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Meet a CoMotion Labs member: Share Farm

Written by Gretchen Musgrove / June 14, 2018

Curious about our startups?

Welcome to our blog series, ‘Meet a CoMotion Labs Member’. These posts offer a peek into the groundbreaking work CoMotion Labs startups do and why they do it here. Stay tuned for profiles on startups from each of our dedicated labs in IT, Life Sciences, and AR/VR.

Meet Share Farm!

  

Who: Vince Peak, CEO, Eric Kobe, CSO

Company: Share Farm – A mobile farmers market app that connects local buyers with local producers. We’re also the first gig economy for local farmers and sellers that manages social advertising.

What problem do you solve?

We extend the 21-week farmers market season with a mobile app. After the season ends, farmers and vendors lose access to their customer base. Most of their product is either shelved or goes bad waiting to find a buyer. We provide a virtual farmers market that connects customers to the local produce and products they love. We do this by creating an ease of use and access by taking on social media advertising, marketing, and customer acquisition so that users can focus on buying/selling more. For vendors this means no stall or booth, or risky brick and mortar investments. For customers this means access to farmers market products all year using the proximity-based mobile map.

Where: CoMotion Labs @ Spokane – IT Software

When: Joined April 2018

The back story

  

I’m a Spokane native with a background in criminal justice administration and surveillance while in the USMC. During my military career I spent time in austere environments and arduous terrain. Though it was a strenuous, isolating experience, it was imperative to be self-sustainable. I learned fascinating skills like plant medicine, animal tracking, and wilderness survival. I especially loved plant identification. Looking back on the experience I see parallels to entrepreneur life; I was often working alone, made do with what was available, and invented many solutions along the way!

From wilderness 

After I completed my contract with the Marine Corps. I found Alderleaf Wilderness College in Monroe, Washington. There, I learned ethno-botany, how past cultures have used plants, and fell in love it. A light went on. That’s what I wanted to pursue.

I returned to Spokane and started creating plant extractions or tinctures – plant-based medicine. Then, I started selling them at farmers markets and holistic festivals.

To plant business

  

I enjoyed making and selling plant tinctures so much that I decided to make it my livelihood. I tried to get my products into stores and boy was I naïve as an emerging entrepreneur! Wholesaling is much more complicated than I anticipated. My own storefront would be prohibitively expensive. I thought There must be an easier way to connect with customers. There is now.

To startup entrepreneur

  

I created Share Farm in 2015. It’s a digital farmers market powered by a mobile app. Based on my own experience and my many interviews with market vendors and customers, I designed the Share Farm app to be a great online market experience – for everyone. The big picture benefit is maintaining community connections, supporting our local micro-economies, and providing more access to fresh, locally produced, healthy, and affordable goods.

The app is free. We facilitate payments, and don’t require vendors to incur payment processing fees, or fees of any kind. For deliveries we offer pick up, meeting point, and vendor delivery.

Breakdown of Share Farm benefits

Some folks may say “You’re competing with farmers market.” We’re not; we’re augmenting and supplementing it by extending access year round. Our goal is to remove barriers to emerging artisans and entrepreneurs, so they may be more successful at the market. We want to enable people to make a living from their passion.

What’s the latest?  We plan to integrate Lyft and Uber for delivers by the end of summer. This will solve the last mile of distribution for purchasing after the farmers market. By the end of the year we will have implemented a point of sale transaction platform that allows you to use the benefits of Share Farm anywhere you purchase.

Startup advice

Networking is number one. This leads to strategic partnerships that help grow business in ways you simply can’t on your own. To keep myself focused, I bought a journal and made it a top priority to fill it each day with names and contact information for people with whom I might connect with in the business world. I did this not once, but every year! To succeed you need to meet collaborate with finance, investors, and fellow entrepreneurs.

Additionally, it’s important to learn about the startup world. I am a graduate of Ignite Northwest which laid the groundwork of education and networking for my company to succeed.

Why do you love CoMotion Labs?

Access to friends and family funding

Though Spokane has a great, emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem, especially with companies like Ignite Northwest, we don’t necessarily have large pools of friends and family money here. CoMotion Labs partners with Mind to Market, a local early stage accelerator to help entrepreneurs get the money they need to launch their ideas. I’m able to tap that resource as a CoMotion Labs member.

Entrepreneur education

CoMotion Labs provides helpful presentations and other resources that focus on the specific challenges entrepreneurs, like pitching to investors, developing a viable business plan, creating a social media strategy, and establishing a strong, reliable team.

Advising & networking

I really appreciate the expert advising and networking opportunities CoMotion provides in Seattle, where I’m hoping to expand Share Farm business soon!

Follow Share Farm: Facebook,  Instagram,  Twitter

Download the Share Farm app

Want in?

Apply to become a CoMotion Labs member.


About CoMotion Labs: CoMotion Labs, a self-sustaining membership-supported program of UW CoMotion, provides a multi-industry labs system hosting 90+ startups inside and outside the UW community. This incubator supports startups with learning programs, mentoring, networking, and space — in three locations across the UW Seattle campus and a virtual lab in Spokane — across a variety of industries including engineering, IT, life sciences, medical devices, clean tech, blockchain, AI and AR/VR.