A. Richard Newton Distinguished Innovator Lecture Series – Komal Ahmad

(soft music) – Komal Ahmad is our kickoff speaker She graduated from Cal, only four years ago – Go Bears! (cheering) Since that time, she’s fed well over half a million individuals She’s been recognized for her work by a number of institutions including UC Berkeley as 30 under 30 for addressing her work in hunger and this past year, she was recognized by Toyota with the Mother of Invention award Oh, very nice I was wondering why everybody was waving This is a person who hardly needs an introduction, but she is willing to play a video which I thought would give you a little bit of insight into some of the things she is tackling (soft music) – [Narrator] Okay, world hunger, the jig is up We’ve been told that there’s just not enough food to go around It’s an impossible problem It’s a scarcity problem It’s too big a problem It’s not our problem It’s not my problem But what if we told you, it’s not an unsolvable problem at all We have enough food on the planet to feed everyone that’s hungry Fact, actually, we have more than enough Bam, double-fact The real problem, well, we can’t get it to the people who need it Until now Welcome to the first time in history that we have the technology to connect excess food with hungry mouths The homeless, the poor, the kids on the street, Copia connects them all with the food you haven’t used I’m not talking soggy scraps and half-eaten pizza crusts, I’m talking the kind of food that feeds your Instagram feed Quinoa salad, salad over focaccia and freshly made salads with those little cherry tomatoes We serve amazing food because we believe in the people we’re serving Copia doesn’t have a dream, we have a plan One that works, one that you can be a part of Copia, there’s more than enough – [Teacher] It’s my pleasure to introduce to you this evening, Komal Ahmad, founder and CEO of Copia (audience applause) – Good evening Happy 2017! Thanks for showing up semi on time By the way, before I begin, the world does not operate on Berkeley Standard Time, so it really messes you up when you actually graduate into the real world But it’s a huge honor to be back here, addressing this room My name is Komal Ahmad Before I dive too deep into what actually brought me here today, can you hear me in the back? Yeah? Cool I want to take a quick show of hands How many of you have attended a conference, a lunch at our dining hall, a wedding, and wondered, what happens to all of that leftover food? Does the bride end up taking it home? Does it magically disappear? Unfortunately, in most cases, it ends up in the trash And I’m here to share how my team and I are changing that reality and in doing so, solving the world’s dumbest problem Hunger It was over five years ago today, that I brought that concept to reality That idea that we could use the same technology that you and I use to swipe right, to request a car, to instantly connect those with excess food, to those in need of that food It still kind of surreal to be standing here, on the other side of the podium and showing my experiences And truth be told, I wasn’t really supposed to be here at all Especially when most of my life was catered to achieving my brown girl dream of being a doctor So it’s really funny how life ends up working out And it was a casual walk down Telegraph Avenue that really, and a single lunch, that changed the entire course of my life That day, I encountered a homeless man, begging for food And something about him compelled me to stop and invite him to join me for lunch and during lunch, he sat across from me, just scarfing down his food He was unbelievably hungry In between bites, he shared a story He said, “My name is John “I just came back from my second tour in Iraq “I’ve been waiting weeks for my VA benefits to kick in “and because they haven’t, I haven’t eaten in three days.” Imagine, three whole days without food I was outraged I couldn’t believe a veteran, someone who had given the most selfless sacrifice for our country, had come home to face yet another battle, that of hunger and homelessness And then adding insult to injury, right across the street, Berkeley’s dining hall was throwing away

thousands of pounds of perfectly edible food And so in that brief moment, I witnessed that stark reality of those who have and waste and those who are in need and starve And those two people, right across the street from one another I remember always being reminded by my parents, “Eh, Komal, don’t throw away your food “People in Pakistan are starving.” Though well-intentioned and true, what I discovered after that lunch is that, people, hunger is prevalent And not just in the poorest nations, but in some of the wealthiest ones, where one in six Americans don’t know where their next meal is coming from and in much of the Bay Area, that number is even higher, it’s one in four Men, women, veterans, children, right here In the Bay Area, of all places And while this is happening, over 40% of the food that we produce in America is wasted And let me be clear, I’m not talking about last night’s Pad Thai, or this morning’s half-eaten croissants, but 365 millions of perfectly edible food And for you football fanatics, that’s the, imagine the world’s largest football stadium, filled to its absolute brim That’s how much food goes wasted, on the daily This stark reality between excess and access is exactly what makes this one of the world’s dumbest problems How is it that in a world with so much abundance, so much talent and innovation, so many go without food? Resolving this disparity became my life mission So much so that I broke away from my carefully planned track, my predetermined destiny, my brown girl dreams As a daughter of Pakistani immigrants, I had four very specific career paths that were laid out for me from an early age Doctor, lawyer, engineer, or a failure And while I secretly always wanted to be a Bollywood actress, who knows, it’s still possible, still young, I decided to pursue the physician track Because that was the only way that I thought I could actually help people and make a difference And so, when I was 18 years old, I got serious about planning my life I was going to study integrated biology at Berkeley, I was gonna train to become a doctor in the Navy and find the love of my life I would be married after graduating from medical school, at the age of 25 and have my first kid at the age of 28, right after my residency was over And as you would probably expect, nothing worked according to plan Except, I did fall in love It just wasn’t with a person It was with an idea Yeah, I know it’s corny, but it’s true (audience laughing) Looking back at my journey, I realize there were three pivotal moments that transformed me from a starry 18 year old idealist doctor-to-be, to a pragmatic, 27 year old, of my own tech company The first moment begans with me, as a college student, in a remote village in Tanzania 57 Not my favorite basketball player’s jersey number, or even the number of times I accidentally dented