The Social Innovation Podcast had the pleasure of speaking with Lin Hwang, a co-Founder and the CEO of DamoGo, a platform that helps reduce food waste by helping retailers and farms sell their unsold food and produce at a discount before it gets thrown away.  Lin is an extremely experienced food-tech entrepreneur dedicated to making a positive impact through reducing food waste.

Lin and I discussed the following topics:

  • How he thought he wanted to be an Investment Banker until he visited his father’s newly purchased seafood processing plant and saw a massive opportunity to digitize the operation and grew the business 700%
  • His move to Korea to grow the international side of that business
  • Seeing a market for U.S. restaurant to expand to Korea and helping ‘The Halal Guys’ do just that
  • Mentoring one of his student interns and his friend on their food waste project to participate in an Impact Investment competition and then deciding to work with the team full-time
  • Building DamoGo in Korea first and then moving to Indonesia and innovating the business model with both retail outlets and farmers
  • His and the DamoGo team’s commitment to solving the problem of food waste globally
  • How everyone wins, including the planet

See the full transcript below.

Michael Waitze 0:00
Okay, we’re on. Hi, this is Michael Waitz. And welcome back to the social innovation podcast. Today I’m joined by Lin Hwang, a co-founder and the CEO at DamoGo, Lin, how are you doing today?

Lin Hwang 0:12
Doing great, especially since I just got out of my two-week quarantine from traveling overseas. I got out last week. So doing really great.

Michael Waitze 0:20
Wait. So where are you now? Are you in Korea? Are you in Indonesia?

Lin Hwang 0:24
I’m in Korea. I was in Indonesia for a month back here. And I have to go back as soon as I can to Indonesia. But they just closed off the borders to all foreigners right after I left. So I can’t go until they lift that. So hopefully soon.

Michael Waitze 0:39
So are you a Korean citizen? Does that mean you can be in Korea without any issues?

Lin Hwang 0:45
I’m actually I’m an American citizen. But I have something called an overseas Korean visa. Since my parents are from Korea, and I’m ethnically Korean, I was able to get a pretty long-term visa.

Michael Waitze 0:56
So in Korea, you have to stay in a hotel for two weeks. Like how does that work?

Lin Hwang 1:02
Well, since I’m a long-term resident, I could stay at home so I was able to quarantine at home, which made it obviously a lot easier. Yeah. But it was it wasn’t too bad, but it’s much better to be out obviously.

Michael Waitze 1:13
Yeah, for sure. Quarantining is hard. Can you give us a little bit more of your background for context? And then we’ll jump into the main topic…

Lin Hwang 1:20
Sure, sure. So again, I’m a Korean American born and raised in the States in the New York area, mostly. I, let’s see after college, I started working for an investment bank called Merrill Lynch in operations.

Michael Waitze 1:34
I like how you say Merrill Lynch, like, no one’s ever heard of it.

Lin Hwang 1:39
And yeah, I was there for a few years, I decided I want to go into investment banking, not even knowing what it was just people making a lot of money back then. So I quit my job to do my MBA full time, decided, finance wasn’t something that I was interested in while I was doing my studies. And I said, You know what, I should do something that I really like, which I really love baseball. So I wanted to work for Major League Baseball internationally. That was kind of what I wanted to do after I graduated. But at that time, right before I graduated, I visited my parents who moved to rural Maryland, because my father bought a seafood factory, like a small seafood processing plant. And as I was there, I just saw a lot of opportunity. Things were done the same way for, you know, I guess, 100 years over there. And he took it over. And I convinced him to let me join them. He wouldn’t let me at first. He was like, why would you leave New York to work at a quote-unquote, factory in the country, you know, but I convinced him. Long story short, I grew when I after I joined, I grew revenue by like 700% in a few years. We were distributing seafood locally, regionally, and then started exporting. That led me to really good contacts in the US government trade groups, and they asked me to help other American companies, food companies export the products into Asia. And that is the reason I moved to Korea. I started consulting, and I moved to Korea to get more buyers and importers of American food. But as I was doing that, as soon as I got to Korea, I started negotiating with an American restaurant franchise, and I ended up exclusively importing an operating an American restaurant franchise called ‘The Halaal Guys’ from New York. It’s super famous. Yeah, I did that for, you know, and I did that for a couple of years, then decided I wanted to try to import more restaurant franchises into Korea. And that’s when I had an intern who was a third-year student and university. And he had a friend that was from Indonesia, that’s also a student. And he wanted to enter a startup competition based on social impact startup competition in Korea was actually an international competition, but it was based in Korea. And he had concerns about food waste. He wants to do something about it. So he wanted to enter this competition he had no they both had no industry experience. So the two students asked if I could advise them. And I did. And as we were doing it, I said, You know what, this could be really big. And one guy dropped out, but the other guy, the Indonesian. I said You know what, let’s do this full time. And, and that’s what happened is that that was the start of our startup journey.

