How to build a technology company around food - John Styn of FreshRealm (Video Blog)


build a technology company with FreshRealm

Our friends at Cross Campus in Santa Monica partnered with RKS Design to host an RKS Session and featurted John Styn, Chief Wisdom Officer at Fresh Realm. John shared his story how he is working to build a technology company called FreshRealm that helps to deliver fresh food to consumers.

What is FreshRealm? (13:27)

FreshRealm is a vision for the future of food made possible by a reusable shipping Vessel and a B2B2C cloud-based technology platform. The result is faster distribution, fewer preservatives, reduced food waste, and nation-wide eradication of fresh food deserts.

FreshRealm is what happens when people apply logic and love to our food system. FreshRealm consists of 6 parts. Together these elements are designed to take our food system to the next level of efficiency, cooperation, and responsibility.

“One thing we’re banking on is we can educate people that it’s actually good to reuse something.” Tweet This
  1. FreshRealm is a Technology company
  2. “We enable brands to sell fresh food.”

  3. We are a shipping container (AKA: The Vessel)
  4. We are an experience & a network
  5. “Connected by FreshRealm” means:
    1. Connecting people to fresh food
    2. Connecting people to reduce and recycle principles
    3. Connecting people to gratitude and gifting

“Gifting is not barter; Every interaction, every person is an opportunity for you to actually feel better about yourself” Tweet This (e.g. give someone something, he becomes happy and that makes you feel good) (22:04)

FreshRealm is not... (12:33)

  • A Vessel-making company.
  • A company that sells food.

Why we use a .co website instead of a .com website? (16:57)

  • .com is the first round of internet commerce. Therefore, it’s a little more aggressive and competitive
  • it is more collaborative
  • and cooperative

What is the competitive advantage of FreshRealm over Amazon Fresh, Blue Apron and other competitors? (35:24)

Scalability - “[Amazon Fresh] is great for dense urban areas but to scale it as a national system is cost-prohibitive… Right now, Amazon Fresh adds truck to an already flawed system where they have this huge distribution centers. We are trying to bypass [the Amazon Fresh model], with consumers communicating through the cloud and directly to the food maker.”

How are you going to educate consumers that you are different from Amazon Fresh and competitors? (36:35)

  • “It goes back to the fact that we’re not actually selling any food.”
  • The marketing of the food itself is on the owners of the brand.
  • We merely “give them (brands) the selling tools.”

Since you’re already 50 percent (privately) owned, are you still raising money to get more funds? How do you plan to make your product better-known? (40:28)

“One of the challenges that we have is that we can’t step on the toes of any of these (client) brands. We’re trying not to be a food brand at all; we try to be known as ‘powered by’ kind of thing.“ [Tweet This]

Given the economics of the Vessel, who are your target consumers right now? (42:20)

Right now, our target customers are:

  • Families
  • People on a diet
  • Elderly
  • We also have this thing called ‘co-drop.’ It’s for people who want to share a Vessel because one Vessel can contain so much food. It will be dropped at some place the co-droppers are already going such as their workplace or a café or a gym.

How are you going to pitch your underlying message to all those people who you can’t be in the room with? (44:15)

FreshRealm is currently in the process of building an app that is pretty much like Whisper but instead of sharing secrets, it encourages companies and customers to share gratitude and keep the connection going.

Any thoughts on how to impose the ethos of gifting to your merchants? (47:10)

We have an icon an implanted on the checkout and it’s up to the merchants if they want to do something about it. It is “our mandate, our enforcer” and “I’m all for forcing niceness...but.”

How do food and food products get into the system? (48:30)

Right now, we are only working with national food producers that could cater cross-country orders. Eventually, the process would be that the food are dropped at the food packer and then brought to the households that ordered them. Still working with big food providers to get everything ironed out.

Is pink John Styn’s natural hair color?

  • “I’ve been pink for 12 years now so only my hairstylist knows for sure. :) ”

  • If you enjoyed this blog post, please visit our friends Cross Campus or RKS Design to learn more about their mission.

    What questions do you have for John Styn and FreshRealm on how to build a technology company? Leave us a comment below.