The start up, born at the incubator of the Polytechnic School of Turin, signed an important agreement with the multinational Day – Up Group, which is also ready to support international deployment.
The idea is really simple, which is perhaps why it is generating so much interest: fighting food waste by linking merchants with food surpluses and customers in their vicinity. Behind this idea: two Torinese innovators – Francesco Ardito and Massimo Ivul – who created the portal www.LastMinuteSottoCasa.it, LMSC.
LMSC was created in the I3P incubator of the Polytechnic school of Turin and has become a popular App that offers an original type of proximity marketing. Merchants with surplus food products are able to quickly and easily inform consumers located in the vicinity who can enjoy ongoing “last minute” promotional sales.
The App and the Portal enable consumers to indicate the area for which they wish to receive proposals in real time and for what type of store, so that they receive only offers for « right next door » (sotto-casa).
This is the winning philosophy of Last Minute Sotto Casa: giving merchants business benefits by opening up economic opportunities through an influx of new customers. And daily savings for customers who can buy fresh produce in local shops.
The positive outcomes are not only economic, they also support ethical and eco-sustainability values. Thanks to LMSC, at the present time, two and a half tones of food products are not being thrown into the garbage each month! The project, whose originality has already been highlighted by numerous national and international awards, is the only Italian project to have made it to the finals of ‘the European Social Innovation Competition 2015’, among over 1,000 projects submitted for evaluation by Europe.
As the portal was developing, we were able to observe its potential which defends not only the merchant, the consumer and the planet, but also enables small businesses to reduce inequalities in terms of access and use of technology compared to larger entities.
« Innovation is possible depending on how people use technology » says Enzo Lavolta, Deputy Director for the Environment, Innovation and Smart City of the city of Turin and President of the Turin Smart City Foundation. This is an innovation that enables small shops to benefit from digital technologies, instead of being crushed by the power of mass retailing web promotion; it is also bringing consumers back into stores despite their habit of buying online. Furthermore, it is having an indirect benefit for the environment by reducing travel by car.
« LifeGate aims to help solve the major environmental and social challenges of our day – said Simone Molteni, Scientific Director of LifeGate – and food waste is one of the most immediate. At LifeGate we select the best start-ups that are tackling these problems with innovative solutions, and then we help them with all our resources. For example, by informing our community of 5 million persons or introducing them to large companies that support sustainable development, and enabling them to progress rapidly ».
For a long time we had been looking for an answer to a need put forward by DAY affiliates concerning meal voucher service, the problem of managing stocks in stores. As a company offering services to businesses and individuals, we initially thought of developing an in-house solution for this market issue, but then we came across the innovative start-up LMSC, and had found the right synergy. We provide the platform for our 110,000 affiliates who, through the App, will be able to offer their unsold products to each customer among the 500,000 daily users of Day meal vouchers. We will help Last Minute Sotto Casa develop all over Italy, but thanks to our belonging to the large multinational Up Group, our ambitions ultimately are for all of Europe.
« The project was born in a district of the city of Turin – says Francesco Ardito, co-founder of LMSC together with Massimo Ivul – with the idea that we could collect bread that was unsold at the end of the day, then we added other neighborhoods in the city and other types of activities such as fish markets, gastronomy, butcheries and more recently local mini-markets, all having the same problem regarding fresh products, namely that if these products are not sold by the end of the day, they must be discarded. We calculated the savings each month thanks to the portal for a city such as Turin; well the result is surprising, over a ton of food, 1,000 kilograms! In the year and a half since the official launch of the project, we have reached almost 50,000 registered users, and are increasingly coming into the main Italian cities. Thanks to the partnership with UP Group and the support of LifeGate, we are preparing a plan to move outside of our national borders. »