Michael Waitze 4:24
Okay, I want to unpack a little bit of this, right. So you’re in New York, you’re working for Merrill Lynch. And you you’re in the back office? Yeah, basically. And you say, I want to be an investment banker. So you go to business school, where did you go to business school?

Lin Hwang 4:36
Actually, it was at Fordham in New York, Fordham Business School, and part of it was also actually in Beijing and Peking University’s program.

Michael Waitze 4:43
Okay, so that’s awesome. Right? So you enter like a really good MBA program and you’re sitting there going, maybe I don’t like this so much. And your Dad did not start this seafood processing plant. He actually went and bought it.

Lin Hwang 4:54
Yeah, he was actually a, he had a kind of like an I don’t know what you call it, a fish cake, we call it it’s called Odeng in Korean. And he had a small processing plant in the Bronx in New York before that. And the owner, of the factory in Maryland, was one of his suppliers. And he asked, Hey, you know what, maybe you want to come down to the country and buy me out. And you know, that’s what he did.

Michael Waitze 5:19
So when you went down there, right, you said, okay, maybe finance is not for me. But when you went down there and looked at the factory in rural Maryland, what was it about that factory that said to you, Okay, wait a second, this is a massive opportunity. Even if your dad said to you, you’re fired, basically, before you were hired?

Lin Hwang 5:35
Yeah, I mean, things were just, it was, there was no digitation, which, which ended doing it but everything was even, even the scales that you use to weigh and track the amount of seafood that’s coming in from the fish boats. It’s those old scales with weights on it. I swear, you know, and this, this was 2007. And, and I’m sure there’s a lot of small seafood processing plants around the country that still probably do this. But yeah, that was that’s what they were using. And, you know, these just these people, everything was on paper, and it was just, and there was a lot of seafood coming. I just saw opportunity of like, and one of the things was there was a lot of seafood coming in, but they would throw away stuff that it wasn’t sellable in the market, when the boats, right. And the fishermen were throwing stuff away. So and I saw that waste, and you know, people don’t really realize this general public, but you know, these fishermen. There’s bycatch. It’s called bycatch. You know…

Michael Waitze 6:37
You’re trying to catch one kind of catch other fish along with it. Is this net catching, it’s gotta be Yeah, yeah.

Lin Hwang 6:43
Yeah. That catch it? Yeah. Um, so yeah. And then, you know, and I saw, I saw that, and I was like, You know what, we can get more money for the fishermen if we can sell the stuff. And since my father is originally from Korea, and he also sells into like, international supermarkets in the States. I was like, that’s how we started exporting. I was like, You know what, we need to go to Korea. You know, I my Korean wasn’t a great time my father spoke native Korean, I was ready to go. And there’s some seafood here. We should be, we can make more money for the fishermen. And we can and we can make money too, right? And we’re reducing like waste. It’s just a waste of fish. It’s like getting thrown away. And that’s what we did. And that’s that that was kind of what fueled our growth, because we started selling some bycatch as well, exporting.

