Food Cycle Science helps people around the world solve the 21st century’s food waste problem from their kitchen counters.
We started with the idea that only 3 per cent of food waste in North America was being recycled,” says Food Cycle Science CEO Bradley Crepeau. “We saw that as a systemic failure.”
With the help of the CFDC, Crepeau and his team launched the FoodCycler, a kitchen composter that quickly makes a nutrient-rich soil amendment out of food waste. The FoodCycler allows a homeowner to keep food scraps out of the traditional garbage, backyard composter or green bin, to instead recycle them in as little as four hours.
The results can be fed back into the garden plot or household potted plants to grow more food.
Our vision is to ultimately be able to provide a better solution for how you handle your food waste,” says Crepeau. “Whether you’re the homeowner or business owner or even a municipality, the idea is that the FoodCycler can provide not only a more environmentally friendly solution but an easier path to dealing with your food waste.”
To reach that vision, Crepeau and team needed drive and know-how, but they also needed support from the CFDC.
Every start-up faces a long list of challenges in their early days. For Food Cycle Science, the biggest was creating a product that could create a paradigm shift when it comes to throwing away kitchen scraps.
A more recent challenge they overcame was scaling the product outside of Canada. They now sell through Vitamix, a company which, according to Crepeau, has not launched a product outside of its core blending business in its 100 years of business.
But the parallel between the Vitamix and FoodCycler brands — the desire to not waste any food — made the partnership a natural fit. “The Vitamix consumer shares a lot of the same interests as the FoodCycler consumer,” says Crepeau.
Similarly, Food Cycle Science has partnered with the home appliance company Breville and its subsidiary Sage to sell FoodCycler in Australia and New Zealand, and throughout Europe and the United Kingdom.
The FoodCycler is now sold in over 15 countries across the globe today. And that global expansion is thanks in part to the Community Futures Eastern Ontario Network’s Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII).
Reaching those markets — and that potential as a start-up — came from a variety of support programs and initiatives through FedDev Southern Ontario. There was the Collaborative Economic Development Projects (CEDP) grant from Northumberland CFDC in 2019 that was instrumental in allowing Food Cycle Science to take their idea from concept to reality. In 2020, Food Cycle Science received $225,000 from FedDev to further commercialize their product.
The CFDC was one of FoodCycler’s first investors through the Community Venture Capital Fund.
The CFDC Equity Fund was impactful because they really served as a leader in our initial Angel equity round,” says Crepeau. “Having them as somewhat of a bedrock investor in that early round, I think allowed us to attract a lot of the additional Angels who participated in that round. I think they lend the confidence and expertise in that type of investment that a lot of investors are looking for.”
FedDev and all its supports were essential in opening doors to programs, individuals and other entrepreneurs, not to mention key stakeholders, that still support Food Cycle Science today. But the CFDC offers even more opportunity beyond investment or networking connections because, as Crepeau puts it, “they have a vested interest in our success.”