At first, a gourmet mushroom supplier and a company that builds tiny, three-wheeled electric vehicles may not sound like a typical business partnership. But to CEO of Hyphae Wellness Geoff Ostrove and Arcimoto Chief Strategy Officer Jesse Fittipaldi, the connection was obvious.
The two Eugene-based companies have recently joined forces to give Lane County its first mushroom delivery service, aiming to deliver mushroom-based culinary and wellness products to the doorsteps of local residents and businesses with the silent, zero-emission Arcimoto Deliverator.
“We want our products to get to the customer in a way that’s consistent with our morals and values,” Ostrove says. “And that definitely comes down to working with electric car companies and trying to limit our carbon footprint.”
A native Californian and veteran of the cannabis industry, Ostrove started Hyphae Wellness in early 2020 with longtime friend and business partner Nick Ciufo, hoping to provide the community with a variety of mushroom products meant to promote mental and physical wellbeing. The company offers a product line that includes whole, raw lion’s mane mushrooms, gummies, tinctures and mouth sprays made from a variety of mushroom extracts.
Hyphae sells its whole mushrooms in bulk to restaurants and health food stores around Eugene, while individual customers can order its wellness products through the company’s e-commerce website. Ostrove says there are a number of health benefits to consuming lion’s mane mushrooms, ranging from subtle boosts of energy and improved mental clarity to long-term prevention against recurring health problems.
Before the Arcimoto partnership, customers could order Hyphae’s products through snail mail or buy directly from one of the stores Hyphae sells to. As the COVID-19 pandemic put a strain on the company’s sales, Ostrove began flirting with the idea of a subscription-based service, allowing customers to have mushroom products delivered to their homes at regular intervals for a set price.
But the more Ostrove thought about the idea, the more he began to consider the negative environmental impacts of mail delivery.
“Every time we’d get an order, we’d package it and send it through FedEx or UPS,” he says. “But think about the carbon footprint of that process, even just getting around Eugene.”
Ostrove and Fittipaldi met through Jaime Floyd, co-founder of Ninkasi Brewing Company, who suggested they get in touch after hearing their similar values and visions for their respective businesses. After a flurry of excited emails and phone calls, the two decided a Arcimoto-Hyphae partnership could bring the positive change to the Eugene community that both companies envisioned.
Hyphae’s zero-emission delivery program is now up and running. Its own trademark Hyphae Wellness Arcimoto Deliverator has been operational for a few weeks throughout the Eugene area.
But Fittipaldi says Arcimoto has no plans to stop at mushrooms. The Hyphae partnership is part of the company’s data-collection phase for its foray into the local delivery business, with long term plans to get the Deliverator into other industries.
“When we’re at full-scale production, the cost is going to be relatively low compared to other vehicles,” Fittipaldi says. “And it’s got the potential to save the planet.”
The goal is to eventually transition all of Eugene’s “last mile” delivery — the final leg of the delivery process from the local distribution center to the customer’s doorstep — to zero-emission vehicles. If Arcimoto can prove that it’s efficient and cost effective in Eugene, then the idea is to eventually start implementing it in other communities, Fittipaldi says.
“It’s critical that we start local,” he says. “Then people come here and see how we live and go, ‘Damn, I really like what I saw in Eugene. Maybe it’s something I can take back to my community.’”
Ostrove and Fittipaldi see the pandemic as a catalyst for this transition. As the local delivery industry expands and customers grow weary of the risks tied to dense public spaces, they say there’s never been a better moment to revolutionize home delivery.
“I think it’ll be the lasting impact of COVID,” Ostrove says. “Does it make sense to walk into a brick-and-mortar store when I can use my time and money more efficiently, and know that my purchase was brought to me in an ethically sound way?”
To learn more about the partnership, contact Hyphae Wellness at GetHyphae.com or 805-509-2009, and Arcimoto at Arcimoto.com or 541-683-6293.