my parents’ car while learning how to drive Rather, 57 is the number of patients that tested positive on my first day of setting up mobile HIV-AIDS clinics in Tanzania Before I recorded my first positive 57 I could never forget that number After the long day had come to an end, and I counted the 330 patients we tested, almost 2/3 were positive It reached a point where I saw their rotting, blackened fingertips and facial deformities and I already knew, what their serostatus would be And what was even sadder, was that they knew too When the counselor told them, most of them stared back emotionlessly, as if they had been told that they had the flu Seeing the severity of the situation firsthand affected me Really, it disturbed me, in a way that the statistics I’d been bombarded with my entire academic career, never could I felt so helpless in the face of that reality And this became the turning point for me Yeah, I wanted to make a difference but I realize that medicine has its limitations, especially when I live thousands of miles away from the people I was trying to help I would soon realize that unlike medicine, the opportunities of entrepreneurship are limitless and I could help millions of people here at home, through one simple revolutionary idea Moment two Moment two begins when I accidentally fell in love 50 million No, not the retainer cost for Brangelina’s divorce lawyers But the number of Americans who go without food every day

After my conversation with the homeless veteran, John, I was determined to help I was a young, passionate college student, I became focused not on classes or exams, but on figuring how to give excess food to those in need I started by organizing the US’s first student-powered food recovery movement We recovered food from our dining halls, our on-campus events, our stadium, our arena, and redistributed it directly within the community It was a great start and I finally felt like I was making a difference But it was incredibly inefficient I remember one day, our dining hall manager called me when I was in class and he said, “Komal, no one came to this event “We have 500 sandwiches left over “and if you don’t come within the next two hours, “we’re gonna throw them away.” Great So I grab my bag and I dash across campus, I jump into a ZipCar because no one really has a car at the time, I go through all the one-way streets up to our loading dock, up at Clark Kerr and I began loading this food into the van And remember, this is perishable food, so it has to move as quickly as possible So I’m frantically loading it in and I’m calling all the non-profits I can think of in Berkeley, in Oakland, and even as far as Richmond I’m like hey, I have 500 sandwiches, do you need them? Hey, we have really great food, could you use this? A third of the organizations didn’t answer the phone, a third said no, we’re cool for today, thanks, and the last third, yeah, you know, we could take 10 sandwiches or 15 sandwiches I’m like, awesome, now I have 475 sandwiches And I’m quite literally on the side of the road, thinking, why is it so hard to do a good thing? Why is it so hard to do the right thing? And where are all the people at, that actually need this food when I have it? My intense frustration in that moment ultimately led to my inspiration I thought about how much more efficient and effective this could be if we could connect those with excess edible food to those in need, instantly, with the same technology you and I have on us right now Smartphones, and hopefully they’re put away Moment three is right now It comes after several hard pivots for my life plan which has ultimately led me to become the CEO of my own tech company, Copia That works to intelligently eradicate hunger from the world One million, not the cost of a studio in San Francisco, which, by the way is getting obnoxiously ridiculous, but actually one million is the number of people that we will feed this year Copia’s not the first organization, yeah, you can applaud, it’s okay, it’s pretty cool (audience applauds) Didn’t do it alone, but, Copia’s not the first organization to attempt food recovery But we’re one of the world’s most effective The idea of sharing food with those in need is not revolutionary, it’s not brand new, but Copia strives to make the process of food recovery as intelligent and efficient as possible We built Copia to be for profit, for scale and to actually reach the masses in order to solve the problem I understand that hunger is an age-old problem but that’s partly what makes it a ripe candidate for disruption, a total revolution, a 21st century solution And Copia, it is that disruption It is that revolution and it is that solution and it’s time for humanitarianism to meet modern day technology By automating the process and centering it around technology, we’re not recreating the wheel We’re revamping what exists to match the needs and capabilities of our generation So how does it really work? Well, when your company or event has excess food, you launch the Copia app, you tell us how much food you have, or you take a picture of the food and you let us know when it needs to be picked up Our algorithm then digests this information and will match that exact type and amount of food to the nearest non-profit or non-profits that can accept it at that day, at that time It will also dispatch one of our Food Heroes to go pick up that food and then as a full circle, we’ll send you photos and testimonials back from the non-profit so that you can see the impact that you made by spending less than two minutes of your time, feeding forward We also provide data and analytics that help you reduce, help businesses reduce disposal and future over-purchasing costs and receive maximum tax deductions for their donations So yeah, it really is that simple, and a total no-brainer Businesses pay us to help them intelligently and easily feed the hungry with their surplus, reduce their carbon footprint, and keep food out of landfills while also providing them the significant savings and tax deductions they need in order to stay involved Over the last few months, we have recovered over 260,000 pounds of high-quality food, which by the way, is the enough to feed the entirety of Memorial Stadium, four times over That’s a lot of people

