Within just a few months, a young team of EIT Digital graduates successfully completed the EIT Digital Venture Program and went on to launch their startup - a venture with an important mission and business idea: making the world free of food waste!
Comprising four EIT Digital Master School students - Kacper Skawinski, Waliyah Sahqani, Ferran Montraveta Roca, and Javier Benitez - as well as University of Manchester alumna Maria Maciągowska, the team members of Grape (Digital Grocery) Inventory won the Growth Package Prize of the EIT Digital Venture Program out of more than 300 applications from 20 EU Countries.
In July, the Grape Inventory team successfully finished the 2-months pre-acceleration program delivered by Krakow Technology Park and started their company in Poland.
According to Grape Inventory’s CEO, Maria, Grape is “on a mission to make homes free of food waste and help people save money while saving our planet”. Grape Inventory is being built by a team of visionaries who want to drive real change. Their ambition is to become a pioneer of consumer grocery analytics and lead the way in digital food tracking. In order to tackle the food waste problem, Grape Inventory’s team developed an automated grocery inventory solution, which scans shopping receipts, tracks expiry dates of products purchased and notifies users when items are approaching expiry. By these means, Grape Inventory empowers users to decrease household food waste and make clever purchase decisions. Grape Inventory utilizes machine learning and deep learning algorithms to create a seamless user experience.
The team members met during their studies at the EIT Digital Master School in Helsinki two years ago. They came from different technology interests and therefore enrolled in different courses (Cloud Computing, Autonomous Systems, Human Computer Interaction etc.). Ferran notes that “The EIT Digital Master School diversity of courses helped us to form a team with complementary skills. Even before the Master School, I wanted to become an entrepreneur. Thanks to the Master School, I met likeminded people who were excited about joining forces on a common entrepreneurial journey”.
The EIT Digital Master School equips its students with entrepreneurial skills, helping them to become the new generation of tech and business leaders. Javier adds: “The crucial factor to become interested in the startup world was the EIT Digital Master and Summer Schools’ stimulating environment, the Startup Experience classes and the contagious effect of being surrounded by people (mentors, professors, entrepreneurs) with a strong business mindset”.
Kacper recalls that they first teamed up to participate at various hackathons across Europe. The team won the “Best Financial Data Solution” challenge at a Nordic Health Hackathon and was one of the top teams at HackYeah, a hackathon aimed at developing solutions which are applicable in the fight against the effects of COVID-19. The idea of building a digital inventory was born during these weekend competitions. Eventually, the EIT Digital Venture Program gave the team the chance to take the decisive step towards its MVP, thanks to its two months pre-acceleration program delivered by Krakow Technology Park and the support of experienced business development and sales mentors. As Maria puts it “With its structured goal and milestone set and its ambitious and challenging agenda, the EIT Digital Venture Program helped us to work on the needed partnerships with charities and broaden our network. The financial support was the right fit to our needs at this stage of development of our startup. We are now finalizing the testing of the solution and are getting ready to launch it in Q4 of 2020.”
Grape Inventory is looking to join forces with grocery stores, zero-waste advocates, charities and businesses who share a mission of fixing the broken food system. If you would like to join their efforts, please visit their website https://grape-inventory.com/ or contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.