Crowd Cow, a new company launched by UW CSE alum Joe Heitzeberg (B.S., ’05) and fellow startup veteran Ethan Lowry, offers a different kind of meat market—one in which Northwest steak lovers become “steak holders” by crowdsourcing their evening meal.
Unlike typical cattle-sharing arrangements that require a significant investment in freezer space, Crowd Cow enables customers to purchase only the quantity and cuts that they want online, from sources that are committed to sustainable and humane practices. By tapping into the crowdsourcing trend and uniting quality with convenience, the company hopes to transform the way people shop for meat.
From a recent article on GeekWire:
“Crowd Cow removes the mystery by working directly with select Washington ranches that are producing the best possible meat from start to finish. It also brings a high-tech sensibility to the age-old practice of processing and buying meat, taking the crowdsourced funding techniques popular among tech products and non-profit initiatives and applying them to the pasture, instead….
“The first cow, or ‘event’ as they call it, was launched with an email to 100 friends. Six hundred people ended up coming to the site, and Lowry and Heitzeberg knew they were on to something.
“‘We knew the mechanics of crowdfunding as a way to engage an audience and essentially pre-sell something….We’re the only online retailer, that I can find, where you can buy meat and know exactly where it came from, from a variety of ranchers, of the exact cuts and quantity you want,’ Heitzeberg said.”