Michael Waitze 7:27
That’s awesome. And look, this is so interesting to me because there is actually a social impact part of this as well. I mean, you look at the fishermen and say they could be making more money. This is also a classic sort of private equity deal, even though it wasn’t run by some kind of private equity company. You buy this processing plant, you just say wait a second, if we modernize this thing, not only can our margins explode, but our business itself can explode. So you’re doubling down on growth. Yeah.

Lin Hwang 7:53
Yeah. Yeah, it was great. It was great. And then people, these fishermen started hearing further away, and they were like, Hey, can you sell this? Can you sell this I get this bycatch. I get this right. And that kind of started happening.

Michael Waitze 8:04
When you finally got to Korea and you were running these American restaurants, right. And then you met your co-founders, I was gonna ask you that. But I mean, obviously, it’s obvious how you met them. What made you just go in on this all in? Right, because it’s very different than running restaurants. very different than running sort of a social impact. Yeah, business. Yeah. Yeah. That seems to be in you, no?

Lin Hwang 8:26
Yeah. Yeah. I didn’t know at the time before I got into like an entrepreneur being an entrepreneur in the mid-late 20s. Um, but yeah, I didn’t realize I was an entrepreneur, I had a total entrepreneurial personality. So yeah, I’m always gonna be an entrepreneur, for sure.

Michael Waitze 8:43
So tell me more about you left your other business did you leave for other businesses? Did you sell them? Or are they still running? And then you just went in all in on this other opportunity?

Lin Hwang 8:52
Yeah, I just, I just left the businesses. And we were just starting, you know, like, bringing all the restaurant franchises. We’re just starting. I just stopped doing that. And started doing this.

Michael Waitze 9:02
Wow. Okay, so what’s the status now? Why don’t we talk about exactly what DamoGo is? And maybe you can tell me about the genesis of the name as well.

Lin Hwang 9:11
Sure. Yeah. Let me I guess I’ll explain what DamoGo was first, and then I’ll explain the name. It’ll make more sense. Perfect. So So basically, there’s a huge huge stat that people are just finding out about now. It’s a crazy stat, which is one-third of all the food that is produced in this entire world never gets touched. It never gets eaten. One third.

Michael Waitze 9:32
Wow. Go ahead.

Lin Hwang 9:33
It’s crazy. People are just starting to find this out. People are talking about it now. That and that food waste. You know when you say waste most places it ends up in landfills, right that that gets untouched. We’re talking about it gets lost in production, it gets lost in transit, it gets lost at the restaurant retail about grocery stores they’re throwing it away at grocery stores. If it’s like past the sell-by-date, which doesn’t mean it’s bad, it doesn’t mean it’s expired, it’s just the best the quality starts to probably deteriorate a little bit. But it’s perfectly good for a while. But it’s surplus food too they’re throwing it away. And this, a lot of this ends up in landfills. And when it gets to landfills, it ends up creating methane gas as it rots, and methane is one of the most harmful greenhouse gases. So it’s a huge contributor to greenhouse gases. And, and there’s another stat, that if these, if this if food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world if it was a country that is behind the US and China. So it’s that impactful and harmful.

Michael Waitze 10:42
Again, there are so many things to unpack here, right? So it happens at the production, it happens in transit, it happens everywhere. It happens, either at the retail level, is there a way? In other words, will the food degrade so much in sort of what I’ll call secondary transit, right? So like, after a supermarket decides we don’t want this anymore after a restaurant says we can’t cook this anymore, even after it’s been cooked, will it degrade too much in between the time like people find that out. And then you can get it to another person where they could actually somebody who actually needs food and doesn’t have food, and they can actually eat it? Or is that possible?