In the process of recovering high quality food and feeding thousands of people, we’ve unlocked over $2 million dollars worth of savings for the businesses that work with us and, as I said before, I’m thrilled to share that we’re on our way to feeding a million people All with food that would have otherwise been wasted, right here in the Bay Area So let me tell you about one of our biggest success stories As many of you know, and we never waste a single pound of food As many of you know, the Superbowl was held here in the Bay Area and through our partnership with the Superbowl 50 and NFL Host Committee, we recovered over 23,000 pounds of food, sorry, excuse me We recovered over 14 tons of food, fed over 23,000 people, in just two days And yeah, you could say, well, the Superbowl only happens once a year, big deal But just last week, organizers at a local tech conference requested a pickup They were expecting 1400 attendees, so we went there, anticipating just a few hundred pounds of food as they said, and when we got there, we found enough food to feed over 5300 people And that’s just one conference in one city in one day Imagine how many conferences happened today alone And pardon my French, but that’s a shit-ton of food Copia’s technology, it’s massive driver fleet, it’s convenience and it’s benefits empower businesses to move towards becoming more socially responsible and economically efficient This is a no-brainer for every business, period And moreover, hunger is not a scarcity problem It’s a logistics problem And because it’s a logistics problem and we see companies like Amazon, like Uber, like FedEx, succeed, we know that we can use the same logistics technology and solve one of the most, one of the eldest and dumbest problems of our time So all three of these were pivotal moments and choices that I made that completely altered my life plan and led me to finding the true purpose of my life Pivoting would have terrified the 18-year-old me, but it invigorates the 27-year-old me Because I finally realize that you can make all the life plans you want Just remember not to write them in permanent ink, draw them up in pencil where you can erase them, alter them, challenge them, and improve them as life may come your way Be open to the fact that sometimes your life plan and your dreams, no matter how audacious, how grandiose, how impossible-sounding, are never too large to accomplish The world demands, deserves the very best from its brightest Something that even you might have once deemed impossible for yourself In the words of the late and great Muhammed Ali, “Impossible is just a big word, thrown around by small men, “who prefer to live in a world as it is, “instead of using the power they have to challenge it, “change it, improve it “Impossible is not a fact, it’s an opinion “Impossible is temporary “Impossible is nothing.” The impossible does not exist We live in a diverse, inter-connected world and the technology that can recover food in Manhattan can one day, benefit the refugees in Malta We know that by succeeding in the United States today, we can bring Copia anywhere in the world tomorrow So I ask you, what do you deem to be impossible? Global warming? Solving the refugee crisis? Free and fair elections? Whichever one it is, there is never been a time in human history to solve the world’s biggest problems and with technology, it’s become more possible than ever before For the first time, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and let’s get one straight We’re not Miss Universe, simply dreaming of world peace We are Elon Musk, planning to put humans on Mars We’re innovators, game-changers, juggernauts, and now is not the time to slow down Now is the time to bring our collective resources and intelligence together, not to build another computer game, chat bot, or cat photo-sharing app, but to use our creativity to solve the world’s biggest challenges So I ask you, fellow entrepreneurs, fellow Bears, when history looks back upon our generation, where will they find you? Standing on the sidelines or calling the plays? I urge you all to redefine impossible, to break limits and standards that you’ve even set for yourself Because nine years ago,

it would have been impossible to imagine myself standing here in front of you today, as a CEO of my own company and yet here I am Reminding you all that impossible is just another word Thank you so much, thank you for having me (audience applause) – I think this is the most inspirational kickoff speech we’ve ever had and now, I’m hoping that we can kind of peel back a little bit, and have a little chat and then we’ll reserve about 20 minutes for the end of class for you all to have some open Q and As, so start thinking of questions and we’ll go over here You get the cushy seat – Oh thank you – Thank you, really thank you for that and for the insights And so, one of the things that, – I’m gonna put it on our inspirational page Oh so I don’t know how to click and talk at the same time but that’s cool – Okay One of the things that I’m kind of curious about, is, I think of everybody sitting in their seats here and listening to you, and what you’ve done in a short amount of time, it truly is miraculous But can you just take us back for a second So as you said, when your mom was like, I can’t do the accent Komal, how did you tell her, I am not going to be a doctor, I’m not going to be an engineer Can you just take us back to that conversation? – You know, so I wasn’t, I’m not a typical Silicon Valley person, where I’m like, I’m gonna go start a start-up I’d never had any intention on doing that I just wanted to solve a problem, that’s it I saw a problem in our dining halls, I saw a problem when you go to People’s Park and you’re standing right across from People’s Park and you’re seeing Crossroads Dining Hall I had a problem with that situation I had a problem with that reality and all I wanted to do was solve that problem and so I started with the student organization and you know, I quickly became, you know I think it’s, just to sort of answer your question but sort of not I think it’s a false belief that entrepreneurship is based on passion Passion is for Valentine’s Day and for romance I think true successful entrepreneurs, which I don’t want to say that I am, but it’s based on obsession and I am obsessed with figuring out this problem I am obsessed with figuring out a solution and so I think they saw that, that I am obsessed, and I think you know, and actually it was a few weeks ago when I went home from the holidays and they said, it’s interesting, so my mom was in the hospital She said it’s interesting, I have the ability to touch, maybe I’ve touched a thousand people’s lives throughout my career but you have the ability to touch hundreds of millions of lives and change an entire system for the better So yeah, I mean, yeah, you can help a lot of people by being a physician, but I think that, that’s what I mean when I say entrepreneurship is limitless because you don’t even know the extent of the impact that you can create on the world – So when you say that you started an organization, was it Feeding Forward? Is that what you called it? – Yes, so at the time, at Berkeley, it was Bare Abundance, and then it was Feeding Forward, and then when we decided to transition away from being a non-profit to a for-profit, we called it Copia and Copia is the goddess of abundance, prosperity and opportunity and so the idea being, that right now, we are moving the most perishable resource there is, which is food and once we figure that out, we can move anything We can move medicine, medical supplies, books, clothing Maybe because, like I said before, it’s not a lack of food that’s the issue It’s not a lack of resources that’s the issue It’s just an ineffective distribution