June 12, 2023

Episode 291: Chai Nadig & Diz Petit, Founders of LiquiDonate

Chai Nadig has a bias for action and is skilled at building tangible tech for good products. His expertise in software and logistics, and keenness for social impact make him the perfect candidate to found a company such as LiquiDonate. LiquiDonate is a sustainable social impact solution for retailers and businesses to donate unsellable goods to nonprofits.

Diz Petit is the Founder and CEO of LiquiDonate, a sustainable social impact solution for businesses and nonprofits. She received her BA in Organizational Communication and her MBA in Sustainable Social Impact.

LiquiDonate combines Diz's years of experience working with tech companies to implement social impact programs that leverage their existing business model and evolving technologies with her love for the work and people of nonprofits. With an ambitious mission, Diz set out to reduce landfill waste and enable circularity by connecting retailers’ excess, unsold, and returned inventory to nonprofits via seamless technology with the founding of LiquiDonate.

Prior to founding LiquiDonate, Diz was employee 15 at Postmates, spoke at the UN on Food Security, and won the Time Magazine Invention of the Year award for one of the social impact products she helped build.

Chai:getting food to people who cannot afford is way more important than deliveringfood to teenagers that order it on the Postmates app.  

Diz:Reusing things is awesome and it's something that is really impactful in theclimate space.

Julian:Hey everyone. Thank you so much for joining the Behind Company Lines podcast.Today we have Chai and Diz founders of LiquiDonate. Liquidonate is asustainability and social impact solution for retailers and businesses todonate unsellable goods to nonprofits. Chaiis, I'm so excited to chat with bothof you, not only because of, your entrepreneurial journeys, which is reallyexciting, but also this whole kind of sustainability kind of motion that a lotof companies are leaning into where we've seen there's so much surplus in theworld and there's so many individuals that.

Need, makematerials, clothes, goods, and it's out there, but for some reason there's adisconnect connecting the two of those different parties. So really interestedto see about how you've able to solve that problem, but also where you're goingwith it and where the company's going undertake.

So before we getinto all that, Chai, what were you doing before you started the company? I'llhave you go first.  

Chai:Hi Julian. Thanks for hosting us. What I was doing before LiquiDonate wasworking with Diz and Postmates. Yeah. Yeah. We've had the opportunity ofworking together in the past and for four years at Postmates, we built othersocial impact products.

They were mostlyaround food. Yeah. And one of the biggest products that we built there was tosalvage leftover food from restaurants and have it donated to local food banksand nonprofits. Yeah. I'll let this talk about the other product that we builtat Postmates while we were working together.

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. And I was gonna ask Diz, I would love for you to share as well,kind of, you're part of that story. But, but in addition to that, also curiousabout what is, what is needed. It seems simple. Okay, I have extra food, I haveextra stuff to give or give away at that time what was needed in terms of likefrom a supply chain or operational standpoint to actually deliver that.

Diz:Yeah, absolutely. Well, Julian, thanks for having us on the show. Super excitedto be here with Chai and representing LiquiDonate. To answer your firstquestion, I was the 15th employee at Postmates. So I spent a lot of time in theearly days at Postmates running customer service. Started our sales andbusiness development team signed the first 500 restaurants to the platform, didsome PM work on the merchant tablet, which is what most third party deliverycompanies are still using today.

And then wasworking with Chai on our social impact technology at, at Postmates. So theother product that I wanted to shout out is called Bento. It's still goingstrong today and it enables people who don't have access to smartphones to textthe word hungry to a specific phone number and receive a free meal on the bapaid for on the backend by a foundation at the nearest Postmates pickuprestaurant.

And for that we wonthe Time Magazine Invention of the Year Award. So that was definitely acatalyst into chai and I working together and working together more stronglyand feeling really confident in, in what we could accomplish together. And. AtPostmates, the main thing we did is that we, we matched food with people.

Right? Right. Andso building a food security product is really what was important there. And sowhen we started LiquiDonate, the idea was around how could we be more categoryagnostic? There is so much need in the world. There is so much excess inventoryin the world, and it it for nonprofits. I mean, I've, I've been a communityorganizer and activist since I was 16.

Yeah. And soworking with a number of different non-profits, I mean, they need differentthings from technology to food, to clothing. Yeah, it really depends on whatthe non-profit is, who, what clientele they're serving and, and what theirgoals are. And so being able to be a completely category agnostic platform withLiquiDonate to match any and all excess inventory is, is really, really cool.

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. And, and just to double up on that, on that question or in responseto that, yeah. How much of inventory just in general kind of goes on you,whether you were seeing it on the Postmates side versus, seeing it from large,brands or distributors. How much of that materials or goods are going unused?

Diz:Yeah. So according to the National Retail Federation on the retail side, 80% ofreturns go directly to the landfill or end up in the landfill after beingreturned. And so that is a huge number. So yeah, 8 0 8 0, 80%. It's, it's wild.And so we're able to take that 80% and divert it completely from going to thelandfill using the technology that Chai and our entire technology team hasbuilt where we automatically route it to the non-profits and schools that needit instead.

