Barn2Door Looks to Apply Farmstr Lessons, Connect Farmers and Buyers Nationwide
March 31, 2015 | AJ Hughes
The Seattle direct-to-consumer marketplace Farmstr, which launched in 2013, is no more.
“At the end of the day, it wasn’t enough for us to justify a large next round in order to compete with the very well-funded competition,” founder Janelle Maiocco told BizJournals.com in February.
But on March 15, 2015, Maiocco launched Barn2Door. Maiocco, who was followed to Barn2Door by several of her former Farmstr colleagues, will apply lessons learned from her time at the helm of Farmstr to her new business venture.
“Barn2Door is not going down the path of managing the physical aspects of distribution,” says Maiocco. “That pathway is capital-intensive, and greatly limited our ability at Farmstr to accelerate and scale the business nationally. Our goal with Barn2Door is to be everywhere on every mobile device on day one. We want farmers across the country to leverage our platform to showcase their supply to local buyers and to deliver anywhere, anytime on their terms via an intelligent, mobile-first application.”
“You learn what works and what does not,” she continues. “The local foods marketplace was very different than what I thought. The real problem was solving the technology.”
Focusing on a mobile-first logistics model, Barn2Door aims to offer a comprehensive online marketplace that connects farmers and buyers.
Startup funds were provided by an initial seed investment, and a top-notch team is already in place, according to Maiocco. Co-founders include chief operating officer Tom Vogl, formerly of REI, Redin and Climb; vice president of engineering Brian Delahunty, formerly of Microsoft and New Relic; and vice president of product Crystal Hoyer, formerly of Microsoft, Skype and Yammer.
“If there is one thing I have learned as a CEO, it is the importance of team culture, and that the right talent at the right time is paramount to success,” Maiocco says. “We are fortunate to have a ‘dream team’ from day one, and won’t be distracted by recruiting new team members.”
Both farmers and buyers can add their names to a growing list of interested parties at the Barn2Door’s website. The company is quickly building its technology platform to target the 2015 summer buying season.
So far, 25 farmers have signed up, along with 100 customers.
“There’s been really great interest right out of the gate,” says Maiocco. “People want to buy their food directly from an organization that focuses on sustainability. People expect that access.”
While Farmstr conducted business primarily in the Pacific Northwest, Maiocco sees Barn2Door as national purveyor of local foods.
“I don’t desire to choose to only be in one market,” she says. “I want Barn2Door to serve people in Austin, Spokane, Philadelphia, just through technology.”
Currently Barn2Door is not engaged in any formal advertising, but is relying on word of mouth and a wide network of colleagues and farmers organizations to spread the news about the new startup. The only possible obstacles Maiocco feels may need to be address is empowering sellers across the country to sell on an online platform. She is confident this will happen.
“We have the right team in place, with experts in marketing, technology and domain,” she says. “It’s such a great mix, and we’re just ready to go.”