How Two College Students Are Solving The Problem Of Food Waste by@psonthalia

How Two College Students Are Solving The Problem Of Food Waste

DeWaste is a startup working on reducing food waste in dining institutions through an analysis of what food gets thrown away. Using this data, we help update the menus to better suit what customers like. The startup's most important metric is how much food waste goes down during the time that we’ve been active at the location. The biggest worry has always been hardware and hardware failures; we hope that these controllers get more reliable over time. The most exciting thing is that we're getting more customers in the last few months.
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Paran Sonthalia HackerNoon profile picture

Paran Sonthalia

Senior at UC Berkeley CEO of DeWaste Eagle Scout Huge car guy Training for endurance events YouTube: Xcelerate


HackerNoon Reporter: Please tell us briefly about your background.

I’m currently a rising senior at UC Berkeley studying computer science and data science. This summer, alongside working on DeWaste, I’m also interning at Citadel.

What's your startup called? And in a sentence or two, what does it do?

DeWaste. We work on reducing food waste in dining institutions through an analysis of what food gets thrown away. Using this data, we help update the menus to better suit what customers like.

What is the origin story?

Pranshu and I were sitting in our university dining hall and just were not enjoying the food; we looked for somewhere to submit feedback and couldn’t find anything. Looking around everyone was throwing away their food and it hit us, if people throw away their food that generally means they didn’t like it. This led to our idea of analyzing the food thrown away to get better designed menus.

What do you love about your team, and why are you the ones to solve this problem?

It’s great that we both have very diverse skill sets and complement each other well.


As students we’ve seen the problem of food waste firsthand and have the resources through our school to help solve it.

If you weren’t building your startup, what would you be doing?

We’d probably both be software engineers in finance companies.

At the moment, how do you measure success? What are your core metrics?

Our most important metric is how much food waste we’re able to reduce. Most importantly we look at how much food waste goes down during the time that we’ve been active at the location.

What’s most exciting about your traction to date?

We’ve got a lot of new customers in the last few months. And as we’re getting more customers, we’re starting to notice a ripple effect.

What technologies are you currently most excited about, and most worried about? And why?

Computer vision has been getting way more reliable and this will make our food waste analysis significantly more accurate. The biggest worry has always been hardware and hardware failures; we hope that these controllers get more reliable over time.

What drew you to get published on HackerNoon? What do you like most about our platform?

Both of us have heard about HackerNoon a lot from our friends and that’s when we started reading about all sorts of new ideas and projects. The stories are written incredibly well on this platform.

What advice would you give to the 21-year-old version of yourself?

Seeing as I’m not 21 years old yet I’d tell myself in the future to not give up and keep pushing even through the hard times because the problem we’re solving is very important.

What is something surprising you've learned this year that your contemporaries would benefit from knowing?

Covid is a great time for research and development. Even though customers might need to pause their subscriptions, this has been a great time to focus on making our product much better.


DeWaste is contesting from Berkeley for HackerNoon startup of the year. Vote now!


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