Julian:Yeah. And, and Chai, I'm so curious to think about like, how do you categorizesuch a large amount of inventory from different distributors? Because, I'm, I'msure. Categorizing food inventory versus clothes versus other goods or servicesis challenging, but also connecting that with, the right party.

How are you able toconnect those two systems, seeing as they're, they're fairly different and, anddisparate.  

Chai:Sure. So let me tell you what we are trying to achieve with LiquiDonate as atech product. So what you brought up is right, there's a huge amount ofinventory that's actually going to landfill.

And, but it's,what's important is where all of this inventory is coming from. So our, by ourestimate, there's like a million established retail establishments in the USand maybe say 2 million nonprofits in the us. Mm-hmm. These are national andlocal nonprofits, and all of these folks are, all of these retailers are likeproducing a lot of inventory in terms of customer returns or stuff that theycannot sell, which is just sitting in warehouses.

So what we arebuilding is a matching algorithm. Yeah. And our matching algorithm is going todo the job of finding who's the best nonprofit that an item can be donated to.And this takes into account several attributes into factor when matching. Likesay the location of where the inventory is, who's the nonprofit's preference interms of what category they want.

Sometimes it alsotakes into account the focus areas and the demographic that the nonprofitserves, and all of these factors help us make a perfect decision as to wherethe product should be routed to.  

Julian:Yeah. Well, it's also thinking about one thing I think about is like, what doyou do if, say you are in this matchmaking process and things don't?

Transact and, andhave you ever been left with just a bunch of inventory that had to redistribute?Did that ever happen? Or what, what allows that to not, kind of, come up, comeabout in, in this  

Chai:process? So either of you for, for some context, our company has been aroundfor like a year and a half or so now, and we have not had any way so far, we'vehad a hundred percent match rate of everything that's been donated on ourplatform.

But to tell youmore about what, how we are thinking about handling the case when we are notable to find a nonprofit, we also want to partner with like circular economypartners who are into like, maybe dismantling whatever's dona, whatever's givento them, and recycling those parts into like, better upcycling those parts intolike better goods.

So all of thesedifferent solutions will help us. Avoid the item from going the landfill andmake sure that somebody tickets to use it.

Diz:Yeah, and I can, I can put a number to it too. Our goal is that 95% of theproducts on our platform, once we become more mature as a company, are goinginto the hands of nonprofits in schools to use the item for the same or asimilar use as it was originally intended for, and then that 5% that isn't theright quality condition.

Type of item thatsomeone would wanna be matched with. Our system will automatically route thatto the right circular economy player, whether it's going to be a product goingto compost or a textile to be broken down, to be turned into, a thread to make newproducts.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. Just to give them, the context of the audience.

And I know youmentioned a lot of those products would go to the landfill in particular, butwere there other programs that companies were trying and, and if they were trying,what made them unsuccessful? And, and I mean that, because of that largenumber, if, if, if most more companies were successful in kind of whetherdiminishing their supply or, be having better kind of order account numberslike that, what in, what was the incumbent before that?

They're like, okay,I have a bunch of supply. I don't want to just throw it away. What are myoptions here? What were the options back then? I did, I'll let you go.  

Diz:Yeah, so I'll answer first and Chai. Feel free to add in. But the I, I likethat you think that most retailers didn't wanna landfill it. That's a verypositive outlook.

It is cheaper. Itwas cheaper to throw the items into the landfill rather than reselling them inmany cases for retailers before LiquiDonate. Yeah. And so we knew that our maincompetitor was priced. Sending it to the landfill. And so because we're asoftware company, we were able to keep the price so low that it's almost ano-brainer for the retailers to use our service to match their products withnonprofits.

And we're notcannibalizing any potential full price customers as well. Yeah. And so thosetwo things combined have made, have made a big difference when we're talking toretailers about how they could be more sustainable. Yeah. A lot of folks atthese larger companies have a few people who really do care aboutsustainability and wanna push this.

But for a lot ofcompanies it does come down to the bottom line, even for small businesses too.And so us being cheaper than the alternative, which is throwing it away makesit so that we're really the most viable option for them.  

Julian:Yeah. And, and ChaiI'm curious, how are you able to build a system that is,kind of creates this sustainability, this low price engine?

Is it just a lot ofoperational kind of heavy lifting that you did, at, at, at your time atPostmates? And then kind of iterating on that, what in particular allowed youto really decrease the, the cost of, of doing this for these, these customers?  

Chai:You're right like this and I our experience at Postmates factors a lot intowhat we build at LiquiDonate.

Yeah, Postmate wasa food logistics company and we saw the problem of how managed, like movingfood from one restaurant to a customer quickly. Yeah. And doing it fast. Sowith the products that retailers are giving, like the timeline might not be asurgent as like food because Yeah, they understand that trucks will get delayedand then, I don't know, warehouses might be closed or.