of it So we want Copia to be the most effective and efficient platform for the redistribution of surplus resources – So I’m kind of fascinated because when you think about what Copia does, it seems like social entrepreneurship, but you present yourself as a tech company Can you talk about why you position it that way and how that has impacted what you do? – I think that, well we are based on technology I think that instead of just thinking of me as like, oh it’s so cute, you want to end hunger? That’s so adorable I think that’s trying to step away from that and coming to the fact that this is a business that we have a bottom line that we’re trying to meet as well, that we have margins, that we are trying to improve every quarter as well Coming to whether you’re coming in front of investors, you’re coming in front of a crowd of students, you want to show that this is, this is something that’s not just gonna, who cares about having a sustainable company? You want a scalable company You want to have a profitable company So I also didn’t want to spend 90% of my time fundraising and so, selfishly too, I didn’t think, I don’t think non-profits make sense Then you have to go through starting a non-profit and working through those challenges to understand

that spending 90% of your time asking all of these people for money, and then continuously doing that, continuously going back to the well, versus, spending your time, spending the resources you have, hiring some of the smartest people, bringing together some of the best resources and the best talent and to truly solve that problem at scale, that is a lot more interesting to me and so, that’s why we transitioned our business model there – So you had founded Copia, or in its different iterations, and then you went to Y Combinator, a few years after Can you talk a little bit about your experience? It sounds like that helped change things or pivot things slightly, but maybe you could talk about that a bit – Sure – And I’m sure that you all know what Y Combinator is, but maybe you’ll talk about what they helped you do – Yes, so Y Combinator is essentially an incubator-accelerator program It’s one of the world’s, it is the world’s most elite program It’s the one that also incubated Dropbox, Airbnb, Stripe, so they all came, they were birthed out of Y Combinator So we finished that last year And it gives, they give you your first round of funding, and it’s a three month program where you basically have less than three months to prove why you’re relevant to the world, period and I was a single founder, I’m still a single founder And I think that that has its own challenges but I’ve never really known anything different so, and I think there’s also a difference between, you know, you have 186 guys and maybe 20 girls total? – I mean, everybody else is with their founding team and you – So it’s just the founders No, no, this is, your whole team doesn’t go Every Tuesday, you have a Tuesday night dinner and if you guys do end up starting your own company or joining one, Y Combinator is incredible I have nothing but the highest things to say about the entire program as well So it, basically, you know, you have a metric that you’re measured on So you have group office hours, and then you have partner office hours And so, during that time, during group office hours, you’ll have maybe 10 companies in a circle and you are like, one of the things that I loved and I appreciated about Y Combinator, when our first day, they started, they said, you know what, we have already invested in you Don’t lie to us Don’t lie to us, because we can’t help you And if we don’t know what’s going on, then there’s nothing we can do All the thousands of companies that have gone through us, you’re not gonna benefit from that experience And so, we have 10 companies around We tell one another like, the dumbest crap we did that week, why didn’t we achieve our goals, what’s going wrong, where we could use help, and it’s a very honest, I don’t want to say therapy session, but like, an accountability session that you’re going through and everyone presents And then every other Tuesday, then you’re meeting with the group partners who will rail into you who will rip you a new, and they will, I forgot, this is on camera – It’s alright, it’s really alright So I, like, what are some of the uncomfortable things that you have to talk about? What isn’t working? Sometimes, the most interesting things are the things that aren’t working – Yeah, so, you know, what you measure is what matters, right? So it’s about figuring out what is the most important metric that you’re supposed to be measuring So for us, we’re like, should it be pickups? Should it be the number of pickups that we’re successfully doing? And a pickup would be, someone requested for us to come pick up the food and it’s dropped off Is that the number of times that happens, is that what’s most important? Is it the number of customers? Is it the number of pounds that we’re actually moving? Like, which one is it? And for awhile, for the first few weeks, we tracked pickups and so what they want is they want to see growth, 10%, week over week, on whatever that one metric is that you’re measuring and so, you also want to make sure that you’re measuring the right metric and what we realized is like, well, we charge businesses as a volume fee so it doesn’t really make sense to just to be measuring the number of pickups, because obviously you want that to increase but you also want the volume per pickup to increase so what we should be measuring is pounds And also I realized, on the team, nobody’s really motivated by, oh my god, we completed 10 pickups today Like, that means nothing But you can correlate and there’s a very distinct, the number of pounds equates to the number of people you fed and that is a lot more motivating, both internally within the team and externally as well – If somebody had talked to you, let’s say, second year When you were second year Because I imagine that somewhere, that’s kind of our average here When you were at Cal Or, I don’t know, maybe you listened to someone speak But what do you wish that someone had said to you, in you know, this type of a situation? Is there anything that would have been helpful to know? – Honestly, I think that, the only person that can stop you is you There is, what I said, what I said,