Lin Hwang 11:17
Well, it depends on the product. Obviously, if it’s just cooked, or if it’s a if it’s prepared at a restaurant, you know, legally, you can’t have food for two hours. So after two hours, you have to throw it away by law. And this is actually most parts of the world. But if it’s food that’s been just, you know, if it’s like for a restaurant, for example, our restaurant Halal Guya. You know, it’s good. It’s a fast-casual restaurant, so it’s prepared ahead of time, and then it’s in pans. And when customers come in, you take out, you know, you take out the pan and just portion it out. But at the end of the day, because we don’t know how many customers we’re going to get, we might have enough for like, four or ten you know, different portions for people, you know, we would throw it away in the beginning, we would give it away to our employees, but they can get sick of it, you know,

Michael Waitze 12:02
Right, same food every day, I get it. Yeah…

Lin Hwang 12:04
You know, we end up having to throw it away. And especially during training, because you got to train for one or two weeks, the staff were throwing away a couple 100 kilos a week, it could be 100 kilos a week of meat, and it’s perfectly good. And I Hate Waste. I’ve always hated waste. So I was trying to donate it. But it’s so difficult to donate. This is another problem that everyone has that restaurant owners. Number one, they don’t have the time. Number two, it’s so difficult to find someone…somewhere to donate, you know, and then people think there’s, they’re liable if someone gets sick. And that’s another thing, at least in the States and in Korea, if you’re donating food from restaurants in good faith, even if somebody dies, you’re not liable unless there was negligence or unless you did it on purpose. So that’s another thing that is preventing people from donating food, but it’s they’re protected, people are protected. At least in the US and Korea

Michael Waitze 12:54
Let me share a personal story with you without naming names. One of the jobs that I had in Tokyo every Friday, they would have pizza and beer night every Friday, right? So at five o’clock after the markets closed after trading stopped. And you know, it was Friday. So the next day there wasn’t anything to do. The company would buy pizza and beer and other sort of snacks for the entire equity trading floor. And I remember getting there. I remember everyone like what’s the average salary for people on that floor? 300,000 $400,000 a year? Yeah, on average, maybe more anyway, they don’t need food. But at the end of the beer night or at the end of the pizza and beer night, there’d be a ton of stuff left over. And I remember my first Friday there saying to them, what are you doing with this food? And they’re like just packing it up to throw it away. So I said, Can I take it? And I got the it was weird. Right, because, remember you said before? Like it’s hard to donate? Yeah. Yeah. And I got these weird looks like, Don’t you have enough money to like buy your own dinner kind of thing. And I had to convince them like, I’m not eating this for me, I’m gonna go give it away. Because near where I lived, even in Tokyo, there was a whole group of sort of homeless people that lived under this bridge near where I lived. And every Friday, I would take that food and give it to them. Yeah. And the other thing that we did was I would take my daughter on the back of my scooter, and help her donate and what ended up happening at home and I think this is sort of this can happen everywhere. is at the end of every meal. Even on a Tuesday night or Thursday night if there was excess food. My daughter who was very young at the time would say to me, we can’t throw this away. Let’s give this to somebody.

Lin Hwang 14:38
That is amazing.

Michael Waitze 14:40
So this is really important to me. This is not to say like how cool I am. This is just to say that there’s got to be a process and a way to take all this one-third of all the food produced in the world that never gets eaten that creates methane gas. That leads to climate change and global warming. There’s got to be a systematic way to deal with it. So why don’t you tell me again, we never got to what the definition of DamoGo. But why don’t you tell me again? Like what that means? And then what the systematic way is? Yeah, across different verticals where this can actually happen.

Lin Hwang 15:14
Yeah. So So DamoGo. Is…what it’s actually, in Korean, it’s Tamago, which means eat it all, we kind of needed a quote-unquote, cuter like, calling it DamoGo. And so it means eat it all. And then there’s another meaning, which also means like, wrap it and take it away. Right? So it has two meanings. That essentially, you know, don’t throw away food. So that’s the meaning of it. And what we do you know, it, we’re a startup. And what we do is, what we originally started doing was we would partner with restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, cafes, because these stores, food stores, almost always have some untouched food that goes to waste. And it’s it’s a huge waste, right. And basically, if you think, think going to a bakery near closing time, and there’s still pastries on the shelves, and a lot of people probably may be wondering, what happens is it ends up getting thrown away the majority of the time. Yeah, that’s, there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s still good. You know, it’s good for another few days. You know, so so basically what we do, we partner with these stores. And when they have unsold food, they would upload it to our app, you know, like how many pieces of food there is, and it would be sold at a discount. So it’s like a flash sale at the end of the day. And then users can find it on the app. And they can purchase it, they’re saving money. But they’re also obviously reducing waste. They’re literally every purchase, they’re reducing waste they’re reducing food from going to waste, that that that’s the basic premise of what we do. So it’s like a through an app, it’s a kind of a flash sale of food, that is still perfectly good. This is not like quote, unquote, leftover. It’s not touched food. This is food that a minute ago was full price. And now it’s at a discount, and it’s still good. That’s what we started doing.