Their distancesneed to be traveled much longer distances need to be traveled before somethingactually gets donated. So all of that experience actually helps us build abetter product for moving these donations from retailers to nonprofit. To getinto a little more detail, we partner with third party logistic companies whooffer different sizes of vehicles for transporting these goods.

So you can imaginesomething that might be donated on like, say a bicycle with a product like Uberdirect to something that might have to fit on a large truck and have to betransported across state lines. Yeah, so there are several third partyproviders who offer work with different kinds of drivers and vehicles, and wepartnering with them allows us to choose the right vehicle for the rightdonation.

Julian:Yeah. It's so amazing to think about how the technology's evolved, not only tobuild really sophisticated, lean, inexpensive systems, but also we have thisamazing partnership kind of ecosystem. Yeah. Where if I'm doing this component,I can add on a microservice to be able to take on something that I wouldnormally have to build internally.

How is that thetiming of what you're, where you are now just really advantageous for what youwant to build? Do, do you think about that at all? I, I open it up to both ofyou Diz go ahead First.  

Diz:It's super advantageous. I mean, I think the, the fact that as a company we'reasset light, we are a climate tech company that's focused on landfill diversionand reducing the emissions of products.

And so for the,some of the integrations that CHAI is talking about, one of them is we workdirectly with return services. So something you may or may not know is amajority of returns, at least in the United States, are handled by third partycompanies. Not by the retailers themselves, and there's by our estimate, about35 major companies that are playing in that space.

And so we'reworking directly with three of them today. One of them is loop returns, andwith these return services, what we do is when the retailer knows that productis going to be unsellable for any reason, instead of routing it back to theirdistribution center, whether they're going to pay a handling fee.

A storage fee,another shipping fee, and then ultimately a land filling fee, which can add upreally quick on top of the cost of the refund and the shipping. Yeah. Weactually just show them a return label for a nonprofit in our database that'snear to them. Yeah. And so we reduce the cost of shipping. We reduce thedistance travel, so we reduce the emissions.

And we keep thatproduct out of the landfill and, and sent directly to a nonprofit. So, that issomething that is super easy to set up to turn on. It takes almost noengineering work from our team once it's been built other than some basicmaintenance. And yeah, that is something that helps us really scale how quicklythose products can move through our system.

And it gives theretailers choice over what's happening to their product while reducing theircost significantly. Yeah, I'm not sure if that was the question you asked atthis point, but it's something I'm really excited about, so, yeah.  

Julian:No, yeah, no, it's like the, the result of the technology and, and the resultof what being built and what's possible.

Diz:Oh, the partnerships, oh, I did wanna say something else. Yeah. Like the, thepartnerships are, are, are critical. Like, I was actually just talking to afriend about this yesterday, how. We're an early stage startup and we are verygrateful and lucky to have earned the right to, to have funding for uncocapital for our seat stage.

And we're verycareful about how we spend that money, right? I mean, I think that's animportant thing for, for founders to be concerned about and but we also knowthat we want to do things the right way. And so mm-hmm. Services, like we usepilot for accounting. Mm-hmm. And they do like our accounting and they also dofractional CFO services and the ability to like, pay into these like servicesYeah.

That provideservices for a lot of different startups. And they figured out different waysto automate these pieces means that it's extremely affordable for a startup ofour size to actually have accounting from day one versus having to likebackpedal, years from now and like go build the books then.

Yeah. And so like Ijust, I, I look at LiquiDonate as a similar service for retailers where we plugin in that way too. Yeah. And I just think the, the world has become a muchmore interesting and, and well connected place because these services all worktogether so seamlessly.  

Julian:Yeah. And, and Chaifrom a CTO standpoint, just as a builder, how much of yourjob is, creating conceiving kind of code out of nothing and, and really justidentifying what pieces you can collaborate with to take off, say, okay,shipping logistics, you don't have to build that internally, or maybe thiscategorization matching, we can use this ML AI plugin from this other company.

How much of yourjob right now is building, kind of creating out of nothing? Versus findingother systems that you can plug in to create what you create at LiquiDonate?

Chai: Ithink it's a bit of both. So I'll give you more context. So, one of the methodologieswe use at LiquiDonate for building new products is first trying things outourselves.

If, even if it'smanually before we build like a full-blown integration with another software oranother service. Yes. So the trying out piece allows us to validate whateverhypothesis we have about how the product should be or what the user wants, andthen once we know it works, then we go ahead and do the whole integration.

Yeah. But to answera little more about what you asked previously about how there are so manysoftware services today and how it is, what it is like to like build a techproduct in today's world, I definitely think it's way easier to. Build alogistics company in today's market with so many logistics providers, then itwould've been like, say, even 10 years ago.

