When Walter and Andrew worked as management associates at DBS, they found that the sustenance available in vending machines amidst late nights of overtime at the office just didn’t cut it. Health-conscious and hungry, the seeds of an idea were sowed for a healthy snack delivery service. The two went on to found Boxgreen, a company that prides itself on ‘creating the best products to provide consumers better and healthier snack alternatives’, as Walter describes.
Aside from being known for its unique, localized and customizable snack products, Boxgreen strives to create positive social values across its entire supply chain. Walter explains, “We have built-in the social component as part of the DNA of the business so that there’s a greater purpose in what we are doing on top of profits . We started off working with Willing Hearts through a one-box, one-meal donation system. We have since focused on social hiring instead to deepen the integration of social goals into the business.” This transition to incorporating inclusive hiring in their model was to create job opportunities and more importantly, to impart someone with a skill to create more sustainable social impact. At Boxgreen, Walter and his team constantly see business as a force for good. Their business actions are guided not just solely for-profit purposes but also for people and planet. Walter asserts, “We want to enrich people’s lives, be it the products that we push out or the job opportunities we create here.”
In Singapore, the wellbeing industry has been growing strongly over the last few years and shows little signs of slowing down. Amidst the trend of fitness wearables and yoga classes, gym memberships and attendance have increased, and when it comes to food, many consumers turn towards low-calorie and healthier food choices. But that doesn’t mean it has been easy for a start-up like Boxgreen to take off.
Walter explained that one of the bigger obstacles in the initial stages of Boxgreen’s journey was to find funding that would aid in scaling up their production. After a successful pitch at Angel Central’s monthly curated pitch sessions, Boxgreen was able to raise enough funds from angel investors to support its plans in doubling its revenue growth. Initially starting out as a fund-raiser session, Boxgreen subsequently advanced to become an AngelCentral syndicate, managing to raise an undisclosed amount in a pre-series A funding round to scale their manufacturing and distribution capabilities through the setting up of a manufacturing facility in Changi Prison.
On a concluding note, Walter had some advice to impart to today’s entrepreneurs on how to run a business to spark a positive impact in communities. “There will always be a time where you feel like you’re faltering, you will face temptations to compromise your values but it’s important to always stay true to the cause. Stay true to why you are doing and why you are doing it, don’t be distracted by the temptations of making a quick buck.”