Michael Waitze 17:03
Can I just interrupt you for a second? I just want to run through what that process looks like. There’s an application, I download the app, I’m just a consumer, I’m not even another business. So it’s not a B2B thing. I’m sure there’s some kind of B2B2C thing here that I haven’t understood yet. But if I’m a consumer, and I haven’t bought my bread yet, for the day, I can, like search for bread and find a bakery that’s closing for the night, that’s literally just gonna throw it away, if I don’t buy it, and I get to buy it at some kind of discount, then how did the logistics get handled for that?

Lin Hwang 17:35
Yeah, and, and so basically, the customer. And it’s not just at the end of the day, because some bakeries actually do a flash sale in the morning, or there are breakfast buffets at hotels look like that lunch buffet. So it’s pretty much all day, but majority is at night, so that they open the app and, you know, you could see a list by distance of food items, you could do a search, or you can with a map section where you can see what’s around you. And you could do a search too and then yeah, you just purchase it, every store has their own pickup times, you know, it could be as little as 15 minutes or as short as 15 minutes but could be a few hours. So if you purchase it now you might have a few hours to go pick it up. So you just have to go to the store within that pickup time. You know, show them the receipt, and then they’ll give you the food. So it’s it’s pickup. And basically, you would look what’s near you or your workplace, or on the way if it’s if you have something on the way home, you can see you know, you can search near your home before you leave work and see what’s around. So yeah, that’s that’s what we do. Hopefully, we’ll be adding delivery sometime in the future, as well, to make it easier.

Michael Waitze 18:39
Okay, but you said you started with that, and then I interrupted you. So has there been a change in that as well, or just an addition?

Lin Hwang 18:46
We had it we had an addition. So you know, we started in Korea. We started in Korea in 2019. We after about six months of operations, we decided to completely pivot to Indonesia. So we’re operating in Indonesia right now we started operating in Indonesia last year, we made the decision in January of last year, just a year ago to pivot to the much bigger market and my co-founder is from Indonesia. He has good contacts. we pilot tested in May for three months. And we just launched in August. As we were pilot testing, what ended up happening was some group of farmers heard about us.

Michael Waitze 19:23
Wait a second… a group of farmers heard about us, what were they doing just like trolling around on the internet? Like how did that happen?

Lin Hwang 19:29
Yeah, I actually thought it was just a kind of word of mouth a friend of a friend. Yeah.

Michael Waitze 19:35
Okay, that’s awesome. Sorry, go ahead.

Lin Hwang 19:36
So they heard about, you know, this startup company trying to reduce waste or whatnot. And they, the problem they had was they had a surplus of harvests, you know, these are small farms, small farms. And because restaurants were buying less so, you know, their distributors, their buyers were buying less, because of COVID, and they had this and then of course, there was also ugly or imperfect fruit and vegetables that these farmers are growing imperfect as in there’s cosmetic damage or it looks weird, or maybe the carrot has doesn’t. It’s not shaped the way you want to be shaped. So grocery stores don’t want it.

Michael Waitze 20:13
Right. But let’s be Let’s be, let’s be clear about this. I mean, I can be explicit, right? Yeah, just because a carrot has a bump in it. Like we’ve been conditioned by advertising that a carrot has to have a certain shape and actually a certain color. And same thing with apples. Same thing with bananas, same thing with pineapples, pick any piece of produce that you want. And we’ve been brainwashed to believe if it’s not a certain shape, then it’s not good. Exactly, that’s not true.

