Jasmine Crowe saw a need within communities and addressed it – while saving companies money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. With a little help from a platinum business card, Crowe has been able to spread the Goodr gospel and accomplish so much in a short time.
Too often, companies toss out uneaten yet perfectly fine food, contributing to waste and ignoring hungry communities. Jasmine Crowe of Atlanta, Georgia knew there was an untapped solution that could benefit companies, individuals in need – and even the earth itself.
With a master’s degree in nonprofit management and a professional background in communications and sales, Crowe set to work. The result was Goodr, a food waste management app whose mission is to “Feed More, Waste Less.”
With Goodr, companies are connected to local charities so their surplus food can be efficiently delivered to people in need. In doing so, companies reduce their carbon footprint as 72 billion pounds of perfectly edible food end up in landfills each year. To date, Goodr has diverted nearly two million pounds of nutritious food.
“I founded Goodr in 2017 because I personally experienced hunger, as have my friends and family members,” says Crowe. “Because of that, I’ve been involved in feeding people for the past decade – but I noticed a lack of innovation, of not being open to solve hunger in a new way. So, I started Goodr, which is totally different.”
Goodr’s technology allows clients to track, account for and manage their surplus food and organic waste. The predictive data provided improve purchasing and production decisions – which saves money. In the process, companies also reduce landfill dumping and greenhouse gas emissions while providing sustenance to communities and individuals in need.
Goodr currently operates in seven markets but the ultimate goal is to be a global force. To get her there, Crowe is utilizing a business credit card that is helping her spread the Goodr gospel.
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How has the startup process been for you?
Honestly, I didn’t think it would be so hard to raise money in the beginning because this company does so much good. I explained how hunger is being solved with it, but not everyone saw the value right away. They thought other groups (like food banks) were taking care of it and didn’t understand that there was a lot more to it than that – such as solving waste.
Investors were also reluctant because they didn’t see the financial angle. We had to explain how Goodr was making money. So, while I founded it in 2017, we didn’t get going until 2018. Building a team has been hard, too. Finding great people is never easy!
Were there any surprise costs that caught you off guard?
Building the technology was far more expensive than I anticipated! I was naive, thinking it would be about $1,500. Instead, it turned out to be six figures.
And you use a credit card for the business?
Yes, I have The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. I got it only about six months ago. It has a $595 annual fee, which is not waived the first year. I haven’t used the 75,000 points that came with opening and charging $15,000 in first 3 months with the card yet.
After looking at how much I had been traveling, and knowing I needed an account with travel benefits, this was the card I really wanted. In 2019, I logged in over 200,000 miles and visited 11 countries. This card comes with global airport lounge access and I use these places a lot. They’re great because I’m sitting at the airport anyway and I often need to kill time. So, I go to the lounge, take it all in, have a bite to eat and a glass of wine.
Also, I really like traveling with American Express. Their customer service is so good. If anything goes wrong, they’re there for me.
What types of expenses do you typically charge?
Well, anything having to do with travel, of course. I put all my flights, hotels and rental cars on the card. Then there are the office supplies and merchandise I need to buy for the company.
Entertainment is another big cost that I charge. For example, we host lunches for different nonprofits and take potential clients out for dinner – they add up. Overall, we charge approximately $75,000 to $100,000 per year. That’s a lot of credit card reward points!
With so much charging, how do you stay on top of everything?
For accounting software, we use QuickBooks, but my operations team makes sure we’re doing well. We have weekly budget meetings so I always know how much we’re spending and what’s being paid.
We don’t have any debt. The American Express card is at zero balance every single month. Paying it in full and on time is never a challenge. I signed up for automatic payment, and that works really well.
What’s on the horizon for Goodr?
We are actively looking at other markets. I want to be in California, New York and Texas soon. We have a huge problem with homelessness and food waste all over the U.S., and we can do a lot in these states.
What have you learned about borrowing money that you can share?
When I was in college, I immediately got credit cards – then I went to every store in the mall! That was a mistake, and I quickly learned to not charge more than I can afford to pay in 30 days. But I had to learn about credit on my own. My parents didn’t discuss credit when I was at home. People don’t talk about it enough – and certainly not in my community.
See related: Lessons from female financial role models
For the company, we haven’t borrowed much. I did need to build my credit, though, because I didn’t have it when I started. That’s so important. If you’re an entrepreneur, you have to know that your personal credit will help you build your business. It will help you qualify for a business credit card. Good credit takes you further than you may think.
Any advice to entrepreneurswho are just starting out?
There’s a lot of pressure to be the next Uber, to be huge right away, and that’s just not realistic. If you really believe in the business you’re building, keep going. That belief and trust will take you far. But don’t rush it – slow and steady wins the race.