Right? Simplesexample is as I said, like based on vehicle size. I have a variety of companiesthat I can integrate with to call their APIs to book our delivery from point Ato point B. Yeah. On top of that we have aggregator services. So if I don'twant to like work individual, like directly with these third party logisticproviders, I can just work with an aggregator company and tell them whatvehicle size I want, and those aggregator companies will work with the, withthe three PO providers to give me the right booking on the career.

Yeah. So it becomesreally easy for us to like, build a logistics solution in today's world becauseof the amount of startups like trying to solve. A niche little thing in theirown ecosystem. So the plug and play nature of art software avoids having tobuild things that take away our time and focus.

Yeah. Our focus isjust to match items to nonprofits, and we are able to do that better because ofthe availability of these different companies.

Julian:Yeah. Have you guys, gone against the challenge of just like building the mostbeautiful, amazing tech product versus, delivering on, the actual value, likeyou said, versus building all these different things.

You're like, okay,this is our objective. We're gonna plug in these systems, this aggregator, andwe're gonna achieve that. Versus I think, a lot of founders will. See the eyecandy and, and want to build something cool or build it in house or integrateall these different systems and, and really kind of, make it part of theirbrand or something, what, what kind of makes you lean into the value of, ofwhat you're delivering? Is it just the essence of the mission or is, is it theexperience that you come with?

Chai: Ithink it's the essence of the mission. And I think As a founder, like, and asfounders, like both of us, like, it becomes important for us to like keep themission and the vision sight all the time.

Yeah. Our missionis to like give items a second life and make sure that they don't go intolandfill as long as they can be used by someone. So if we keep that inside,then whatever we build we'll just have to fall in line with that. So if it'slike build, like building something in-house or if it's using something thatalready exists, like as long as it ties into our mission, we can use eitherapproach.

Of course, theother factor that comes into play is time and how quickly go on to deliver on,I don't know, whichever client needs to use our product. Yeah. At the end ofthe day, our, our mission is our main purpose and that should be the decidingfactor if we want to. Build something in-house or use something that'sexisting.

Diz:Yeah. And for what it's worth, we have an incredible product designer who makesall of our stuff look beautiful. And anything you see that isn't beautiful isprobably because I made the first draft. So I'll take all credit for any baddesign you see is my fault.

Julian:It's amazing to think about how critical the mission is and, and what you allhave committed to actually achieving it. And. And, and I'm curious just from,my own personal experience Diaz, I'll go to you on this one, is, I guess frommy experience of say, giving things a second life, I think about thrift shops,at least for close thrift shops.

I think about evencompanies like Ross and TJ Max who are Goodwill, who redistribute products thateither are unusable or have too much supply. But there's, there's a disconnectbetween, reusing or giving that, item a second life versus just kind of puttingthem back into this retail ecosystem.

What has reallykind of captivated you to, to, and, and what, what nonprofit organizations arereally pushing the envelope to redistribute these resources. Not even just to,the traditional means in terms of the groups that we commonly think of, but.Even just for the purposes of these not going into a landfill, what has thatrelationship been like outside of say what I guess my, and maybe more commonexperience is with secondhand items Yeah.

Or unused items.  

Diz:Yeah, of course. That's a great question. And I I've always loved thrifting. Idon't know what it is. But I've always really enjoyed finding things at a, at adeal like Something that had some like vintage quality to it. I've always beendrawn to that. And so it definitely took a while for me to understand that thatdefinitely wasn't cool for everyone.

Yeah. And so one ofthe things that we're trying to do here is like, we could showcase that likethis, this is fun. This isn't just like, necessarily Yeah. Like, sad, like,Sarah McLaughlin feed the Children type commercial. Like donating can be fun,it can be new, it can be like new products.

Reusing things isis awesome and it's something that is really impactful in the climate space.So, It's one of the easiest things that you can do is to, to be more consciousabout reusing products.  

Julian:So, yeah. I'm, I'm cur I'm curious to hear your response to, to this. At leastin my experience, it seems as though a lot of, the, the younger generation thatGen Z kind of is really popularized in this philosophy, not only to connectwith brands, but also to share and redistribute and not waste.

And when you talkabout like, oh, donating can be cool, it, I feel like the perspective I'mseeing is really just like, Throwing away stuff is not cool and, and puttingmore waste in this world is not cool. So let's figure out what we have and howto connect with people. We'd love to hear a response to that.

Are, are you seeingthat kind of wave of thought becoming more popularized? What are you seeing inparticular that Absolutely. I guess supporting and pushing it forward?  

Diz:Yeah. So in 2020, Salesforce did a study where they found that 90% of consumersexpect the companies that they buy from to clearly demonstrate their values.

Yeah. And thevalues around sustainability and climate change. Those are all very. Popularright now. I mean, we're seeing a huge boom in this space. And also even withpeople in general, just shifting their values. I mean, when we talk to peoplewho are interviewing to work at LiquiDonate they're coming from some of thesehuge tech companies and saying, during the pandemic, I just kind of rethoughtmy values and I wanted to work somewhere where I could build technology Thatmade a difference.