I mean we’ve seen very clearly, you know, recently, that it doesn’t require many qualifications to hold some of the highest honors of office, of the country, of positions, – Oh I see, you’re Republican Okay – Yeah, you know, you don’t really need to be as qualified as you normally used to be, so, and I’m not trying to make a political statement there I’m saying that it is, there’s nothing that qualifies me more than you, to be able to solve this massive problem Like, I’m not supposed to be here I was supposed to be a physician I was supposed to, my path was so laid out, so much so that, you know, I agreed to join the United States Navy to do so So, I guess what I, and what I tell my brother, because they’re in college, well, my youngest brother’s in college and I say to him all the time, is be open It’s like, he wants to be a journalism, journalist, and I’m like, so you want to be perpetually poor, I got it, okay But, cool, guess you’ll be coming to stay with me But you know, I say is just to be open Right now is the time to let yourself explore what, you don’t know what you don’t know and so now’s the time to you know, be in classes like this, learn from various speakers Get as, be a sponge and get as much knowledge as you can because you’re gonna surprise yourself about the abilities you have and the decisions that you make I never thought that I could do this Now I don’t know what I can’t do – What you’re doing is seems, it’s so motivational and, and you have an incredible amount of energy So when I talk to Komal, it was, I think 5:30 at night and I had this feeling like your day was just starting and I think you’d been going most of the day I have a couple questions to ask you about the business but I’m just wondering if you could give us a little clue onto what you did today – Oh dear – It seems very glamorous, because I didn’t say this in the introduction, but you’ve spoken to the UN, you have had these incredible venues and that’s what people can see when they’re looking online at you, but I’m just wondering, if we just peel that back, if you could describe a day – Sure I finished our investor update I had to talk to a bunch of our investors on what we achieved in Q4, what was our, and then we had to, we’re doing a new product rollout and we had to talk about just the different designs, how is that gonna be used, how’s our inventory management, I mean it’s a lot of unglamorous stuff, so I don’t know how many details you want to get into – I am curious, when you do, when you had to do your investor update, are you writing on a Word document, are you doing a Powerpoint? – Oh, so what we do is, we send them on a quarterly basis, we’ll send them everything, whatever is going right, what are our, not even what’s gone right or what’s gone wrong, what are our numbers, what are our stats, where are we, are we doing any hires, and then our asks, right? And so, and also we’ll put some publicity in, and this is what we’ve gotten for free, y’all, and then I’m like share this, and then I’ll put in like size 14 or 16 font in a different color, here’s where we need your help, and i.e. like your roll up the sleeves call to action You know, so we also, I think, whenever you decide to actually raise money, I’m kind of deviating from your question, whenever you decide to raise money, you want to be very careful as to who you’re partnered with And investors matter, just as much as your co-founder or someone you decide to start a business with or someone you decide to start a life with They really really matter, so do your investors And so ours, were people that I was comfortable having part of my journey because they’re gonna be, this is not a quick sell, right? I’m not looking, I’m not going to be selling this for a billion dollars and there’s investors who ask me, they’re like, so, what’s your exit strategy? And I’m like, when hunger is eradicated, I guess? (audience laughs) Like, but that’s your first meeting within 15 minutes of our conversation, that’s their first question and that also tells you about an investor too, I think because I’m not, I think again, you want to be partnered with people who are looking, depending on where your company is, who are looking for, what are the next 10 years going to look like? How is the world going to transform because what you have built here? How is it gonna be not just incrementally, but exponentially better? And so I think it’s that, also strategizing, so we want to do, you think, I wanted to do, I wanted to do the food recovery for the inauguration when I thought it would be a different candidate winning and I thought it would be so cool Like food fit for the White House is fit for everyone else and so I got an opportunity because someone reached out to us and they said you know, we think it would be incredibly awesome to use Copia and recover all of the surplus food from the Academy Awards and it’s the Academy Awards, all the ancillary events, Vanity Fair party, Governor’s Ball, and so today was a lot of, today was spent just thinking like, okay, well how do we actually execute on that?

You think of just like, here, so, here’s another, wow, I’m all over the place, but Here’s another – No, I think that’s probably metaphorical, you have to be all over the place, so go ahead – When, another thing that I’ve realized is that no doesn’t necessarily mean no No means not now And when you think that one thing that you really really wanted, you were so disappointed by, like, didn’t happen? Sometimes something bigger and something better, that you could never have fathomed, happened, happens So yeah, it, we decided not to do the Inauguration, but the Academy Awards, which is slightly more prestigious this year, and slightly less controversial, is an extraordinary opportunity I think thinking about that, that’s really cool Thinking about expansion So we’ve received over 60,000 requests for global expansion from you know, city officials, from government officials in Germany and Austria Like, we want to use Copia, we want to help it expand here, to help redistribute food to other, distribute food and other resources to the Syrian migrants I mean that’s a use-case I could never have though about when I was a senior at Berkeley But that’s what I mean by being open because you just have no idea the incredible possibilities that can happen with just, with one conversation or one article or one idea – How many people or how do you categorize people who actually work with Copia or work for Copia? – Well, I pay you if you work for Copia But you mean like the food providers, the recipients? Okay, so food providers, the kind of food providers we work with and slash if you know of, we’re always getting more of, are food management companies, so Sodexo, Aramark, Bon Appetit, Berkeley’s dining hall signed on as a paying customer, which they weren’t when I was a student, so what what? And the 49ers, we announced our partnership with them formally two week sago, Stanford Hospital, so we work with universities, hospitals, corporate cafeterias, so the Genentechs of the world, and massive catering companies and so we recover food from them, both on a regular basis as well as on a ad hoc basis and then the non-profits we work with are homeless shelters, senior citizen homes, domestic abuse shelters, veterans agencies, after school programs for underprivileged youth, and then our drivers are, they’re Food Heroes, they are, a lot of them are veterans, a lot of them were actually previous recipients of the food that we provide so that it’s not just a handout but a hand up as well – So what about people, how many people are in your office? – Eight, eight full time staff, and we have a network of 200 drivers – And if somebody here, we