Coming from an immigrant family, we always talked about how we could meet our neighbors and integrate. When Axel went to college he was cooking a meal with friends and a person asked out of her window what we were cooking. She came over and we decided that sharing with the community should not be left to chance, we could make sharing meals a normal thing to do.
What it does
You can meet people from communities by sharing food. Create a community on the app (like the Vegans in Berlin Community). Everyone who joins your group can share with the community the meal she/he is cooking. Members get notified and can press "join" to reserve a spot to eat together or pick up the meal. The person who shares a meal gets points so that she/he can join someone who shares food next time with the community.
How we built it
The signup process is made with Facebook login and Account kit, which allowed us to give a reliable and free signup flow to users. The app is built with react native (and we're fortunate that bugsnag existed to improve the apps bugs). We created funnels for the critical actions in the app so that we know where to improve the sharing experience. We then used redux to be able to make faster changes to the app so that sharing meals could be constantly improved.
Challenges we ran into
Initially, we had a lot of bugs and speed problems that made it hard to test the concept with users. Once we got it up to speed we tried it with many communities that we thought could benefit from the solution: coworkings, hostels...but they were not really sharing much with each other. Then we had some design problems (which could still be improved): the app was not easy to use and people didn't really know how it worked.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We did manage to make the app very reliable over the weeks: faster launch time, less android bugs and faster loading times. What made us really proud was that a local NGO in Barcelona that was very enthusiastic about sharood as a tool for its neighbors to interact more with each other while sharing food. So they created the Sant Antoni Community and people have been sharing meals with each other there. The people in that community that used it tell us how impressive it was for them to be able to share with "strangers". Then the vegan communities of many cities started to pop up (Berlin, Melbourne, Freiburg, Barcelona...) and people who are interested in a vegan lifestyle were happy to have a place to meet, learn and share with fellow vegans in their city. We are also proud that three housing companies contacted us because they wanted to create sharood communities for their buildings, so that their tenants could have a community to interact with in their daily lives by sharing what they are cooking.
What we learned
We learned that we cannot underestimate design: the apps design needs to be really clear and the offline experience needs to be framed so that the community knows how to go about sharing food offline. If the online experience doesn't reflect the offline experience, then it will be hard to use. We also learned that in communities, you lead by example: we saw that by us creating communities for our groups, people who saw those communities started to create their own groups on the app. We learned that the Vegan community is the best place to start a food sharing initiative like sharood. Vegans are very dedicated to fostering community with food and care about community and the planet, helping spread the message that any vegan food is an opportunity to meet other from the local community.
What's next for Sharood
We want to take sharood to another level, the vegan community is only growing and people really want to meet others by sharing food. We are now looking for help to make the app better by introducing better social mechanics and by learning more from experts in bridging online and offline communities. Hopefully someone at Facebook or partners can get in touch with us to help us bring it forward. We know that the community wants to meet each other more and it's already happening in some communities worldwide: now we want to find the right partners to get closer to a better world where we share when we cook and can eat for free what others share.
How to try it out!
On your phone, download the app via this link to get right into the Vegan Community in Berlin (an actual community) once you've got it from the App Store or Play Store : https://sharood.app.link/veganLeftoversBerlin
Sign-up via Facebook using this test user: Facebook user email: firstname.lastname@example.org password: holahola1
Now you can wander around the app: share a meal, leftovers, create a community, invite more people in...!