Yeah, and that'sawesome. It's awesome to see that happening in the tech space. I mean, try andI have been working in social impact in the tech space and to see how. Popularit is now is just like, it's just, it's awesome. Yeah. And yeah, we've seen aton of nonprofits that have a lot of Gen Z folks in them that are working totry to make a difference, either in terms of supporting refugees that are beingbrought into the United States, or supporting people experiencing homelessness,going through food security, doing harm reduction work.

Yeah. I mean, It,it really, it really runs the gamut on like who we work with on the nonprofitside. And anyone can register as long as they're a 5 0 1 nonprofit. We willwork to get them what it is that they need, either through them uploading itemsthat they have on a wishlist or just shopping from the the items that theretailers are already donating.

Julian:Yeah. A question for both of you. What's been something really, exciting, suchsurprising that you didn't think was a possibility in terms of a nonprofitwanting or something, or a company giving away something and connecting what'sbeen a really interesting and cool connection that you've both seen?

Diz, I'll let yougo first and then we'll pass the Chai.  

Diz:Okay. I was gonna let Chai go first because gosh, there's been so many. Okay.So I'm gonna go with. Okay, there's this company called Verlo, V E R L O O P,and they make new products like handbags and socks and slippers and hats andall these different things out of yarn that was refuse from a traditional pieceof clothing that was being made.

So all of the likelittle bits of yarn that Yeah, usually go in the trash. They collect all ofthose and then they make new products out of them, which is awesome. Totallyaligned with our mission. And I've been a big fan of this brand for a while. Ihave their slippers, I have one of their beanies, I'm like really into it.

And they came to usand said that they had products that they wanted to donate and they just hadsome excess beanies for children, like kid size, small beanies that they wantedto donate. And just that. Getting a donation from a company that I reallyliked. Yeah. And I already used their product.

And then I also gotthe opportunity to talk to the nonprofit that received them, that were givingthem to, to, kids that needed them. It was just like, it's, it was such a smalldonation in terms of, of the volume that we can do, but, Yeah, I almost waslike, I was like, if this is the only thing we ever do is like match like thesekids with these like really cool, beautiful, sustainable hats.

Like I just, it wasreally moving. So yeah, definitely not our biggest product move, but one of the,one of the most meaningful for me.  

Julian: Ilove that. I love that. Chai your turn please.

Chai:Yeah, same for me. Like there have been so many eye-opening discoveries thatwe've come across while building liquid on it that it's really hard to likepinpoint one.

But the thing thatcomes to my mind and the revelation that I've had that still sticks, is that wecan donate anything. Yeah. Yeah. And, and I mean that we can literally donateanything because when we started our company, we were working with a furniturebrand. And they were giving us furniture that they couldn't sell in theiroutlets, but sometimes they would also give us furniture that was like damaged.

Like a broken bed?Yeah. Slightly damage or like a slightly damaged, yeah, right. Like a dentedbed frame or like a broken share with like a broken, like a whatever. And thenwe were still able to ma donate those to somebody and I was like, okay, likethis thing which we consider as useless is still of value to someone.

So that was prettysurprising for me. And then another example I can think of is this one otherperson wanted to donate sushi kits on our platform. So we managed to donate 900cases of sushi kits to a nonprofit. Really? Yeah. So I was, when theyapproached us, I was like, who's gonna take 900 cases of sushi kits?

But then,  

Diz:and I was like, let's, we got this.  

Julian: Ilove.  

Chai:So just finishing on that thought, I mean, I really feel like though it's thevalue of some item is not really apparent to us when we see it. I feel likethere's always someone who would have some use for it, and that makes, gives methe confidence that we can donate anything that comes in our platform.

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. And thinking about just the company overall what's been excitingabout the traction you've seen thus far and what's particularly exciting aboutthe next phase of growth? That, that you look forward to this. I'll let yougo.  

Diz:Yeah. So as of as of today, we've donated over 4 million items and that's beenover 8 million in retail value and we've diverted almost half a million poundsof waste from the landfill.

And like Chai said,we've only really been in business for a little over a year and a half. So, weknow that seeing our month over month growth and seeing how many retailers areworking with us and making. Consistent donations, the integrations with loopreturns and the other return services that are providing donations on a dailybasis.

Like it's, theopportunity is huge, and we're seeing that grow and we're also seeing people beexcited about what we're doing. And it's, it's it's difficult, but it's fun andit's really, really exciting and cool. So we the, the big picture is that, Wereally focus on landfill diversion. That's the number one metric.

How much materialare we really diverting from landfills and getting it into the hands of peoplewho need it? And we want to be the return solution. When people are like, Hey Ihave this unsellable product. I know that I can send it to LiquiDonate. AndLiquiDonate will be the marketplace that matches it with a non-profit thatneeds it.

Whether it's asingle item that's being returned, like a t-shirt that you didn't want was awrong size. Or anything up to a box, a pallet, an entire truckload. We'vehandled up to 40 truckloads of, of chocolate that was being donated. We've,we've done it all and I'm excited to see what we keep doing.

