11 years ago, a young man and his father launched on a seafood business by owning a small seafood factory in America. As fishermen would go fishing for daily catch, lots of other good seafoods would be just thrown away for not being the daily targets. Seeing this ‘waste’ as he mentioned, Lin Hwang, the actual co-founder and CEO of DamoGO had a strong motivation to find a solution to prevent all these perfectly untouched foods from going to waste.
“We’re a social business with a mission to reduce any wasted food or reduce food from going to waste and to create awareness from food waste issue.”
As many of us are already concerned, tons and tons of food waste are just being piled up, acting as a significant factor for the greenhouse effect which is a serious environmental problem that needs to be solved. Korea is also a country where this problem should be considered as a priority given the fact that 130 kilograms of foods are wasted each year by each citizen.
“Right now, just for our brand, we have some really good partners, many good restaurants that people really know.”
His achievements will not only reduce wasted food but also help restaurants and food industries gain extra money in addition to extra exposure to customers. Aside of this great policy, the actual prior goal for DamoGo is to promote their business. This is expected to be just a matter of time as Hwang and his team has set up their annual goals, 100 thousand downloads until the end of next year.
“We position ourselves as a social business, we tell everyone we’re not a discount app.”
The most concerning factor for this business is not based on earning money from setting up price discount but to play a major role in reducing food waste from all food-service industries. As we all know, nothing is earned for free. Lin and his team had to go through the hardest part, convincing and promoting themselves as a reliable company to food franchises. Nowadays, he confirmed that food industries are starting to rely on this business, as they started making contact to donate foods where it is needed. Likewise, as more meaningful connections are made, more the confidence will be strengthened between DamoGO and food industries: “That will set us apart from our competitors. I am ready for the competitors.”
Damogo has started in Korea but has also great potentials to expand their business abroad. Lin and his co-founder, Muhammad are sharing the same goal which is leading them to this worldwide business. Muhammad had also his life event where he got the motivation to run this business in his native country, Indonesia. In 2017, when he was a 3rd year student in Korean university, he had to deal with one untouched pie of pizza that was left from 3 pies he and his friends had ordered. Rather than throwing away the left pie, he decided to text his dorm neighbors to sell each slice for 1,000 won (0.8 dollars). He thought to himself “Man I just made money on untouched food that I would’ve thrown away.”
Since 2017, DamoGO has participated in many competitions for startup businesses where they had the opportunity to receive spotlights from investors and grip the attention of the audience. Last June, DamoGO won the 3rd place at the Seoul Startup Business Pair after being accepted into Seoul Global Startup Center Incubator in May. It continued its achievements by winning the final places in both Hite/Jinro and Global Entrepreneurs Foundation demo days. The IFC, standing as an investor of more than 1 billion dollars in the Global Entrepeneurs Foundation, would mean a lot for startup businesses who needs investors. Aside from these public conferences, DamoGO is fulfilling its main goal, showing their potential to give positive influences in our community throughout their food rescue movements. A few weeks ago, in the early August, they were able to rescue 6,600 bags of chips and another 2,000 boxes of instant curry for donation to the Dream City Homeless shelter near Seoul station. Moreover, six tons of frozen chicken breast patties were prevented from going to waste by delivering them to an extensive network of soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and pet shelters. “We wanna be the biggest players in Asia.” It is truly reasonable to see this business expand through south east Asia as it will keep on accomplishing their goals to save foods.
“It starts with consumers, consumers have to really think before they waste food.”
Lastly, the success of this business cannot be done by DamoGO alone. Wasted foods need to be seen differently from the actual people’s point of view, as Lin HWANG has mentioned. Consumers are the ones who play big roles in the actual environment. Therefore, DamoGO is here to help those consumers to consume in an economic way. Hopefully, things in Korea are changing lately, as people start to show more interests in social affairs, charity programs and environmental issues. The actual task for DamoGO could be seen as encouraging people to get involved in this food waste issues throughout their charity programs and letting them know DamoGO is here to help them.