have 300 students, different levels, wanted to do something to help out in some way, what could they do? – Oh my god, so many things You could reach out at jobs@gocopia.com but there are plenty of, well, if you email that you probably won’t get an email response but if you email jobs or hello@gocopia.com, there’s a protty good chance you will I mean, we’re hiring for so many different positions, right? So thinking of like city launchers, of social media, of business analysts, operations analyst, engineers, you know, we are engineering one of the most difficult technological advancements of our time so you know, you are hacking hunger quite literally so we are looking for it all – Are there, and so if somebody’s interested in, – Internships specifically too – Let’s just say, social media If someone was interested in doing something for social media for you all, is it something they could do part time? – Yes, yes yes So it’s not just all full-time positions There are internships There are definitely opportunities here and again, one of the best things that you can do if not even work for us, is to connect us with businesses or less so restaurants because the restaurants have lower volume of food but more so companies and, yeah, companies and other organizations that actually have surplus food, that would be really fantastic – So I talked, you said that you went home, does that, do you ever have a vacation? – No No, no I think I said it, it was like, a hunger never sleeps and neither do I And it’s true I mean, I think, we use Slack as one of our internal messaging tools and I mean, Jenny, who’s here, who’s our awesome UI/UX designer, she could attest, that they get pings at like 3:30 in the morning and 5:15 A.M. and I mean, it’s not glamorous, guys Don’t be fooled This is not for the fair-weathered Some people, not everyone, should be a CEO Not everyone should be a founder Some people are great you know,

first through fifth employee Some people are great number 25 employees and that is totally fine There’s no shame in that My point in being here is not to say that everyone should go out and start their own company or everyone should go out and start their own non-profit Please, no Don’t think that It’s fucking hard It is hard every day and hard in ways that you wouldn’t even think it would be, right? You have the normal ways of raising money and finding good people, but then motivating them and then keeping money in the account, making more money, and then you’re dealing with challenges that you never thought possible, even within your team, you know? And how do you build a culture? You know, someone broke up with their boyfriend Someone’s late grandma passed away Someone’s cat is sick Someone is, baby’s being born, you know, just different things and it’s hard because you, it is so lonely It is so lonely, and I’m, again, not saying to bum you out, but it is lonely and I’m not even at the top yet but it’s lonely where I’m at because very few people can understand the kind of responsibility, the responsibility, not just to the people you serve but also the employees that you have, you’re responsible for their livelihood and for me, it’s not even like, I don’t have the luxury of failing We’re not creating another widget or another gadget We are trying to solve a global problem and there’s not just a few people that are going to be affected or eight people or 208 people, with drivers and our employees There’s gonna be a lot of people affected if I didn’t do what I did every day and that’s a massive responsibility – So I think that kind of brings things full circle in terms of New Year’s resolutions or feeling stress but Komal, I just want to thank you but I also want to reserve about 20 minutes for a little bit of open Q and A from you all – [Komal] That’s right – [Will] So I have a question about your business model Could you talk a little bit more about the value proposition to your drivers, maybe a little bit more about how you earn revenue and also, do you have a lot of fixed assets like warehouses and things like that that you have to maintain or what’s that logistics, how does that logistics kind of flow? – Sure, thanks What’s your name? – [Will] Will – Will, hi Will – Will Lucas – Will Lucas, great questions So we don’t, we’re point to point distribution so we don’t have fixed assets, we are variable costs model We pay for the drivers because it is point-to-point distribution, that’s also what makes the cost so low because what he’s basically saying is, do you have a facility that you bring all the food to? Or do you have refrigerated trucks that you buy or vans that you buy, and the answer is no We do rent refrigerated vans with very big, for very big pickups, so for like the Superbowl, which, by the way, is four 16-foot refrigerated trucks, filled to the absolute brim that we filled in two days Like for things like that, yes, we have a refrigerated van otherwise we use insulated bags to actually pick up the food and deliver it Here, some of the business values that we add and businesses pay us just like as a anti-waste management company So if you’re seeing, if you kept up with some of the news, countries like France and Italy have banned food waste and it’s not just a slap on the wrist, it’s $80,000 dollar fine, punishable by two years in jail for businesses and grocery stores that don’t actually partner with non-profits and though I don’t think that we’re gonna have something like that, I wish, have something like that here in the US, I do know that those same types of bans are taking place throughout the country So New York, in San Francisco, in Seattle, all of these different places are starting to implement food bans which are charging businesses that actually don’t donate their food or put it to a higher purpose and so, similar to composting, we charge a volume-based fee and these businesses end up getting, because of the way the Congress has written the tax law, they end up getting 200 to 400% back of cash, and that’s a cash incremental cash benefit to their bottom line for the food that they donate instead of throwing away So we’re essentially unlocking the value of the food that you would otherwise have left on the table, or worse, in the trash, and we take a percentage of that total tax-deductible write-off – [Teacher] Great, question here – [Man] Yeah, I have a question for you What pushed you to a for-profit status? – Got it, I was like, where are you? – [Man] What pushed you to a for-profit status, coming from the non-profit realm and how was it, selling to your first sign-on? – Did you not just hear me, bro? We built Copia to be for-profit, for scale To be very simple, and it’s hard running a non-profit Right, I said I’m solving the world’s dumbest problem that requires some of the world’s smartest people and those people require salaries and you just can’t fundamentally do that as a non-profit and I wanted it to be,

