This is a monthly guest post, by consulting firm Rosenheim Advisors, which highlights the most interesting acquisitions, financings and partnerships within the Food Tech & Media ecosystem – digital content, social, local, mobile, grocery, e-commerce, delivery, ordering, payments, marketing and analytics – to give you insights into the latest funding and growth trends.
Global food tech investments dominated August, with two thirds of the funded companies based outside of the U.S. (representing 95% of the total capital raised). Total food tech and media funding for the month rounded out to approximately $950 million across 26 global companies, with a subset of eight U.S. companies garnering a combined investment of $44 million. There were four acquisitions with undisclosed values, all based in the U.S. and relatively early stage.
The broad international trends reflect the same hot sectors in the U.S. – food delivery, online ordering, ecommerce, restaurant platforms – and with five of the deals valued at more than $20 million, we are seeing the same shift towards expansion and scalability for the leaders of the pack. In August, the two largest deals were China-based companies, totaling $710 million of investment. In this context, China appears to be a cycle ahead of the U.S. in terms of maturing concepts, with an increasing number of companies scaling beyond U.S. benchmarks of reach and growth.
Meanwhile, as I discussed in May, India has begun to embrace food tech concepts, and entrepreneurs are churning out a steady number of new companies each month. While there are a handful of established brands in India, like BigBasket.com and Zomato (both recently reported to be valued at $1 billion), most players in the Indian food tech space are still in the early stages of market- and thesis-testing modes. As highlighted in the Economic Times, this evolving market is quickly becoming cluttered, and the “real test will come when they plan to scale in other geographies without comprising on quality.”
Reserve Acquires Set for Service. The New York-based provider of CRM systems for restaurants will allow Reserve to offer restaurants the ability to track customer feedback and details, such as reservation notes, dining habits, or allergies, in order to improve guest experience. Reserve, a provider of restaurant reservation and payment solutions, will continue to offer all Set for Service features to its existing clients while deciding which features to integrate with Reserve. Set for Service’s CEO and founder has joined Reserve as the head of restaurant product and New York General Manager.
Announced: 08/21/15 Terms: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2009
InstaCart Acquires Wedding Party. The Palo Alto, CA-based mobile app has been acquihired by InstaCart, which will take on six of Wedding Party’s employees, most of which are engineers. As both companies are data driven, the new hirers are expected to work on the consumer-facing aspects of its technology, the shopper-facing app, as well as preferred partner products including partner interface and catalogs. Reportedly, Wedding Party’s app will continue to exist into the near future.
Announced: 08/04/15 Terms: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: $1.0m Founded: August 2012
Vivonet Acquisitions Acquires Syrus Restaurant Information Services. The Columbus, OH-based SaaS back-office and above-store reporting solutions provider focuses on the North American restaurant industry, and will allow Vivonet, which provides omni-channel POS solutions, to offer its clients an integrated solution for labor, inventory, and ordering. Syrus’s SaaS platform integrates with most point of sale systems in the market, and serves over 2,500 restaurants.
Announced: 08/27/15 Terms: All Cash Transaction Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 1996
Rise Acquires HealthyOut. The New York-based mobile nutrition platform, which gives users recommendations on healthy dishes at local restaurants, will help Rise, a mobile platform that connects users with personal diet coaches, improve its services in helping users create a healthier diet. The company utilizes machine learning technology to process over 140,000 restaurant menus in the country. According to TechCrunch, the acquisition will also help Rise retain its competitive edge without having to invent a similar product.
Ele.me Raises $630m. The Shanghai-based food delivery service is an online platform that offers customer-to-customer meal ordering services, and also works as a communication platform between users and restaurants. According to Forbes, the deal has made Ele.me, which translates to “Are you hungry now?,” the fourth largest food ordering platform after Grubhub, Delivery Hero, and Just Eat. The company will use the funds to expand into more cities and build its own delivery network. As part of its investment in Ele.me, retailer Hualian will partner with Ele.me to deliveries from its supermarkets across the country.
Announced: 08/28/15 Valuation: $3 billion Stage: Series F Participating Institutional Investors: CITIC Capital Holdings (Lead), Hualian (Lead), JD.com, Sequoia Capital, Tencent Holdings Previous Investment: $455.0 million Founded: September 2008
iZettle Raises $67m. The Stockholm, Sweden-based provider of mobile point-of-sale solutions enables small businesses to provide mobile payment services through its card readers for smartphones and tablets. With the raise, the company announced its new project, iZettle Advance, a financing product that will allow iZettle customers to access extra capital as an advance on card sales. Upon approval into the iZettle Advance program, customers will receive funding within days, and paybacks occur automatically as a fraction of card sales. iZettle intends to use the funding towards development and expansion of the iZettle Advance project, as well as continued growth in existing and future markets.
