Sommersemester 2019 - Kunterbunt - Student Start-up Project
We are KUNTERBUNT and we want to tackle food waste.
Farmers constantly produce an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, of these vast amounts only a small percentage ends up on regular supermarket shelves. The rest is often too discolored or to imperfect. Consequently, most of it is thrown away, burned in biogas facilities or simply left on the field. To change this, KUNTERBUNT wants to buy imperfect fruits and vegetables from farmers and sorting facilities directly. This produce is then sold in convenient, competitively priced and tasty little KUTERBUNT boxes that are directly delivered to consumers, based on a subscription model.
The KUNTERBUNT boxes aim at tackling food waste right at the root - at the very beginning of the value chain. We want to raise awareness for the valuable resource of food. However, we want to achieve this through a business model that is economically and environmentally sustainable in the long run.
Our business model benefits both customer sides: consumers and farmers.
By delivering our KUNTERBUNT boxes, we can serve customers who want to live sustainably & healthily, but do not have the time to shop from farmers directly themselves. This way, customers do not just enjoy the convenience of having their weekly dose of fruits and vegetables delivered to their doorstep, but they also turn into food rescuers. Farmers, on the other hand, have the chance to generate additional income. They can sell their entire harvest at fair prices, without having to miss out on revenue or having to pay for the disposal of unsold leftover products.
Our journey so far
We started our project a few months ago in the course of the "Starting up" course of our master's program. What was only a rough idea at the beginning, quickly turned into a viable business opportunity. The first milestone of our venture was the admission to the finalist batch of the Social Impact Award Vienna, where we received some pocket money to start research and operations, as well as professional mentoring in a fancy office in the heart of Vienna. We also launched a first version of our website iss‑kunterbunt.at, where potential customers and partners on the agricultural side could contact us.
Furthermore, we took part in the Entrepreneurship Avenue program, including the entire lab series. There we received insightful advice from mentors, who had started their own businesses in the same industry. To test customer acceptance of "imperfect" fruits and vegetables, we are targeting a cooperation with small retail stores in Vienna, where we can sell our first boxes. A first partner has already been found in the 5th district of Vienna.
More recently, we managed to be one of four winner teams of the Future Founders Challenge, where we received some capital for our first investments. In the middle of June, we visited pur-organics, one of the largest marketers of vegetables in Austria. Besides discussing a potential cooperation, we were invited to visit a sorting facility close to Vienna, where we can examine the process of sorting fruits and vegetables. These are only some of the reasons why we believe in our idea.
Dr. Rudolf Dömötör, Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke, Dr. Kathrin Reinsberger