2017 Young Alumni Achievement Award
Rajesh Karmani is the founder of Zero Percent, a Chicago-based public benefit corporation with the mission to reduce food waste. Zero Percent provides an online food donation platform that connects great surplus food from restaurants and schools, for example, with non-profit partners serving people in need. Every donation is tracked using an Uber-style app and detailed data is available on a dashboard for analysis.
The platform, which Karmani originally developed as an app while completing his PhD, has coordinated more 1.5 million meals from 100+ businesses to 80+ nonprofits in Chicago, Champaign, and Nashville. Sixty-nine percent of the donated food is prepared or perishable.
Karmani won a NationSwell Technology Impact Award in 2016 for developing a real-world solution to the hunger and food waste issues.
In January 2017, Karmani became the Head of Technology at Farmer's Fridge, a venture-backed startup on a mission to make fresh food available 24/7 through smart digital fridges/vending kiosks. He oversees all technology projects including mobile, fridge and web applications, as well as back-end and data infrastructure.