Pona

You eat well for less. Your favourite eateries reduce waste & increase revenue.

Pona finds delicious unsold food discounted at eateries near you. You eat well for less. Restaurants reduce waste and increase revenue.

Use Case

Nigeria has a staggering amount of food waste — more than $750b/year, or 80% of all food produced. Restaurants routinely throw away perishables because there are few incentives or mechanisms for donation. With Pona, you can eat well for less, and help combat food waste at the same time. Open the app when you get hungry to see unsold meals at 50% off in eateries near you. Order & pay in one tap, right within the app, and pick up the food on the way home. We vet all restaurants and require a baseline level of quality. This means you can order quickly, knowing your meal will not only be cheap, but also delicious. Occasionally, you’ll see flash sales at eateries within walking distance that are about to close. Claim the deal within a minute, and you’ll eat at an ever cheaper 75% off!

Potential

Small businesses in Nigeria have two options for leftover food: 1. Throw it away and lose revenue 2. Donate to the rare charity that accepts food meant for same-day consumption 3. Discount for all customers, even those that were prepared to pay full price In Nigeria, a successful startup called Chowberry helps supermarkets sell packaged foods nearing best by date. Our research has shown, however, that the trend in urban areas is increasingly to eat out, rather than cook at home, and there is significant unmet demand for a similar scheme with restaurant food meant for same-day consumption. To meet this demand, we've built an app that lets eateries list unsold food for users to purchase at a discount, in one tap, right within the app.

Business Case

Eateries list leftover food in Pona. It is sold at 50% off, 75% during flash sales just before closing time. Pona users pay for the food in-app. We take a 25% cut on the sales price, and send the remaining 75% to the seller. Users have an economic incentive to get food through the app, and sellers get to sell food they would have thrown away. Ex.: A bakery makes croissants in the morning and sells them @ ₦400. At the end of the day, they have 10 unsold 🥐. They list them in Pona @ ₦200 and sell 5 🥐. 5 more users in close proximity buy 🥐 @ ₦100 during a countdown flash sale 15m before closing time. We keep ₦375, transfer ₦1125 to the seller. Based on four weekly meals @ ₦750, we expect revenues of ~$8/user/month. Our estimate for the Total Addressable Market in Nigeria is $400M.

Objectives:

  1. Provide urban Nigerians an app that finds delicious unsold food discounted at eateries nearby.
  2. Help Nigerian businesses reduce food waste and recover lost revenue by selling leftover food at a discount.

Team Pona

London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Our Team

Pitch map / Published May 19, 2018 by Philip Seifi

Pitch map

We've now pitched over 50 restaurants around Lagos, interviewing their owners and general managers.

In the process, we've heard incredible entrepreneurial stories. From a vegan who after 11 years and three failed attempts managed to kick-start a vegetarian movement in his hometown, to an aspiring forensic scientist who went from a restaurant clerk internship to managing one of the top restaurants in the city, these meetings will stay with us as we continue on our journey.

The feedback so far has been incredibly positive, and we continue learning more about the hospitality industry and food waste. We've further validated the sctope of the problem, with some restaurants throwing up to 100 portions of food a day in the bin.

Over the next several days, we will continue onboarding partners for our soft launch later in the summer, and train a small team of volunteer salesepeople we've met on the trip.

Pona team united / Published May 19, 2018 by Philip Seifi

Pona team united

Kingsley is a talented software engineer who has worked with us remotely for several years, Skyping occasionally, but communicating mainly by text.

When we met Kingsley in person in his home town of Lagos, it was like reconnecting with an old friend, and we started sharing stories and laughs immediately.

He was kind enough to welcome him into his home to meet his wife and child... only to reveal to us a very funny story... Around two years ago, when we hired Kingsley, we invited him to a 2nd round technical interview, asking him if the date and time we proposed was suitable. He was so keen to make a good impression, that he didn't bother to mention that that particular day was his wedding day, and he Skyped us between his service and evening reception!

We were told his wife still doesn't know, so we kept this story to ourselves as we enjoyed a delicious home-cooked meal with his family!

It's been quite a journey / Published May 3, 2018 by Philip Seifi

It's been quite a journey

It's now been five months since we got approached by the World Food Programme to help design a new learning platform...

The WFP cancelled the project in the end, but we've made the best of the opportunity!

We've devoured dozens of academic papers on food security, learned all we could about nutritional challenges around the world, and most importantly, discovered just how much food waste there is in some of the countries we've lived in, without realizing the full extent of the problem.

