Local Orbit is coming to a market near you soon, one way or another.
The downtown Ann Arbor-based startup’s local-food-ecosystem-software can now be found in a dozen states and Canada with plans to enter more later this year. It's also expanding its software platform to accommodate larger institutional buyers and offering retreats to help food entrepreneurs improve their business.
"We have really worked on refining our service offerings," says Erika Block, CEO of Local Orbit
Local Orbit's technology helps connect buyers (think restaurants) with local food producers in, like Eastern Market in Detroit. The software platform provides a flexible, customizable suite of business tools that helps everything from farmer's markets to food co-ops streamline ordering, transaction processing, inventory management, logistics, integrated marketing and business analytics. It works for everything from fresh produce to craft food.
Local Orbit is also preparing to launch a version of this software platform for institutional buyers, like hospitals and universities. The new pilot project, set to launch later this year, helps these big buyers manage and streamline the local food procurement process.
"We can fill a lot of the needs larger institutions have," Block says.
Local Orbit also started offering Hub Camps
, which are events that help local food entrepreneurs sharpen their business skills and grow their companies. Local Orbit has held two of these camps so far in Grand Rapids and Los Angeles. It is getting ready to host another one in California this spring.
"It's the nuts and bolts business tools to help people think through the best ways to run their business," Block says.
Local Orbit currently employs eight people and an intern. It has hired one person over the last year, a community manager, and is the process of hiring two more employees right now.
Source: Erika Block, CEO of Local Orbit
Writer: Jon Zemke