Around the world, the vegan movement is gaining popularity. More and more people are choosing to move away from animal products in favor of herbal alternatives.
According to vegan business magazine Vegconomist, Singapore is fast becoming a ‘vegan haven’ and was named the second most vegan-friendly city in Asia by PETA Asia.
Despite this, looking for vegetarian or vegan options in Singapore can still be a tedious affair. Even as vegan options in Singapore continue to expand, consumers may still find it difficult to experience these dining establishments.
Vikas Garg, founder and CEO of abbillion, understood these challenges. The entrepreneur grew up in a vegetarian household and, although he lives in New York City, the options were limited.
“I mostly have a lot of dairy, pizza, things like that. It was always a challenge to go to a restaurant and ask about the food. It got even more difficult when I went vegan, ”Vikas said.
He had made the decision to embark on a vegan diet after realizing that some of the advertisements surrounding the health benefits of incorporating dairy into his diet might not be as truthful as he was. ‘had thought.
Plus, that was also around the time he got his dog, and the emotional connection he made with his pet made him think more deeply about the impact of how to become vegan. could be more beneficial to the environment.
So the eventual decision to launch a billion seemed natural to him, as he wanted to create a platform that would help people make an easy and natural transition to more sustainable food choices.
Review vegan dishes from around the world
Previously abillionveg, abillion is a user-driven platform that encourages people to share reviews of vegan dishes or products, with the ultimate goal of using user-generated content to create an ecosystem for movement based. of plants.
Vikas made the decision to step down from his corporate position in January 2017 and started abillionveg a few months later. He signed up for a coding bootcamp before that because he felt it would be helpful to understand the basics of how the platform works.
He then kicked out two of the top students from the same bootcamp, and the three began building the initial website, which launched in November 2017.
Beyond a platform for sharing reviews of vegan dishes and restaurants, One Billion has grown into an ecosystem of over 350,000 users in over 140 countries.
The team changed their brand from abillionveg to abillion in order to cater to their growing community.
Today, 65% of its members are omnivores and flexiatrists, and the team sees a greater diversity of its audience. The common denominator, however, is their interest in sustainability.
“We have realized that we are not only serving a vegan community, but a global community of conscious consumers and we are rapidly evolving to serve them better,” Vikas said.
The team creates a community of conscious, holistic consumers who strive to be sustainable in all aspects of their lives, be it in beauty, fitness, retail and life in general.
Since 2018, abillion has raised US $ 7 million in funding. Of the US $ 7 million, US $ 2 million was raised in its fundraising round, which broke records as the biggest fundraiser for a plant-based start-up that year at Singapore.
The startup is currently in its Series A funding with the goal of raising US $ 10-15 million by the end of July.
Turning social networks into social good
For every review posted, abillion credits its members $ 1 which they can donate to nearly 70 of the world’s most influential organizations leading conservation, education and diet change efforts.
According to Vikas, it helps users make the connection between their lifestyle choices and the impact they have on the world.
It also helped the team build their core base of a billion dedicated members, as well as naturally increasing the amount of donations based on this growth.
To date, the platform has seen over 700,000 food reviews and 100,000 brand reviews, with over US $ 500,000 donated to good causes.
Besides food, users can also find vegan products like hair and skin products, all of which allow other vegan enthusiasts to leave reviews. This allows a billion users to perform a more precise search.
Vikas told Vulcan Post that one billion has “the world’s most valuable and unique consumer data set for sustainability,” which comes from its 700,000 reviews.
The startup can then leverage this proprietary data set to help investors, manufacturers, distributors and retailers identify market gaps and growth opportunities in the wave of socially responsible consumption.
It is also the first company to launch prices for herbal products and dishes based on actual data and consumer preferences.
“We’re not telling the public that something is number one based on the opinions of a small panel of famous judges; we give someone a first place prize based on thousands of data points based on actual member feedback, ”Vikas said.
The vegan market is big, and it’s growing fast
According to Vikas, the year 2020 saw a “seismic shift in the conscious mindset of Singaporean consumers,” which manifested itself with the 2.5-fold increase in the number of users of the app to Singapore. Over 4,000 vegan food reviews have been posted about Singapore Landscape alone in the app.
As Singapore’s economy began to recover from the pandemic and users were allowed to visit more restaurants, a billion people saw a growing interest in plant-based dishes and alternatives among the Singaporean crowd.
With plant-based meat substitutes like Tindle, Karana and Impossible Foods becoming more popular, Singapore sees an emerging vegan market and interest in plant-based nutrition and food continues to grow.
Last year, abillion released its report on the 20 best vegan cities, and Singapore was named second in the global vegan cities ranking. It is also one of the top four key markets for the app.
All over the world, people are adopting plant-based diets and there is an increased awareness of the environmental and personal benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. I also think the pandemic has been a wake-up call in this regard – people have started to see the necessity and positivity behind conscious decision making. Platforms like abillion have been instrumental in this new wave and we are proud to be part of this growth to ensure a more sustainable future for all beings.
Vikas Garg, founder and CEO of abillion
Currently one billion members can only post reviews of plant-based dishes and sustainable products. However, by the end of the quarter, $ 1 billion plans to give members the ability to post whatever they want.
This includes the ability to discuss anything sustainable, share their thoughts, photos, videos, recipes, and even links to articles.
These more general messages aim to start conversations about sustainability and bring the community closer together.
Since abillion is a global community that catalyzes people and businesses to do what’s good for the planet, Vikas wants to be the world’s largest social media platform for sustainability.
To help us achieve this, one of its key priorities is to continue to become a toolkit for the next generation of entrepreneurs and business owners, who prioritize plant-based offerings.
With this in mind, it will launch a Business Dashboard in the coming months. This dashboard will help business owners interact with the growing base of conscious consumers.
abillion will also launch a marketplace that will allow consumers to buy and brands to sell products directly from our platform.
“We hope these features will allow members to interact with one another and encourage them to be guiding forces in each other’s sustainable journeys. Our ultimate goal with abillion is to help people make social impact and sustainability a habit for everyone, ”said Vikas.
Featured Image Credit: One Billion
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