We emerged from the process with an idea for a new project of our own: A nutrition coach app that teaches healthy eating habits using local African ingredients and recipes, and reduces food waste through coupons on perishables at partner supermarkets.

We were so excited to start working on our idea, that we were glad when the WFP informed us their tender was cancelled!

The next day, we set out to work on Pona.

We've binge-watched all the TFF Design Lab videos, dusted-off a business model canvas from the Startup Weekend one of us attended last year, and remembered what it's been like to start our previous startup, lingualift.com, as high schoolers some seven years earlier.

After over two dozen phone calls with nutrition & food waste related startup and organizations operating in West Africa, we realized the only way to truly move forward is to get on the ground and talk to people in person. In DC and Nigeria to be precise.

Philip flew to Washington DC and spent a month meeting with African nutrition experts and NGOs working on similar projects in Nigeria, to see how we can best align our efforts. He made some excellent connections who are now consulting us on our efforts, and introducing us to relevant contacts in the region.

Kingsley, who lives in Lagos, has began coding the app, while reaching out to potential partners in the city, and introducing our contept to friends & family to gather initial feedback on our client app prototype.

Ollie, while delivering on an edtech consulting project in Japan, which we've accepted to help finance this new endeavour, has continued to reach out to food retailers, and gathered feedback we used to design our MVP of the seller dashboard.

Four months later, we've now streamlined our concept to a purely food waste project. We still hope to introduce a nutrition education component in the future, but realized that tackling both problems at once is too much of a challenge, and that nudging people towards healthier choices through discounts alone can be more impactful than direct nutrition education.

We have finalized our designs, built MVPs, and gathered initial feedback. In a couple of days, we fly to Lagos to regroup as a team, spend a month testing the MVP with a larger number of people, and talk to restaurants of all sizes to build a network of partners for a soft launch later this summer.

It has been quite a journey already... but we know there's a long way ahead, and we can't wait to see where it takes us!

Our Mission

Nigeria has a staggering amount of food waste — more than 750 billion dollars per year, or 80% of all food produced. We're tackling this problem with a platform that helps people eat well for less, and reduce food waste at the same time.

Our Background

We're a multi-disciplinary team based in the UK, Nigeria and Japan, with backgrounds in economics, law, behavioural design, and engineering. We’ve worked together for eight years on educational products that have been used by hundreds of thousands of users. A leading expert on African nutrition from UCLA and a Senior Food Retail Analyst from Oxford have also agreed to advise us on the project.

Pitch map / Published May 19, 2018 by Philip Seifi

Pitch map

We've now pitched over 50 restaurants around Lagos, interviewing their owners and general managers.

In the process, we've heard incredible entrepreneurial stories. From a vegan who after 11 years and three failed attempts managed to kick-start a vegetarian movement in his hometown, to an aspiring forensic scientist who went from a restaurant clerk internship to managing one of the top restaurants in the city, these meetings will stay with us as we continue on our journey.

The feedback so far has been incredibly positive, and we continue learning more about the hospitality industry and food waste. We've further validated the sctope of the problem, with some restaurants throwing up to 100 portions of food a day in the bin.

Over the next several days, we will continue onboarding partners for our soft launch later in the summer, and train a small team of volunteer salesepeople we've met on the trip.

Pona team united / Published May 19, 2018 by Philip Seifi

Pona team united

Kingsley is a talented software engineer who has worked with us remotely for several years, Skyping occasionally, but communicating mainly by text.

When we met Kingsley in person in his home town of Lagos, it was like reconnecting with an old friend, and we started sharing stories and laughs immediately.

He was kind enough to welcome him into his home to meet his wife and child... only to reveal to us a very funny story... Around two years ago, when we hired Kingsley, we invited him to a 2nd round technical interview, asking him if the date and time we proposed was suitable. He was so keen to make a good impression, that he didn't bother to mention that that particular day was his wedding day, and he Skyped us between his service and evening reception!

We were told his wife still doesn't know, so we kept this story to ourselves as we enjoyed a delicious home-cooked meal with his family!

It's been quite a journey / Published May 3, 2018 by Philip Seifi

It's been quite a journey

It's now been five months since we got approached by the World Food Programme to help design a new learning platform...

The WFP cancelled the project in the end, but we've made the best of the opportunity!

We've devoured dozens of academic papers on food security, learned all we could about nutritional challenges around the world, and most importantly, discovered just how much food waste there is in some of the countries we've lived in, without realizing the full extent of the problem.