Yeah. In the, inthe future. I love getting the weird ones. It's, it's super, it's superexciting.

Julian:The sushi kits is crazy. I can't believe you, you were able to distribute andget somebody to take all the, was it like a class? Was it what, what was thisnonprofit?  

Chai: Ithink it was a nonprofit that was trying to teach culinary skills to people.

Yeah. And they werelike our students will work with these. So they took them.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. Well, it's also, I mean, it's introducing a new cuisine. , that'ssuch a cool positive experience because there's, there's more than just, Hey, Ididn't throw this in the garbage. It's like, okay. The, the repurposing ofthis, the retooling, the teaching, I mean, it, it all kind of cascaDiz in sucha positive direction, but I'm, from a business standpoint Tryer does feel freeeither one of you to take this.

What are some ofthe biggest risks that you see your company, company facing today?  

Diz:Well, on the, on the retail side, like, I think one of the things to note isthat not only was it a nice to do for that retailer to make the donation ofthose sushi kids they also got a tax receipt. It was cheaper than land fillingit.

We handled all ofthe logistics of giving it to the nonprofit for them. And then, Also, the otherthing a lot of people aren't really aware of unless they have a retailbusiness, especially an e-commerce or a drop shipping business, is howexpensive it's to store product. And so donating it can actually be a way toget the product out of the warehouse where you're paying storage costs.

So it's likeanother way to do cost savings. And so we've actually had a number of, ofbrands and businesses come to us and say, Hey, we have three pallets of productin the storage facility. We're not going to be able to sell it in time for itto be cost effective for us. So we actually just want to donate it.

We work with anumber of brands that, that have had that problem and perfectly good usableproduct that otherwise would've been sent to the landfill ends up in the handsof, of the right people. So that's really cool. Yeah. In terms of challenges, Imean, it's a, a difficult climate to raise money in right now.

I think that's, Is,something that we're we're walking into and we're not scared of it. We'refacing it head on and we're still going at it with our, our big audacious goalsthat we have of what we what we wanna raise, what we will raise, what we willdo with the cash and how we will continue to grow and scale our team and ourcompany.

So, yeah. I thinkthe market is is a pretty important thing that people are paying attention toright now.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. Anything to add to that?  

Chai:Yeah, so I mean, if, if you have to ask me about what challenges we might faceas a business one of, I mean, probably I'll say that time might be a challengefor us because otherwise the value that we offer to retailers is, Somethingvery unique and something that they don't have right now, that time is probablythe only thing that they'll push us on.

And when I saytime, I mean more like okay. They give us like a huge pallet of say, I don'tknow, t-shirts to donate. And they tell us you move this bill within a week ormove this within two weeks. And yeah, us having to do a stick to that time isprobably critical for us. Because right now the alternative is if we don't moveit within those two weeks, they're gonna take it and like throw it, throw it inthe landfill, which is not a Dizirable solution or not a solution for anyone.

Yeah. So us havingto act quickly, find a non-profit and move that quickly is probably our gonnabe our biggest challenge in the upcoming months. Yeah.  

Julian:Yeah. If everything goes well, what's the long-term vision for a LiquiDonate?Do you, do you hope to never be in business again?

If, if everybodystops having so much access in the world, obviously that's, I don't know if youor I will see that in any of our lifetimes, but what's the long-term vision forthe company? Where, where do you aim to go? From here?  

Chai:Maybe I'll give you the vision for, like, say the next few years, because Imean, the next few years are gonna be pretty critical in Deciding how shoppertrends and retailer trends are gonna be in terms of like reusing waste.

Like today,everyone is like, generating waste and we are trying to solve for the problemwhere we take that waste and put it to give it donated a non-profit or likegive it a new purpose or something. But going forward I think retailers willstart thinking about like how they can actively like reduce waste so they don'thave to like work with.

Companies likeours, which take away whatever they cannot sell. Yeah. So yeah, the long-termvision is obviously to like reduce the amount of the things that are comingthrough our pipeline. I mean, and naturally businesses are like thinking aboutnot sending things into landfill or whatever.

But then yeah, theshort term business, trying to capture a large share of the retail market andoffer a solution for them that They don't have right now.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. Diz would love to hear your thoughts too.  

Diz:Yeah. I'm definitely the realist in the, in this co-founder team where I do notbelieve that retailers will ever figure out how to do appropriate inventorymanagement, understand shopper trends so well, that there won't ever be excessinventory.

Mm-hmm. And I alsodon't believe that there will ever be a world in which returns don't exist because,Customers expect there to be a returns process. And 95% of customers who have abad experience with the returns are less likely to buy from that brand again.And so taking away the returns process completely eliminates some customersfrom their pipeline.

And because we livein a capitalist society, I just don't really foresee that changing. And so forme, the, the vision for what we'll do is we'll continue to grow, we'll continueto get bigger, we'll continue to handle. More returns, more seamlessly, moreexcess inventory, more seamlessly. The vendors that we work with, theretailers, the brands, the businesses, they'll be able to tell us sooner whenthey have product that is going to expire or have a Best Buy date.

