“…because food is too lovely to be wasted!”

#shipSitra Circular Economy Pop-up Challenge – an online competition, hosted by *ship and Sitra, has crowned Ostracon from Greece as the 1st place winner. The team wins a 10-day experience including participation in *ship 2017 this July. Let’s get to know them before we can observe their performance on the *ship Pitch Captain stage.

Recognizing wasted food as a global issue and being underpinned by the concept of a circular economy, Ostracon is trying to “give value to a product which would be through away in a Business as Usual scenario. The team consists of entrepreneurial folks who have solid background in the fields of circular economy and sustainability. Though they met randomly, their roles and responsibilities are naturally and clearly distinguished from each other. “I believe that our strength lies in the fact that we take things seriously. We are motivated and we work hard. Sometimes we even overwork”, says Kristian Kouros, Ostracon’s Project Manager.

Their idea is to create an online platform where users, who are either restaurants or diners, tackle wasted food. More specifically, the app would provide restaurant managers with detailed feedback from customers in visual forms such as graphs, tables, etc. Relying on this information, restaurants will be able to customize future menus and minimize food waste. Additionally, based upon diners’ eating patterns, leftovers would be discounted at the end of the day. As per a study conducted in Helsinki in 2015, daily food waste in student restaurants varies from 17% to 24%. The team estimated that full implementation of this idea might significantly drop these numbers to around 8-10%.

The crowd-sourcing application originally came from a front-end software project management course. The whole team took part in it. “Initially, it was a simple application for reviewing what we consume. During the course, we decided to take this idea to the next level, considering its potential”, said Kouros. The team also talked about some challenges that they had to face since the early days of inception. “Being able to adapt and deal with things we have no prior experience of, is our biggest strength, our superpower”, also said Kouros.

Ostracon is currently participating in a 8-week business incubator called Summer Launchpad in Lappeenranta. There, they are testing and prototyping new features and techniques for the application. Their next destination will be the *ship Pitch Captain stage in Kotka. The whole team is looking forward to the upcoming *ship to gain new experiences, meet new people and establish valuable connections.

Author: Vinh Le is an intern at *ship and a business student at XAMK. Striving for a deeper understanding of entrepreneurship and technology, he is thrilled to observe these two things burnishing each other.