by Design
Not only is single-use plastic a problem for sustainable restaurant takeout, but the missing reuse infrastructure for meal and grocery delivery generally is also an area worth addressing. By developing a zero-waste solution to food packaging and building a broadly applicable platform into which businesses can plug, Dispatch Goods is supporting the circular economy and helping to free society of its dependence on using virgin plastic. Instead of carbon-intensive manufacturing of single-use plastics, Dispatch’s approach of collecting and transporting containers to a reuse processing facility significantly cuts down emissions associated with this phase of the supply chain. These facilities can also be localized which further shortens the supply chain compared to the disposal and end of life treatment single-use products typically receive.
We’re excited by the vision of these two dynamic entrepreneurs who are tackling a critical source of pollution and emissions that we all see in our everyday lives.
If you are an accredited investor and want to learn more about being an investor in our fund (to back more great companies like this one!), reach out here, and include desired quarterly commitment level, accredited investor status, and info on your background and how you could be helpful to the portfolio.