Vinder is a community marketplace for people to list, discover, and buy local produce – connecting community members to local growers.
Founded in July of 2016 in Port Townsend, Wash., a rural Victorian art and seaport community, Vinder was originally launched on foot and bicycle by the founder and CEO, Sam Lillie. He would go door to door asking homeowners if they had a home garden, if they ever had too much produce, and if they ever thought about selling some. Many said yes, they did have an abundance of produce. Within 3 months, Vinder connected 30 home growers with 15 families and distributed over 300 lbs of homegrown produce.
Today users can buy, sell, and trade local produce through Vinder’s mobile apps. The company has won several prestigious business competitions and raised hundreds of thousands in capital.
In this episode of the Rural Business show, I speak with Sam Lillie, who lives in Port Townsend. He talks about his struggles finding his lane after college – he applied with 106 companies and was rejected over and over again. Then the idea for Vinder came as he was sitting in a town hall meeting. He shares what it took for him to get the company off the ground and what he’s learned as he has worked to make this rural startup a success.