If you ask anyone on IDEA’s Management Team what their favorite part of IDEA is, there’s a good chance it has something to do with seeing all of the awesome things our ventures achieve. This is especially true regarding Fresh Truck, one of IDEA’s ventures that recently launched. What’s fun about Fresh Truck is that we are able to witness their accomplishments firsthand and all around Boston. That’s because Fresh Truck is a traveling market, by way of school bus, that provides fresh produce and other nutritional options to Boston neighborhoods that may not otherwise have these options. Fresh Truck was cofounded by Josh Trautwein and Daniel Clarke, who are both recent Northeastern graduates.
I was able to catch up with Josh recently, amidst Fresh Truck’s recent launch and very busy schedule. Here are a few questions about how Fresh Truck was able to utilize IDEA, and the challenges and rewards that come with starting your own business.
What have your biggest challenges been with launching FreshTruck?
Developing an optimal schedule of days, times and locations that balance financial sustainability and community impact has been a very challenging aspect of Fresh Truck’s development. We want to reach all of Boston’s neighborhoods but there’s only so much time in the day, especially times when people are looking for produce or other groceries.
Where have you seen IDEA as an asset with the process of developing your business?
IDEA has helped see Fresh Truck through the process of ideation, fundraising, marketing and capacity building. We’ve been fortunate enough to maintain an ongoing process with IDEA through each of these stages of the business.
What are your typical hours and locations for FreshTruck?
6 am – 9 pm. I get in to work every day, and we have a back log of action items to take care of before we can roll the truck out for the day. The Fresh Truck travels all over Boston, including Northeastern’s campus, Mission Hill, the Seaport, Charlestown, Mattapan and Dorchester, among others.
What has been the most rewarding part of your journey withFreshTruck?
Informal conversations with kids about food and health. All the time we see little bits of learning happen when we cut up a fruit and have a kid decide that they like it in that moment, or when we see a young athlete make a link between sports performance and healthy eating. These sorts of interactions make Fresh Truck’s journey that much more rewarding.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
The best advice I have to offer other entrepreneurs, especially those involved with IDEA, is to engage partners, board members and mentors that have complimentary skill sets and personalities. Making connections is not only valuable, but makes the startup journey much more enjoyable.
IDEA is Northeastern University’s Venture Accelerator, and provides student, alumni and faculty ventures with coaches, mentors and funding in order to advance their business ideas. For more information on IDEA, please visit our website.