Our mission to democratize fresh food began in 2010, when our founder, Darwin, was faced with a problem. He had stepped out of a business conference in Singapore for a quick bite to eat, but he only saw long food lines and candy bar vending machines. Darwin realized he could have fresh or quick, but not both. With a love for food and engineering, he set out to solve this problem.
He found part of the solution while on a business trip to Japan, where he saw fresh food vending machines in places where consumers needed them most. The Japanese were onto something, but, for Darwin, this begged the question,
“Why is there not fresh food vending in every country!?”
He hypothesized that it was due to a lack of trust. While Japanese food retail had thrived on sushi-grade standards of quality and freshness, other countries had steered toward maximizing efficiency and shelf life. If Darwin could find a way to garner trust with a familiar fresh food brand and invent technology that engendered consumer confidence, he could open fresh food vending to the world.
The idea for microstores came in 2013 when Darwin was working as a lab tech. His lab used smart stickers to keep track of equipment that had been returned to a storage cabinet. Darwin had a light bulb moment as he thought about this smart inventory tracking. He could provide fresh food companies with fridges that use smart stickers to track the inventory of different food items. This would allow consumers to inspect items freely before paying, giving them confidence they were buying quality fresh food. With the trust problem solved, Darwin got to work, and the first microstore prototype was born.
Since then, we have helped organizations from mom-and-pop restaurants to large foodservice firms break free from traditional hours, costs, and locations. By empowering organizations with unattended microstores, we are fulfilling our vision of fresh food accessibility for all people.