🌍 Lomi is tackling the food waste problem


April 22, 2021

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The Hustle

Today is Earth Day, which — if you say it fast enough — sounds like “birthday.” Think about it.

The big idea
veggies

Lomi is tackling food waste with a home composting machine

It’s an issue we all deal with.

After chopping fruits and vegetables, what do you do with the waste? For many, the process is a complete mess with various plastic bins and misplaced foods.

Enter Lomi, a home composting machine that — in as little as 4 hours — turns food waste into nutrient-rich soil that can be used in your garden.

No stranger to sustainability innovation

Lomi is manufactured by Pela, best known for Pela Case, a sustainable phone case company with mid-8 figure annual sales.

Pela co-founder and CEO Matt Bertulli tells The Hustle that Lomi’s vision is to bring “big waste management infrastructure into the home.”

Here are 2 prongs to the strategy:

  • Technology: Lomi uses chopping and heating that mimics nature’s composting cycle. In addition to food scraps, the machine breaks down many types of bioplastics into dirt.
  • Functionality: By creating a compact machine for the kitchen, Lomi can be integrated into a standard kitchen routine (e.g., dishes go into dishware, food scraps go into Lomi). To maximize environmental impact, habit formation is critical.

Food waste releases lots of methane…

… into the atmosphere when it decomposes in landfills. Conversely, soil is a major tool for absorbing carbon.

“Our plan is to get to 10m Lomis in the world as fast as possible,” says Bertulli. “This would do roughly the same amount of work in helping with carbon capture and diversion as about 100m mature trees… every year.”

The effort begins with Lomi launching a preorder campaign on Indiegogo, along with a list of “Lomi Approved” products.

If Bertulli is able to hit his ambitious unit targets and move millions of Lomi units, the “Lomi Approved” tagline could become a stamp of approval.

There is appetite for a sustainability ratings standard

In fact, 96% of the world’s biggest companies report on their own sustainability efforts.

A number of players (e.g., S&P Global) offer some form of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) rating. But Bertulli believes a bottom-up approach from consumers can win the day.

“We test countless items in our labs,” says Bertulli, who is based in Kelowna, British Columbia. “Over time, I believe consumers will demand a ‘Lomi Approved’ certification to make sure products meet high sustainability standards.”

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SNIPPETS
  • Repeat after me: UiPath — a US-based, Romania-founded software firm that automates repetitive tasks — went public on Wednesday. It closed the day with a market value of $40B+. (We’ll have more tomorrow.)
  • Least surprising result ever: Microsoft research on our brains during Zoom calls shows higher stress levels when we are on calls vs. when we are on breaks.
  • Smash that avocado: Chipotle’s YoY revenue increased 23.4% to $1.7B in Q1, with digital sales growing 133.9% and accounting for 50.1% of total sales.
Dharmesh Shah

The lessons Dharmesh Shah learned from 80+ angel investments

Dharmesh Shah is the co-founder and CTO of a SAAS company you may have heard of: Hubspot, which recently acquired The Hustle.

He is also an active angel investor in early stage startups.

One of those checks was a $500k seed round to…Hubspot.

Another went to crypto exchange Coinbase, which had a massive public debut at an $80B+ valuation last week.

Shah’s angel investing journey started 13 years ago…

…and he’s now deployed $3m+ across 80+ startups. The Hustle’s Alex Garcia spoke with Shah to find out his angel investing process.

Here are some key lessons:

  • Not all investments will be 20x+ hits: …but some should be. Given the above reality, most (if not all) of your investments should have an opportunity for outsized return.
  • Picking potential winners is only half the problem: The rest of the problem is being able to invest in the companies that you think are potential rocket ships. To stand out, you have to have some credible story as to why they should take your money vs. all the other money they have access to.
  • Speed is a feature: Part of my “brand” as an angel investor is that I make quick (usually < 24 hours) decisions. Founders LOVE that. Especially if you lead with:  “I’ve been a founder myself and I don’t want to waste your time — you’ve got better things to do than waste time waiting on me.”

These are just 3 of 11 lessons that Shah shared with us. Others include:

  • Success begets success
  • What’s a good check size
  • Bigger checks – less competition
  • Too little or too much is sub-optimal
  • Don’t let your excitement cloud your commitment

You can read the whole piece here.

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Personal Tech
Apple hardware

Apple’s latest hardware push, explained

Earlier this week, Tim Cook staged a Mission Impossible-style computer chip heist full of laser tripwire and rooftop jumps. Not gonna lie — it was dope.

The stunt was part of Apple’s hardware-heavy “Spring Loaded” event that introduced home-built M1 chips into Apple’s iconic iMac lineup.

But that certainly wasn’t the only change for iMacs

The desktop got its first major redesign in well over a decade. And we mean redesign:

  • Razor thin: The new iMac is just 11.5mm thick
  • Color splash: It comes in 7 vibrant colors
  • Zoom-ready: A new hardware-software camera combo should make you look less horrendous on Zoom

The redesign is part of a broader product strategy that’s delivered outrageous results (Apple has increased its market cap by ~$1.5T since the end of 2018).

Apple’s strategy shifted in recent years

According to tech analyst Neil Cybart, who explains how Apple recently changed from a “pull” to “push” strategy:

  • Pre-2018: Apple management pulled users toward personal products (e.g., iPhone, Apple Watch). As a result, the iPad and Mac lines languished.
  • Since 2019: Apple has pursued a “push” strategy in which all product lines are improving simultaneously (i.e., new iPhones, iPads, iMacs, etc.).

While the new desktop was announced on Tuesday…

…it was overshadowed by a Senate antitrust hearing on Wednesday.

Representatives from three Apple competitors voiced complaints:

  • Spotify: The music streaming service said Apple’s App Store policies were abusive.
  • Match Group: The dating platform highlights that payments to the App Store may hit $500m a year.
  • Tile: Finally, the maker of bluetooth device trackers told Congress that Apple’s new AirTag tracker is basically a rip-off of its own hardware.

We get it — when the maker of the world’s most profitable smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop, smartwatch, and wireless headphones says they’re entering your territory, it probably doesn’t feel great.

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Scaling a business? It ain’t always free and easy… Until now, that is.

You see, businesses are like plants – hang with me.

Your plant – AKA business – needs water (market segmentation), a little sunlight (target customers) and some good ol’ fashioned dirt (brand positioning) to grow.

Lucky for you and your harvest (last garden metaphor I swear), HubSpot offers a free training course on creating a competitive business strategy through HubSpot Academy.

Scale your business like a pro with a free in-depth strategy course from HubSpot

HubSpot’s free Competitive Strategy course takes you step-by-step through strategies to scale and grow your business, such as:

HubSpot Academy gives you all this and more, for free. No excuses now, eh?

Take the free course →
Shortage of the day
tapioca

Balls of steel tapioca (Source: Kelsey McClellan / NYT)

The pandemic caused supply shocks to many industries — from the mission critical (semiconductors) to the infinitely meme-able (toilet paper).

You may not be familiar with another shortage: tapioca (the starch ingredient for the black pearls in bubble tea).

Bubble tea (AKA boba) — which traces its roots to Taiwan — is gaining popularity across the US. But Tapioca shipments from Asia are currently sitting idle at docks in California as a backlog of containers are being unloaded, per The New York Times.

The backup is so bad that container ships are “drifting” out at sea, something that hasn’t happened since 2004.

To all the boba lovers out there, hold tight!

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