Announced: 08/28/15 Stage: Series D Participating Institutional Investors: Intel Capital (Lead), Zouk Capital LLP (Lead), 83North, Creandum, Dawn Capital, Index Ventures, Northzone, Santander Innoventures Previous Investment: $108.8 million Founded: April 2010
Pronto Raises $1.6m. The London-based meal delivery service offers cooked meals using ingredients sourced from local producers. According to TechCrunch, Pronto differentiates its service from delivery giants by offering healthier versions of traditional British meals. Pronto currently has over 1,000 customers, and reports to have a large number of return customers. The company plans to use the funding to hire more personnel and start a marketing push for the first time.
Announced: 08/27/15 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: Playfair Capital, Seedcamp, London Co-Investment Fund, Ballpark Ventures Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2014
Food Talk India Raises $500k. The Gurgaon, India-based online food community lets members read and share food experiences through real-time restaurant recommendations. Originally starting out as an invite-only social food forum on Facebook, the company currently has over 400,000 followers across various social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Viber. The company additionally offers in-person events in the form of curated social events. Funding will be used to launch its new product, a mobile app Food Talk Plus geared towards hyper-local dish discovery.
Announced: 08/26/15 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2014
Yogiyo Raises $35m. The Seoul, Korea-based food delivery service app was Korea’s first online food ordering platform, and now through strategic investment, represents a Korean brand of Delivery Hero. Although Korean competitor Baedaltong, was acquired by Delivery Hero last December, Delivery Hero has no immediate plans of merging YoGiYo and Baedaltong, as they each “have well established their own positions in the market.” With this new capital infusion, Yogiyo will focus on customer satisfaction through continued development and improvement to products and services.
Announced: 08/25/15 Stage: Venture Participating Investors: Delivery Hero Previous Investment: $23.6 million Founded: June 2012
EazyDiner Raises $3m. The Delhi, India-based restaurant reservation platform is offers real-time guaranteed restaurant reservations. The company features over 19,000 restaurant and bars, as well as over 1,000 critic reviews. Users receive deals and discounts with each reservation, and the company has a loyalty rewards program. The company will use the capital injection to expand into 12 cities in India by the end of 2016.
Announced: 08/25/15 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: Chrys Capital, DSG Consumer Partners, Saama Capita, Deepak Shahdadpuri, Gulpreet Kohli Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2014
Jolly Food Fellow Raises $300k. The Ahmedabad, India-based mobile app provides food vendors operating through ecommerce platforms with analytics about their customers to apply customer target strategies. The startup currently offers data on customers, including what they eat, and the number of times they visit. The company has plans to add more analytics of customers to identify repetitive clients, which it claims will help food vendors monetize. Jolly Food Fellow has run prototypes across food retail outlets in Ahmedabad, and will use the cash infusion to expand into metro cities of Mumbai and Bengaluru.
Announced: 08/24/15 Stage: Angel Participating Institutional Investors: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2015
Sampler Raises $1m. The New York, NY and Toronto-based SaaS startup enables consumer packaged goods companies to distribute samples of their products through their own redistribution channels. Using Sampler’s technology platform, companies can offer samples to targeted users, who will then receive information about picking up samples via email and social media. The company states that Sampler’s targeted method of sample distribution to targeted customers guards against “Freebie Hunters,” and provide companies with demographic and feedback data to identify their customer base.
Announced: 08/21/15 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: Business Development Bank of Canada, David B Perkins, MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund Previous Investment: $0.6 million Founded: November 2013
RedMart Raises $26.7m. The Singapore-based online grocery retailer site enables users to browse and buy groceries, household essentials and related products. Funding will be used to support international expansion, the growth of its grocery and marketplace business, the launch of its On Demand Marketplace, and investment in its dry and fresh private label offering. TechCrunch notes that RedMart owns its own logistics and warehouse chain, which could facilitate venturing into other product categories.
Announced: 08/20/14 Stage: Series C Participating Institutional Investors: Far East Ventures, Garena, SoftBank Ventures Korea, Visionnaire Ventures Previous Investment: $33.0 million Founded: March 2011
Revel Systems Raises $13.5m. The San Francisco-based iPad-based point-of-sale system for grocery, retail and restaurant establishments includes front-end order entry, cash register and payment processing, plus a full suite of back-end products. Revel’s platform enables small- and medium-sized businesses, franchise operators and enterprises to access a full suite of operations and reporting features designed to help manage and grow their business. The Revel platform can connect to the internet via Ethernet, and is thus accessible to merchants who do not have Wi-Fi. The new funding will be used for global expansion and to support engagements within existing and new verticals.
Bright Cellars Raises $1.8m. The Cambridge, MA-based online subscription wine retailer distributes personalized wines using a proprietary matching algorithm. The company develops individual preference profiles for new members through a wine quiz, which has questions including which type of chocolate they prefer, how they prefer their tea, and how adventurous they are with dining. Customers then receive a selection of wines that match their tastes, and can refine their preference profile by rating wines after drinking them. Bright Cellars plans to use the funding to build its platform and hire new team members.