Yeah. So that wecan actually match and move it even faster so that it has a bit of a longershelf life with the nonprofits. And so it's really to me, watching theinventory management systems And projections get better over time so that we dosee a reduction, but I don't think we'll ever see a, a complete fallout ofthat.

Yeah. And yeah, Ithink our, our goal is to start work internationally next year and thencontinue to grow our footprint all over the world until that, so that by theend of. A decade in business, we have worldwide coverage. So if we can be asbig as Uber when someone thinks about, having something delivered or having a aride share, hailed.

They think of Uber.I'm gonna Uber that. I'm gonna take an Uber, whatever it is. And we want it tobe the same as like, Hmm, I I wanna get rid of this item, but it's still ingood condition. I wanna like donate it. We want, we wanna be a verb in thatsense. So, yeah. Yeah. The other thing is like, we also see like, withGoodwill, 40% of the items that are brought to Goodwill end up in the landfillas well.

And so is there away that we can make this choice that the nonprofits have of choosing what itis that they get and they get it for free? And we handle the logistics. So it'sjust easier than throwing it away for the retailer. It's easier than not havingit for the, for the nonprofit that needs it.

If we can just makethis situation and that's so simple for both parties that it's like an obvious,like match, then that's like where we, we would be successful.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. I love that. I, I, I know we're coming to the, the close, but Istill have some FAQs for you, so I'm gonna hit you both with some rapid firequestions and we'll see where we get.

So, first question,I will, I'll start with Diz and then I'll I'll serve it to Chai, what'sparticularly hard about your job day to day?

Diz:Oh my gosh. The amount of apologies I owe to all of the former CEOs. I wouldsay that's, that's the biggest difficulty is realizing how much work isactually going on behind the scenes that you don't see that a CEO isresponsible for.

And so you alwayssay, why are they missing my meeting? Why aren't they answering my text? Andyou're like, oh my God. Like it's because there's actually a million thingsgoing on.  

Chai: Ilove that. Try it for you.  

The biggestchallenge is probably figuring out what the user wants because we are buildingsomething which the user does not have today.

And yeah, we'retrying to offer them something that they don't have and like that is always achallenge in terms of figuring out a. What we are building is valuable for themor not.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. I don't know if you both are able to, but you know, if you couldthink about two, maybe three sentences on what, whether it's an experience orwhether it was, enlightenment or an epiphany.

What, whatessentially guided you personally to work in a space that, works withsustainability, works with climate, but does so with. A lot of technologyintegrated this. What, what inspired you? If you can gimme two to threesentence maybe an experience, maybe an anecdote, and then I'll Yeah.

Obviously pitch atthe chat.  

Diz:No worries. So, I grew up in a working class family. My parents worked inretail up until their retirement. I've worked in restaurants and I've seen thewaste firsthand fell into the tech space very luckily and saw how much techcould make an impact on people's lives.

And wanted to dosomething more than just helping people get something small but really solve a,a big problem. And as an activist, sustainability and climate tech is, is theway to do that.  

Julian:Yeah. I love that. Chai for you.  

Chai:So I've always been passionate about impact and I just, I don't mean justsocial impact it could be any kind of impact which the user experiences throughusing an app or.

Some other servicethat's provided with, by another software. And I realized that with tech youcan scale out this impact to a large number of users. And then working atPostmates and with this building those food security products, I kind ofrealized social impact is way more meaningful than any other kind of userimpact that we can have.

Obviously likegetting food to people who cannot afford is way more important than deliveringfood to teenagers that order it on the Postmates app. Yes. So, yeah, that's howI got pulled into the whole social and back and sustainability space. And I'verealized that tech is probably by far the best way to.

Make it dent inthis sustainability space because that's where we, you can actually move thenumbers and needle a lot.  

Julian:Yeah, yeah. Yeah. What, what's something that if you weren't working on this,what would you be working on? J I'll let you go first.  

Chai:That's a hard question because I've always been just thinking about likesustainability ever since we built those food security products that.

It's kind of hardto think what I would be doing if I was not doing this. I mean, there are some,I think it'll be something still in social impact just because there are likeso many areas that tech can be used for social impact. Like we thought about afew of those products that Postmates as well.

Like some of thatdid not come into fruition. Like obviously landfill diversion is one of thethings in the space, but I'm sure I would be working on something related. Tosocial impact. If I was not doing liquid on it, yeah, yeah. This,  

Diz: Iwould be doing this. There's no alternative.

Julian: Ilove, I love asking founders that question because it, it's either one of thoseanswers, like, I have no clue.

Maybe I'll dosomething. Or it's like I, I've never thought about anything other than thisfor the last five years,  

Diz:but it, but it goes, this is it. This is my, this is my dream, this is my passion.And yeah, it's, Yes, we've really figured out a really interesting and coolniche that is really profitable.

