As someone who grew up food insecure, Daryl Holman, Jr, is acutely aware of how hunger can wreak havoc on every aspect of life, and he believes that food insecurity is an issue that requires center stage now more than ever.
He studied nonprofit management in undergrad, then public administration in grad school. But upon completing his studies he career track veered in many different, exciting directions.
He delved into the world of community organizing, which ultimately led him to the Harlem Business Alliance. There he worked as a marketing consultant, intertwining his passion for helping Black-owned businesses and online platforms. He developed his tech expertise not at college or graduate school, but as a self-taught Web and Graphic Designer, who upskilled into front-end development through free classes in Harlem and the South Bronx.
Holman’s resourceful nature led him to the field of entrepreneurship. He started FreesSpot.co in 2018, a 501c3 mobile application that helps connect people who are food insecure to locations to food that would otherwise be wasted.
Holman began FreeSpot.co with a singular purpose: “To help people share and exchange free stuff more efficiently.” The mission continues to flourish. FreeSpot Co. provides a crowdsharing platform to connect people to free food, clothing, furniture, events and more that would otherwise go to waste. It displays the same functionality as larger sites like Craigslist and Freecycle, but the app emphasizes free access for everyone, all while protecting data and personal information.
While the secure and curated platform allows for one-on-one direct chats, it also encourages community. One can join a campaign created by local nonprofits that are seeking free items to be donated from the communities they support. This effectively reduces both the amount of food and toxic waste while supplementing meals and material necessities for people in need.
When it comes to growing the platform, Holman continues to embark on his grand yet scalable vision: FreeSpot.co would like to branch out to other products and resources for low-income communities. But he takes a pragmatic approach to building his mission-driven app, starting with market research. In a pitch deck, he highlights the undergraduate enrollment in the United States at roughly 17 million. He zeroes in on the students who reside in New York City, which stands at 594,000 young people. Further, roughly 55% of those students identify as low-income and 15% have trouble accessing the Internet.
Holman points to another statistic that highlights the need for an app like FreeSpot: In places like New York City, over 12,000 tons of trash are thrown away each day.
So far, FreeSpot.co has reached thousands of users across the U.S.
While he has experience building sites for organizations with audiences in the millions, he specializes in early growth where he finds his skillset to be most impactful. He shares invaluable wisdom with his clients: “Everyone is just figuring it out, no matter how sure they are of themselves! Keep pushing and don’t be afraid to fail.”
Holman continues to focus his consultancy on helping other founders generate early traction and transforming it into exponential growth, a skill that will hopefully translate to continued success for his own venture, FreeSpot.co.