This Kedger has launched Lēmono: the jumpsuit...
1️⃣ To begin, tell us about your educational background. What did you study, both before and at KEDGE?
I first studied International Relations in Buenos Aires, at the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella. I had a strong specialization on politics and economics there, plus other courses like negotiation or public speaking. After I graduated, I started working as an advisor in the Ministry of Transport in Argentina, in the road and highways sector. While in that position, I got to realize actually how important was the logistics especially in Argentina, a country that has lagged in its growth but is still full of potential. We are a large country, full of natural resources that are ready to be exploited and, hence, with a heavily export-based economy. I knew then that if I wanted to thrive in my career, I needed to specialize on transport and logistics. This is why I applied for a scholarship for a Msc in Management Maritime, Transport International et Logistique in Kedge Business School - Marseille.
2️⃣ Tell us what you did after your studies were finished. What positions have you held? What did you learn in those positions?
Right after I finished my studies I did a stage at TRAXENS an incredible IoT company in logistics at Marseille. They have introduced to the world a new era in the area with their "smart" containers. It was in that innovative ambiance and with that -in spite of how advanced it was- startup-like environment that I got the handle of what it would be to create a company of my own, from scratch. While I was working there I spent my lunchtime and nights writing my MSc thesis (on Argentine port's efficiency compared to the rest of the Latin American main players) and forming the idea of what today is WINIM with a couple of lifetime friends from Buenos Aires.
3️⃣ What are you doing/what is your situation today? What gave you the idea and why do you want to do what you’re doing today?
Today my project is WINIM.
WINIM is a mobile platform where restaurants, supermarkets and food stores can sell their surplus food at a (big) discount price.
This way, we create a WIN-WIN-WIN business model:
- Our consumers get to have amazing food at impossible prices ;
- The stores get to earnings from what otherwise would end up in the bin ;
- above all, we get to help the environment by tackling food-waste.
How did we get the idea to launch it? With my co-founder, Santiago López Silveyra, we have been talking about launching our own company/start-up since high school. In 2019, while we both were finishing our master's thesis (his is in Finance), we were decided to finally take the leap and do it.
But we knew that we didn't want to just create something to make money, we wanted to create something with an actual purpose, to solve a real problem. While studying different issues that Argentina had, we learnt that the Food Loss and Waste problem in our country was completely unattended and left aside. And it is a huge challenge: every year in Argentina 16 million tons of food are wasted.This means that 12.5% of all the food that we produce in Argentina ends up in the garbage (and imagine just how much food we produce!).
These were insane numbers, we were certain that this was the problem we wanted to tackle. So we started studying different answers around the world that were effective against it. Between all of them, we chose every aspect of each idea and created something that would be fit for the Latin American mindset.
When we had the business plan ready, another friend of ours, Federico Broggi (a Finance expert as well) joined us. Then, after between I came back from France to Argentina in December 2018, we created the app only with our savings and in mid-April 2019 we launched it. A lot happened between then and now. It wasn't (and it isn't) easy: we started by knocking on doors around the city explaining our idea (and getting laughed at by some old restaurant owners) and people telling us what a stupid idea it was. We didn't have money either to spend on marketing, Facebook/Google Ads or anything like it. But then the word of mouth started to help us. We got to the national and international media, we got investments and our income started to multiply. By today we are the only app of its kind in Latin America, we have covered the whole city of Buenos Aires and about to launch in all the rest of the country. We have already our own delivery system (with $0 spent on logistics), and employees from different parts of Argentina.
We weren't even stopped by the COVID-19 pandemic. Actually, since the quarantine started our sales grew by 728%, and our active users by 643%. And we want to keep growing, even faster.*
4️⃣ What are your development goals for the future?
We have plenty to do in 2021.
First, we want to keep on expanding. Today, we are only in Buenos Aires. By next year, we want to be already present in the rest of Argentina, and launching in Chile and Mexico. Secondly, we want to go up in the logistics chain and add a B2B service. How will this work? We know that producers and industrial food factories waste as well lots of food. We will just offer our service to save meals and produce from them for our restaurants or other businesses to buy it and consume it or resell it. It is a new WIN-WIN-WIN but in a bigger scale! Third, we want to make a bigger impact by helping governments tackle this issue as well. They need to know about it and know how to treat it, we will enable it.
Then, personally, I will try to keep on learning, like I do in an everyday basis. Being a founder of a Start-Up is quite challenging because you have to answer in the best way possible in every area: from HR to Finanze. It is as well the best learning experience possible.
5️⃣ If you were to give advice to any KEDGE graduate who wants to do something similar, what would it be
If you have an idea, a vision, take that big step and do it. This is specially true if you are young: the chance is now to take big risks. And always listen to everyone. Even those that you don't think alike: they will be the ones that can approach you to your next outside-the-box idea for your business.
KEDGE has something unique that it is the vision of future. When you are studying there you have a feeling that you understand how to see business potential in everything. It is not only the academic quality it has, but the entrepreneurial mindset that is not as easy to find. Then, on a second place, thanks to the MSc in Logistics I was able to manage to have an optimal logistics system for our delivery. We actually needed that: we are low cost as well for our partnered restaurants, our fee is low. So we couldn't afford to spend a lot of our money in riders, expensive systems, or whatever. So, right now we are only spending 0,046 euros per delivery, which is approximately nothing. This was vital in the Covid-19 Quarantine in Buenos Aires.