We emerged from the process with an idea for a new project of our own: A nutrition coach app that teaches healthy eating habits using local African ingredients and recipes, and reduces food waste through coupons on perishables at partner supermarkets.

We were so excited to start working on our idea, that we were glad when the WFP informed us their tender was cancelled!

The next day, we set out to work on Pona.

We've binge-watched all the TFF Design Lab videos, dusted-off a business model canvas from the Startup Weekend one of us attended last year, and remembered what it's been like to start our previous startup, lingualift.com, as high schoolers some seven years earlier.

After over two dozen phone calls with nutrition & food waste related startup and organizations operating in West Africa, we realized the only way to truly move forward is to get on the ground and talk to people in person. In DC and Nigeria to be precise.

Philip flew to Washington DC and spent a month meeting with African nutrition experts and NGOs working on similar projects in Nigeria, to see how we can best align our efforts. He made some excellent connections who are now consulting us on our efforts, and introducing us to relevant contacts in the region.

Kingsley, who lives in Lagos, has began coding the app, while reaching out to potential partners in the city, and introducing our contept to friends & family to gather initial feedback on our client app prototype.

Ollie, while delivering on an edtech consulting project in Japan, which we've accepted to help finance this new endeavour, has continued to reach out to food retailers, and gathered feedback we used to design our MVP of the seller dashboard.

Four months later, we've now streamlined our concept to a purely food waste project. We still hope to introduce a nutrition education component in the future, but realized that tackling both problems at once is too much of a challenge, and that nudging people towards healthier choices through discounts alone can be more impactful than direct nutrition education.

We have finalized our designs, built MVPs, and gathered initial feedback. In a couple of days, we fly to Lagos to regroup as a team, spend a month testing the MVP with a larger number of people, and talk to restaurants of all sizes to build a network of partners for a soft launch later this summer.

It has been quite a journey already... but we know there's a long way ahead, and we can't wait to see where it takes us!

Our Team

Our Mission

Nigeria has a staggering amount of food waste — more than 750 billion dollars per year, or 80% of all food produced. We're tackling this problem with a ...Read More

Our Background

We're a multi-disciplinary team based in the UK, Nigeria and Japan, with backgrounds in economics, law, behavioural design, and engineering. We’ve worked together for eight years on educational ...Read More

Our Badges

  • Power Team
    Your team has at least three members
  • Design Lab Experts
    Attended at least one of the weekly TFF Design Lab “office hours” sessions.
  • We Famous
    Your project has been covered by your university or other media outlet
  • Get #Social
    Created team Facebook or Twitter page and attached to team page
  • Fan Club
    You have 100 likes or followers on your team Facebook or Twitter
  • Interior Architect
    Posted three pictures of your team workspace
  • Idea Parkers
    Shared a picture of your teams unique “idea parking”
  • Global Foodies
    Posted three facts about global food issues learned in the Explore mode
  • Insight + Insight + Insight
    Shared three new insights your team formulated in the Define mode
  • On Time, On Target
    Shared your Design Statement created during the Define mode
  • Post-it Fiends
    Shared pics of the chaos of the post-it filled Ideate work mode
  • Brain Food
    In the Ideate intro video, Richard shares an important tip while eating an apple. Share a team-apple-eating pic!
  • Expert Input
    Shared three pieces of expert feedback on your concept
  • GIF Masters
    Shared a GIF of the prototype building frenzy
  • Live Testing
    Shared a video of a user testing your concept
  • Way To Go
    Shared a picture of your plan for iterating your project
  • Etch-A-Sketch
    Shared your logo sketching session on your team blog
  • WE DID IT!!
    Submitted Final Pitch, including videos and concept details
  • Introduction
    Completed the Introduction section of the Design Lab
  • Explore
    Completed the Explore section of the Design Lab
  • Define
    Completed the Define section of the Design Lab
  • Ideate
    Completed the Ideate section of the Design Lab
  • Conceptualize
    Completed the Conceptualize section of the Design Lab
  • Prototype
    Completed the Prototype section of the Design Lab
  • Test
    Completed the Test section of the Design Lab
  • Iterate
    Completed the Iterate section of the Design Lab
  • Pitch
    Completed the Pitch section of the Design Lab
The information contained here represents student project ideas developed as the result of brainstorming activities during Round 1 of the TFF Challenge. It does not represent any final business plans or commercial products.