Excerpt from Seven Days:
The creators of Localvore Today started their company five years ago with a simple goal: become a local version of deal-of-the-day services like Groupon. From a tiny art studio on Burlington’s Pine Street, the three-person shop dispatched daily emails selling vouchers for reduced-price dining at Vermont restaurants, which then split the coupon revenue with Localvore.
Earlier this month, the fledgling company, which now has 10 employees, announced a far more ambitious plan — to create an online platform that matches diners with restaurants serving local food in cities around the country.
In the works for more than a year, the new site — now simply called Localvore — will allow food merchants to advertise their own deals, specials and events for a monthly subscription fee. Localvore’s three founders predict it will be the only one-stop shop for every cocktail walk, oyster deal and Taco Tuesday in town.
Vermont’s Flexible Capital Fund, a group of investors who put in money without taking company shares, has made two investments since last January. “We don’t typically invest in technology businesses,” explained fund president Janice St. Onge, but the investors are backing Localvore because its business model dovetails with the fund’s mission of supporting green businesses in Vermont.
“Their ability to scale beyond Vermont,” St. Onge continued, “was something that was intriguing to us.” She hopes the new platform will prompt a chain reaction in the food system: As Localvore’s restaurant subscribers in and outside Vermont gain more customers, they may buy more food from farms in the Green Mountains.