Lin Hwang 20:39
Yeah, there’s nothing wrong.

Michael Waitze 20:40
There’s nothing wrong with it. But that stuff is getting thrown away. That’s what you’re saying. Because people have been basically brainwashed not to buy an apple with a bump or a banana that has like a thing. You don’t I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it. In other words, 400 years ago, if you found that banana, you would just eat it and not think about it.

Lin Hwang 20:54
Right? Exactly. Yeah, it’s there’s nothing wrong with it’s perfectly good. So they, they asked, hey, you know, we have this surplus of this harvest? You know, certainly we can’t, you know, it’s hard to sell, are you able to help us? Then we found that the supply chain, it was really fragmented. And there’s like, tons of middlemen, the prices are just like everywhere else, you know, most places, some of the places it’s gotten better, but yeah, Indonesia, that was going on. So we, you know, we said, you know, what, since we have a bunch of restaurant partners, why don’t we see if we, if they’re interested in buying this straight from the farmers, and we would help, we would do the logistics. So we started exploring that, as we were pilot testing last year, and then what ended up happening was the restaurants and the hotels, we found also found out that they had like someone that had like over 10 different suppliers, you know, because some suppliers only had a couple of varieties of fruit and vegetables. So now we were, it was like a one-stop-shop because we had at that time, we had already over 100 different items. Because farmers will put a bunch of different things. It was also cheaper, obviously, because it’s kind of like a, quote-unquote, lower grade because of cosmetic damage, but it doesn’t matter to restaurants and hotels.

Michael Waitze 22:13
Think about this, though. If I order a salad like a vinaigrette salad that has apples in it, I have no idea what that apple looks like. And as long as it tastes good. And of course, it’s not doesn’t have lots of chemicals in it. I kind of don’t care.

Lin Hwang 22:27
Exactly, exactly. So we started doing that. And that part, that B2B part just started growing for us. And it just started really growing. And our revenue really started growing, I think our revenue grew like 13 times over four months. Because of that, because of that, and, and it’s all manual right now, though, you know, so it’s like, we don’t, we have an app for partners to upload, you know, food to our app, so they can sell it right. But we’re now working on kind of digitizing that where now the as soon as already, the restaurants can order through the app, right, they can order through the app, see all the pricing through the app. And then we’ll be adding other suppliers on there for them, because they have other suppliers as well, if it’s condiments or packaging, and they’ll be able to see all the suppliers, right there. And with a click of a button, they can make orders and see all the invoices, and it’s just going to make everything so much easier. And it’s going to also reduce waste, that also reduces waste, because we’re selling obviously, imperfect produce as well. But we sell regularly now too, but we’re helping farmers. So hopefully all of their harvest that not yet but we hope to get there. And then we’re helping you know, the restaurants with ways to buy so that they can sell their unsold food. So, you know, we’re trying to be we right now, you know, eventually want to be like a total end-to-end solution eventually, because like I said, my background I saw and I unwillingly participated in wasting perfectly good food.

Michael Waitze 23:58
I was just thinking about how your father relenting and letting you go into the seafood processing plant and understanding that applying technology to a perfectly fine business, but one that wasn’t efficient enough, could end up making it much more profitable. But it would also open up different opportunities. And if you fast forward to today and look at what you’re doing. That experience actually comes in super handy. Because now you know what I mean? Like you can’t build the technology fast enough probably to keep up with the opportunity that you’re seeing. So money would help that for sure. But also, I want to understand like because this is like almost like a two or three-sided marketplace. Let’s just trace like one piece of produce and tell me where I get this wrong. Let’s say a farmer has an apple that has a little bit of it’s a little bit deformed or it’s imperfect, but still delicious. Yeah. And they sell a bunch of those to a restaurant and at the end of this so the restaurant gets a better deal. You handle logistics for them, you handle payments, there are other things to do here as well. And at the end of the day, or even if they have a flash sale, they sell off some of the stuff they don’t think they’re going to use to consumers, which weren’t the target market for those apples in the first place. Because that was meant that produce was meant to be given to restaurants, everybody benefits, there’s a logistics, there’s a logistics aspect to this there is a marketplace aspect to it, there’s a payments aspect to it. But there’s also a social benefit, because by reducing waste, by definition, you’re helping the globe, but you’re also reducing that production of methane, which then contributes to a lack of more climate change and global warming. Exactly. That sounds kind of cool.

