Get to know Freshspire, an electrical and computer engineering alumni startup.
July 6, 2022 By Engineering Communications
Freshspire, launched in 2018 by Shraddha Rathod, helps local retailers and restaurants more efficiently source food from small- and mid-size farms.
Rathod, electrical and computer engineering ‘18, started Freshspire to help farmers have better market access to businesses. Supported by a Miller Fellowship, she teamed up with Matthew Simpson, computer science, physics and mathematics ‘18, to develop an order, vendor and data management software. Ziwa Mukungu joined as vice president of product.
“We realized that we could provide great engineering and good software to an industry that traditionally lacked it,” Rathod said. “So, we decided to create a more efficient way to let buyers know what’s available and let farmers sell their products. This results in more reliable communication so it could be transported more quickly and therefore reduce waste, improve market access for farmers and make food systems more sustainable.”
Triangle-based co-op Weaver Street Market was an early client. Like many stores relying on smaller farms, sourcing was often time-consuming, handled over texts, emails and calls. Since switching to Freshspire, the co-op decreased its time spent on orders by 80 percent.
More recently, Wake County hired Freshspire to help manage its food security and emergency food programs during the pandemic. Freshspire partnered with nonprofits to source food boxes supplied to people in need.
Rathod aims to expand throughout North Carolina and the East Coast. She credits her success to their user-focused and mission-driven approach.
“It’s not just profits we care about, it’s also social impact,” she said. “Because of … what we’re standing for, we’ve created even more impact than we ever thought we’d be able to at this early stage.”