Longtime friends Ethan Lowry and Joe Heitzeberg were intrigued when a friend of theirs kept bragging about the incredible taste of beef he bought in bulk from a local farm. But when the two went to place an order, they learned they'd have to buy an entire cow -- over 500 pounds of meat.
Why not "crowdfund" the cow, Lowry thought. That way, 50 people could each get a manageable 10 pounds of meat. They knew it sounded like a crazy idea, but if it went well, they thought, maybe it could even turn into a business. They found a farm, and emailed 100 friends. They sold out their first cow in 24 hours. So they decided to create Crowd Cow.
Within a few months of launching, the business had already generated more than $1 million in sales.
Crowd Cow partners directly with small sustainable farms that give their cattle ample grazing land. and never use growth hormones or unnecessary antibiotics. "When you buy from Crowd Cow, the site tells you exactly which farm your beef comes from, and all about the farm and farmer who raised it," Lowry says.
Crowd Cow is available in limited cities in the West and Texas, and plans to expand nationwide at the end of May.