Lin Hwang 25:42
Yeah, cuz there’s literally no one, no one loses. It’s literally everyone wins, including the planet. And, and, you know, and including local city government, because there’s less waste to manage. And, you know, when you’re wasting even at home, like, if you’re wasting food at home, yeah, like say, say you just bought like 10 apples, and, you know, you end up only eating like six, and then you have four and you end up just letting it rot or throw it away. Like, you’re not just wasting the money, you pay for that. But you’re wasting every single resource and energy along the chain. Yeah, for the farmers, you know, the transport and the water. And you know, the land used, it’s like, it’s all going to waste. It’s not just the money paid for it. It’s it’s, you know, it’s a huge impact. A huge negative impact.

Michael Waitze 26:30
Yeah. So I mean, I said, this in the beginning, but I will not throw away food.

Lin Hwang 26:34
Yeah. And I know, it comes from my Mom, when I was growing up, my Mom would never let me leave food on the table…I would always have to eat everything in high school too, I would finish my friend, my high school friends during lunch. I’ll finish their, plates too.

Michael Waitze 26:48
Yeah, I mean, that’s maybe a different story. But I get the fact that you don’t want to waste the food. Yeah. What’s the status of the business today?

Lin Hwang 26:57
You know, we just launched Indonesia in August. And we’re now fundraising, we did a bunch of hires that we needed, but we need a lot more hires. You know, for for for the app development for logistics, managers. Yeah. So we’re fundraising. We’re doing our seed raise right now for $450,000. US dollars. Okay. That should get us to just operate better, faster, and make more impact?

Michael Waitze 27:23
And what’s the best way for people to contact you if they’re interested in any aspect of your business, whether they’re a client or potential investor, or, you know, on either side of this marketplace? What’s the best way to get you?

Lin Hwang 27:35
Email…my email is, lin@damogo.co.kr.

Michael Waitze 27:47
Okay, and the last question I’ll ask you, before I go is you need to consider you need to think about having, and this comes out of my experience on my Asia InsurTech Podcast. There’s an insurance angle here as well, yeah?

Lin Hwang 28:01
We had we haven’t explored insurance yet. But you mean to insure food?

Michael Waitze 28:06
To insure the food to ensure every part of the sort of distribution, there are plenty of things you can do on the insurance side, if you think about, you know, your farmers, or your restaurants, not so much on the consumer side. But once you get a bulk of people, if you think about the way insurance work, it’s mostly pooled, right? So once you have 100,000 200,000, however many users you have, and I’m presuming you’ll expand out of Indonesia, I’ll tell you why. Because this issue is just as prevalent in Vietnam and Thailand. And it’s prevalent in the United States as well. Right. Right. So is that if you can get depending on how many people you get on your platform, then there’s an insurance angle as well, which happy to talk about offline.

Lin Hwang 28:46
Yeah, I would love to talk about that offline.

Michael Waitze 28:49
Okay, Lin, this was awesome. I want to thank Lin Hwang, a co-founder and the CEO at DamoGo, hopefully, I pronounced that right. I love the name, by the way, for coming in and doing this today. This was awesome.

Lin Hwang 29:01
Thank you for having me. You know, it’s great. I love telling that story. So thank you.

Social Innovation Podcast - Episode 29 - Lin Hwang - co-Founder and CEO of DamoGo - One Third of Food That Gets Produced Never Gets Eaten

by Lin Hwang | Social Innovation Podcast