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Startup Club: Leftover Swap

Shalom Life speaks to Dan Newman, co-founder of the revolutionary new app 'Leftover Swap' that allows you to swap meals with people in your area, or share your leftovers with those who need it most

By: Daniel Koren
Published: September 11th, 2013 in Business » World
Leftover Swap

Over the past few decades, a growing number of small businesses involved in various industries have popped up around the world meeting the needs of an ever-growing, ever-changing market.

Jewish businessmen and innovators continue to excel throughout these industries, displaying their prowess as creative, forward-thinking entrepreneurs, and tapping into continuously developing markets with 'startup' companies.

In a bid to recognize these decorated entrepreneurs for their ongoing contributions and advancements to these fields, Shalom Life is pleased to present: Startup Club, highlighting the best and the brightest of Jewish entrepreneurs who continue to provide our community with new, influential and innovative ideas that will forever change the way we interact with the world, and with one another.

Follow our lead and we’ll follow yours – send us tips or suggestions via email, comment below or tweet us @ShalomLife, in our mission to celebrate the most visionary of Jewish entrepreneurs.

Business: Leftover Swap

Based Out Of: Seattle, Washington

Entrepreneur(s): Dan Newman, Bryan Summersett

Industry: Food Sharing


We've all been there.

You're eyes were bigger than your stomach, and you ordered two large pizzas with all the fixings for only you and your fellow-minded ravenous friend.

Three slices in, you're famished, and cannot even, though believe me, you've tried, finish another bite of that delectable gooey crust. At this juncture, you're left with two options: throw the food away, or put it in the freezer.

Many of us, unfortunately, usually choose the former.

But not anymore.

A new app called Leftover Swap, courtesy of business graduate Dan Newman and computer programmer Bryan Summersett, aims to solve the problem of unnecessarily wasting food, particularly when it can go towards so many others in need who are less fortunate.

Shalom Life had a chance to speak to Newman, the co-founder of this unusual, but strangely necessary platform that promotes reducing food waste, eating locally, and establishing a sense of camaraderie with fellow members of your community.

"It's an unusual, yet practical idea," I tell to Newman after exchanging pleasantries. "I assume there is a good story that goes along with this."

"Depending on your definition of a good story," he replies with a laugh.


(Dan Newman (left) and Bryan Summersett)

Newman goes on to explain the origins of Leftover Swap, which involves a fateful evening when, three years ago, he visited an old college friend in Seattle, Bryan Summersett. "One night, we ordered a bunch of pizzas, and after gorging ourselves, we realized there wasn't any room to store the leftovers in his fridge," he explains. "We always had fun comping up with wacky ideas, and somehow, we came up with this communal food sharing project. Back then, I feel no one would have gone for such an idea, so we just laughed at it, and let it go."

'You're hungry. And cheap. We understand.'

Fast forward three years, and with hundreds of established apps that have forever altered how we communicate with strangers on and offline, the idea no longer seemed so far-fetched. When Newman, who had moved to Seattle at this point, decided he wanted to learn coding, him and Summersett chose a sample project. "This was at the beginning of this year," Newman explains to me, "which is coincidental because I hosted a couch surfer during this time. This couch surfer, he told me how he ate all of his meals from dumpsters. He actually turned out to be really awesome."

Newman went on to describe the man's influence on him, particularly the way he viewed food. "99 percent of the people I know, particularly young professionals, are always thinking of what they're going to eat next, where they are going to eat it, etc. But this guy didn't look at it that way. He just looked at food as sustenance, and his view was 'whatever comes, comes.' I found that it's actually very liberating and fascinating to break away from this whole hypnosis food constantly has over us."

Fast forward six more months, and a San Francisco reporter found the Leftover Swap website. "It sparked so much interest and attention, that we decided to make it a real application. Whereas it may have been more of a joke in 2010, the online community today is much more advanced when it comes to technology and culture, and a location-dependent idea like this was actually feasible."

Related articles: Business News, Startup Club, Technology News, Leftover Swap, App, Dan Newman, Bryan Summersett
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