we’re not, this is not just a Bay Area thing It’s not just a cool club to be a part of This is a legitimate company and the idea of when you have, when you have to generate a certain amount of revenue, when you have to have investors and stakeholders that you’re responsible for, it puts a different kind of edge on you an edge to actually scale intelligently and not just like, shit resources everywhere and vice versa, or, or to only serve certain constituents No, I mean, like and I care about children so much but I’m not gonna only use the food that we recover and only feed children with, which are some of the restrictions that you get when you get non-profit funding It just, it doesn’t make sense Fundamentally, that, and not all companies or organizations should be non-profits, but if you have a revenue model, I highly, and anyone else will tell you the same thing, I highly encourage you to be an actual business or run your non-profit as a business – [Teacher] You know what? Pass it on because we’ve got so many hands – [Man] Komal, quick question for you So you talked about motivation, keeping your employees motivated How do you communicate your motivation that you express with the, your being kind of crazy about this problem How do you communicate that to your employees? – The 3:30 A.M. text messages How do I communicate that to, I think, let’s see Last week, so I had our kickoff, our kickoff team meeting and there were a few things I said I think I said, I showed them the pic of the stadium, that actually showed, I said that’s what we actually did, and it was a different stadium so it was like three acts Imagine all of these seats, three times over, that is what you did Because we were able to do that, because we were able to feed hundreds of thousands of people, there’s no reason why we can’t feed hundreds of millions of people I stated the same digit, widget, wadget story, I said we’re not creating another cat-photo sharing app, this is not gonna just incrementally impact thousands of peoples, this is gonna be exponentially impactful to hundreds of millions of peoples lives I said this is John Locke-type tabula rasa, which means like the blank slate, because we just moved into a new office with white walls and it’s 2017 and I said, you know, I want us to learn from all the experiences from our past and all of the mistakes we made and I want us to create this masterpiece together It’s no longer the Komal Copia show, which it has been for a very long time, and that’s not to say that my story isn’t gonna be one that’s to be shared or that it’s one that I will continue to share, but that I want every single one of you to have your own story and I want to hear it and I know that everyone else in this room wants to hear it and I want you to find your own voice and that this will only become a masterpiece if we all work together and work better and smarter than ever before I don’t know if it worked, but, that’s what I said – [Man] So I had a question over here My name’s Davey, I’m a first year at Cal, over here – [Teacher] Would you stand up? – Yeah, sure I’m a first year engineering student When you guys were first creating your company and you were creating your business model, what did you guys, like what were your thoughts going through your head to make sure that you would have a market share, to make sure that other companies that are trying to achieve the same goal, didn’t take over your model? Did you guys pursue patents, like, what was, – You were thinking way too ahead I was like, a senior at Cal I like, I was not thinking about patents at that time by any means I still don’t think about patents because patents are extremely expensive and you still have to fight the patent troll I think eventually we could get there, but the idea of, I mean, you don’t know what you don’t know There’s so much we don’t know, still, about what, like what if Trump changes the tax law? How is that going to impact our business model, as an example There’s still os many what-ifs and unknowns here, how does, right now, we’re creating a playbook, of how do we operate Copia in San Jose or in Silicon Valley versus San Francisco? San Francisco is very dense, the distance between a non-profit that we deliver to and a for-profit that we pick up from, is one to three miles It might take you 45 minutes with traffic, but that’s the distance Whereas in San Jose, you can park You can’t park in San Francisco, but the distance between a non-profit and a for-profit is seven to 12 miles How does that impact? And remember, you’re still moving food, so you have to think about all of those things So those are the different things that, once you learn more and you’re able to make more experiments, it’s also interesting the things that you can do with data, that we didn’t know that we could do before So for instance, I’ll give you two examples One, Stanford, so when it’s raining outside, more people get into car accidents More people get into car accidents, more people in the hospital More people in the hospital, more food is consumed More food is consumed, that means less food is wasted, which means that less food is given to us And so, that’s a, correlation that you were able to draw between surplus food, weather and donation amount So those kinds of things Another is, so, more people go to men’s basketball games

than female basketball games But over a six game period, we could tell through the ID swipes of a university, that more women attended these male basketball games and that more vegan hotdogs were consumed Therefore, over a six game period, they could actually reduce the amount of surplus regular hotdogs that they purchased by over 50% So those are the kinds of stats and things that we’re learning that we can then further enhance our technology, our capability and our services from – [Teacher] So I think we’re going to do two more question So if you have a really good question, ask it We’ll do two more, – No pressure – [Teacher] Yeah, no pressure Come and talk and ask individual questions Are you ready? – Better be good – [Man] Hopefully, hopefully So how do you manage surge, like rushes in food delivery for your partners? So for example, you have a conference that has a lot of food then for that one day and that one event, there’s a lot of food given to the non-profits but then the next day, the non-profits don’t get that amount of food So how do they feed the veterans or the homeless people when they don’t have that amount of food coming in the next day? – Yeah, and I mean, you have the opposite problem too right? During, for instance, during Thanksgiving and Christmas, that’s when everybody remembers people go hungry The 360 days a year, it doesn’t even matter, but Thanksgiving and Christmas, no, people are getting fed So all of these non-profits are filled, like they literally, they’ve exceeds their capabilities of actually accepting food So yeah, we deal with that kind of stuff, that volatility, different times during the year On Fridays, it’s crazy, the amount of pickups that we get because people are, you know, they’re closing their fridges for the weekend or they don’t operate on weekends or they need to