Yeah. We solve areal solution or we solve a real problem and we're able to get paid by thefolks who have the capital to pay for this. Yeah. And it's a solution that'sbetter for everybody, and I think we're very, very lucky that we were able tohit the nail on the head so quickly.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah.

And, and honestly,I mean, I, I, I've run a recruiting agency for a few years. It's like, you'renot even, pricing is an issue for a lot of companies, especially in thecommodities business. But for your company in particular, it's amazing howtechnology has able to really kibosh that main blocker for a lot of yourclients.

Yep. Which is justthe cost of it, and it's so impressive to see that because then you're, you're,everything else is playing catch up and right now I'm sure it, it sounds likeit's just growth and scale and, and adding more to what you're able to do andcapable of doing. So exciting to to hear and see and kind of share thatmessage.

But last questionfor both of you. What's what's a book or an individual something that isimpactful for you today, whether it's a piece of advice, a message, anything inparticular that you would like to share with other founders out there? Diz,I'll let you go first.  

Diz:So this is what I always say when I'm asked this question and it.

It's not exactlypertinent to what you said, but one of the things, I'm on the board of anonprofit and then I volunteer with a nonprofit every week. And just havingbeen in the nonprofit space and. What, having that be our clientele here. Yeah.One of the things that I really like to let people know is that it's reallyimportant that if you are someone who's doing philanthropy and you are doingphilanthropy, in order to really do good and give back, it's really importantthat if you're giving cash grants, that you provide unrestricted grants.

I think this is oneof the things that a lot of people don't think about, but having been in thenonprofit space and now in this, VC funded startup. If a venture capital firmis willing to give us two and a half million dollars or so in order to take it andrun with it and run the company the way that we see fit, because they believein us, they believe in our vision, they believe in the product.

Nonprofits shouldhave that same level of, of trust. They're the same people. Yeah. Doing reallyimportant life-saving work as well. And by giving a restricted grant, they'reconstantly having to report on it to specifically apply it to. Programmaticwork versus maybe even employee salaries when they could be needing to attractsome different types of talent.

So unrestrictedgrants for nonprofits is my, is my soapbox of the of the decade.  

Julian: Ilove it. I love it. Chai, any books of advice or, or soapbox materials thatyou'd like to share?  

Chai: Idon't have any books that come to mind, but basically what I've realized in thelast few years is that any product that people design these days can have.

Positive socialimpact built into it. And I think going forward most product designers andbuilders should be thinking about how whatever they build will benefit peoplewithout any capitalistic gains. Yeah. And simplistic example is before they puton it I was trying to work at another startup, which was trying torevolutionize online checkout for retailers.

And one of the mainreasons I joined that company was because I wanted to build a roundup anddonate feature for that company. Yeah. And then another example I can think ofis, I think Airbnb was sometime trying to offer accommodation for refugeessomewhere like, I don't remember which country.

So basically whatI'm trying to say is any product can have a social impact, kind of like builtinto it. And I feel like more builders and entrepreneurs should be thinkingabout that whenever they build something new.

Julian:Yeah, yeah. Beautifully said, both of you. And it's been such a pleasure havingyou both share not only what you've been working on at LiquiDonate, but whatinspires you?

What are thepossibilities that they could actually lead to? And overall, the, the numbers Ithink are astounding. To really kind of, honestly sit with and, and understandhow much is within the system. Is broken in particular, not utilizing whatwe're creating and overall, just, just getting rid of it versus redistributingit and using technology behind it.

So it's been such apleasure having you both on the show last little bit. What can we find andsupport you as founders? Give us your LinkedIns, your Twitters. Where can we bea fan of both of you? Try, you go first.

Chai:Sure. So I'm, I'm active on LinkedIn. My LinkedIn username is Chaiwithout anyspace, and I'm on Twitter as well. But then I'm not that as active on Twitteras I'm on LinkedIn. So Twitter handle is like @chai_nadig and if not any ofthese social handles, you can always reach me at my company email atchai@liquidonate.com.

Julian:Amazing Chai. Diz, please.  

Diz:Cool. So, at LiquiDonate, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn. I'm very active. Youcan find me, dis petite, P e t i t. And yeah, also very open todiz@liquidonate.com. If you wanna reach out happy to. Have a quick callbrainstorm. If you're a nonprofit, you have questions about registering.

If you're aretailer and you wanna donate, have any additional questions, please reach out.We'll connect you with the right person on our team. And last second, shout outto everyone on our team who makes all of this possible and just wanted to makesure they get a shout out cuz I, I love and adore them and.

They're, they'rethe ones really making this, this, this impact and making this product so thatwe can really change the world.  

Julian:Mm-hmm. Amazing. It's been such a pleasure having you both on the show. I hopeyou've enjoyed it. And thank you again for being on Behind Company Linestoday.  

Diz:Thanks so much. It's been fun.

Chai:Thanks Julian.

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