Innovator Profile: Ben Winters, co-founder of FoodChain
Meet the co-founder of a UW spinoff transforming local food systems
UW–Madison alum Ben Winters ‘20 and his co-founder Jake Levitt worked with Discovery to Product (D2P) to help launch FoodChain during the last year of Ben’s undergraduate degree program in the School of Business. Their idea was to connect farmers, suppliers, and consumers with an innovative online marketplace. Enter FoodChain, a platform that allows producers to list, advertise, and sell their products in new markets while purchasers can browse an active inventory of local foods and have all their products consolidated into a single purchaser order and digital invoice. FoodChain was recently acquired by the Dohmen Group, where Ben and Jake continue to be closely involved.
In the summer of 2019, Ben, Jake and team member William Finn took part Discovery to Product’s Igniter program, a free non-credit course that helps faculty, staff, and student innovators bring ideas to the marketplace. “FoodChain was a really interesting start-up,” says Kieran Furlong, who serves as one of the mentors for the project. “Who doesn’t want local, fresh food? Yet, this is something that is incredibly hard to make happen. Ben, Jake and William were willing to roll up their sleeves and really get stuck in to figure out why that wasn’t happening. By focusing on the frictions in the existing food-supply chains they were able to plot a successful course for FoodChain, which ultimately led them to their acquisition.”