get their food out, whatever it is So yeah, you see these volatilities and you learn them and you figure it out I think some food, to a non-profit, is better than no food to a non-profit and also, the kind of, we also reject donors We reject food providers because there’s a certain type of standard that we want to, we think that food, doesn’t matter what socio-economic status you have, should be given with dignity and it should be high quality food So when we’re moving, even food from the Superbowl, it was not you know, popcorn and hotdogs It was $300 dollar cheeses, it is pulled pork, it is filet mignon, it is salmon rolls, there’s, the kind of food that we recover is far better than what I eat on a daily basis and also, like, so, these non-profits are, though it can be frustrating at times, we also know that the more businesses we can get on board, the more food we can get The more food we can get, the more food that we can deliver and so that’s really a scalability question versus a volatility question I think, when I think about it as terms of difficulty – [Man] So how do you deal with excess food to non-profits? I don’t think you quite understood the, – So we understand, go ahead – [Man] Ah yeah, so, how do you, when all these non-profits get an excess amount of food, how do you manage that? Because you just recognized there was a problem but you didn’t really, – Sure no, that’s great We, so we first have to understand what their needs are So they create a dating profile for us, right? So the non-profit So they’ll say, this is who we are, this is the type of clients we serve, this is the type of food that we can accept at this day at this time, this is our storage capacity, this is our freezer capacity So we have all of this information in our database And so then our algorithm will then match the food based off of their needs, when we actually have surplus food available And what it’ll also do, is it’ll also call them so there’ll be a notification that goes through to the non-profit and they can accept or reject the food so in cases of where everyone remembers there’s excess food available and they’ve already hit their capacity, they could still reject it and it’ll tell you the next non-profit to take it to and it’ll automatically, our system will automatically route the driver to the next non-profit Does that answer your question? – [Man] More or less, thank you – Okay, cool – Alright, I’ve got one more question, I think it’s somewhere in the back? – [Man] Uh, right here, right here – Did no women want to ask me a single question? – We’ll have the last question from a woman – ‘Kay, cool – So when you’re done, pass that right, straight up woman next to the blue shirt – [Man] Yeah So you said that your – Raise your hand, ladies Go ahead – You’re a global company and that, – I’m sorry, what? – [Man] You want to end global hunger, right? World hunger But the majority of your target population is in countries where logistical tools such as drivers and non-profits and roads, in fact, do not exist So how do you approach that problem on the global scalability level? Like what are your plans going outside of America? – So I solve it here at home first I don’t pretend to know what, I don’t know what’s happening I’m from Pakistan, I have no idea what’s going on there I have no idea how I would tackle it there But I’m gonna figure it out and I’m gonna do the best I can here and then I’m gonna figure it out I’m gonna do the best I can in LA and in New York and then in Canada and then in London and in all the places where it does work

and I’m gonna then license the technology to the people that can understand these problems in the countries where I don’t know, where I don’t know what I don’t know So I’m not, it’s not gonna be, like I said, it’s not gonna be something that’s gonna happen tomorrow It’s not a 2017 resolution that world hunger’s gonna end this year but it is the resolution that it’s gonna dramatically end and definitely in our country because you know, hunger sucks everywhere, right? It definitely does That’s a really great quote But (audience laughs) but it is unacceptable here In the wealthiest, most prosperous country, it’s unacceptable and like I said, if we can use logistics, if Uber works here, if you know, Match.com works, if FedEx works, if UPS works, then we can make those same, we can use those same types of logistical platforms and those matching algorithms and use it to solve that problem here – [Teacher] Would you pass the microphone up, there’s a crowd right up here of women Get your question ready, one of you – [Student] Can I just ask you? – Sure – [Student] Okay, thank you for coming I think of when I wanted, – [Teacher] Alex, can you hear? – [Woman] Thank you, okay, um Thank you for coming What I wanted to ask was like, you mentioned about being a CEO and a founder, it’s really hard and difficult? What’s the motivation that you’d have for like, more women and just someone that’d be interested in going kind of like that route or what is it that gives you that motivation that, you know, even though you’re staying up at three A.M. in the morning cycle, like I know, does that make sense? – Yeah, I don’t think about it in terms of my gender, I don’t think of it as a liability, I don’t think of it as a strength, I think about it, I don’t, I don’t know I never really think about like, I’m a woman I just, I identify it when I don’t see a woman, I identify it when I’m talking to other people, versus when I just think about it in terms of myself I don’t know if that made sense but, meaning like, I can see when a woman isn’t gonna raise her hand and ask a question versus me just being a woman that is an entrepreneur And I , what I am most motivated by, are the people that I help You know, we delivered to a non-profit last week and I was the one who did the pickup and it was miserable, it was like four P.M. on a Friday and I’m stuck in traffic and I’m trying to drive like three miles and it takes me 48 minutes and I’m like, so upset And people are totally incompetent in driving in general when it’s raining and so, we finally get to the non-profit and the woman opens the door and she like, she sees all of the food we’re bringing in and she has like tears in her eyes and she throws her arms around me and she’s just like, if you hadn’t come today, 283 people wouldn’t have eaten Like women, children They wouldn’t have eaten That really knock, it takes the breath away from you because you’re just like, I can get over myself Like so what, I was stuck in traffic for a little bit I actually gave these people, people who could have just as easily been you, just as easily been me, food So yeah, that is the end motivation for me (person speaking off microphone) – [Teacher] I want to thank you all for listening I want you all to please, not only log in your attendance at the link above, which is how it’ll work but you also have the opportunity to give Komal a little bit of feedback and that would be greatly appreciated and now a rousing applause (group applauds)