Announced: 08/18/15 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: Angels on the Water, BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, CSA Partners LLC, gener8tor Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2014
Peach Raises $8m. The Seattle-based food delivery startup delivers lunches from local restaurants to office workers in Seattle and San Diego, providing a bulk-order boost to restaurants’ business during what would typically be slow periods. The company sends registered members a daily text with a lunch dish of the day as well as lite and vegetarian alternatives. The company has delivered over 400,000 meals since June 2014, and added catering services. Peach will use the capital injection to expand Boston and Washington D.C.
Shadowfax Raises $300k. The Gurgaon, India-based on-demand hyperlocal delivery service enables delivery from local merchants to their customers. The company’s technological platform incorporates multiple modes of communication, as well as GPS tracking functions and automated algorithms to make its network efficient. Customers are charged on a pay-per-delivery basis depending on distance and level of service quality. Shadowfax plans to use the capital injections to expand into 10 more cities within the next year and grow its staff to more than 35 employees and 350 riders.
Announced: 08/17/15 Stage: Angel Participating Angel Investors: Kunal Bahl, Prashant Malik, Rohit Bansal, Zishaan Hayath Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2015
MassBlurb Raises Angel Funding. The Mumbai, India-based startup provides social media marketing services to small and medium sized restaurants. The company’s marketing automation tool is a single dashboard for restaurants to manage their online presence and list their businesses on sites like Zomato and FoodPanda. MassBlurb will use the capital infusion to provide more features to its product offerings and expand across India and abroad.
Announced: 08/13/15 Stage: Angel Participating Angel Investors: Abhimanyu Munjal, Keshav Baljee, Vikram Chachra Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2014
Big Basket Raises $50m. The Bangalore, India-based online grocery store is the largest in India. TechCrunch reports that BigBasket presently offers four daily time slots for delivery, but may launch one hour delivery after its acquisition of hyperlocal delivery startup Delyvr. The company is currently facing competition from other hyperlocal delivery services offering on demand delivery from nearby stores. BigBasket.com will apply the funding towards expansion, and has plans to open 10 new warehouses expand into 50 Tier II cities.
Announced: 08/12/15 Valuation: $1 billion Stage: Series C Participating Institutional Investors: Ascent Capital Group, Bessemer Venture Partners, Helion Venture Partners, Zodius Capital Previous Investment: $35.8 million Founded: October 2011
Mogl Raises $8m. The San Diego-based rewards and loyalty app allows users to gain cash-back rewards for spending money at partner restaurants and also provides the option to donate rewards to a fundraiser or transfer rewards into points toward airline flights, hotel stays and more. Offline merchants can create an offer to be displayed on the company’s network of participating websites and apps. Customers who would like to take the offer can link their debit or credit card through the participating website or app, and get rewarded when making a purchase offline. Mogl plans to use the funding to expand and apply its technology foundation to other industries, including gas stations, health-conscious grocery stores, clothing stores, and spas.
Announced: 08/11/15 Stage: Venture Round Participating Institutional Investors: Aequitas Capital, Avalon Ventures, Correlation Ventures, Monroe Capital, Moore Venture Partners, Sigma Partners Previous Investment: $26.8 million Founded: 2010
RainCan Raises $100k. The Pune, India-based provider of dairy, meat, bakery, fruits, and vegetables operates on a subscription-based service. RainCan earns a 10-15% margin on its products, and has partnered with distributors of Nestle, ITC and P&G. The proceeds will be used to help the company grow and increase orders from 100 a day to 500 a day.
Announced: 08/10/15 Stage: Angel Participating Angel Investors: Ajeet Khurana Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: March 2000
Dinner Lab Raises $7m. The New Orleans-based membership-based dining club connects undiscovered chefs with interested diners by giving members access to pop-up dining events thrown in particular locations. The company hosts multiple dinners a month more than 30 cities. Locations include warehouses and helipads, and the food is prepared by chefs that may not be operating their own kitchen. Dinner Lab currently has over 25,000 members, and charges a yearly membership fee as well as a per meal fee should members decide to attend. The company intends to use the funding to expand operations across U.S. markets and its B2B solutions.
Announced: 08/06/15 Stage: Series A Participating Institutional Investors: James River Capital, Innovation Catalyst Previous Investment: $3.1 million Founded: August 2011
Green Blender Raises $900k. The New York-based smoothie ingredients subscription service sends customers pre-portioned ingredients to make smoothies at home. The company sends ingredients for ten smoothies, with five recipes, and claims to source ingredients from organic and local farms whenever possible. The funding will be used to support the company’s growth, through hiring, geographic expansion, partnerships, and marketing initiatives.
Announced: 08/06/15 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: FOOD-X, Point Nine Capital, SOSV Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2014
Beat the Q Posse Group Raises $5m. The Sydney, Australia-based group is newly formed, comprised of three formerly separate companies Posse, Beat the Q, and E-Coffee Card. The company’s app Hey You enables customers to order from cafes en route, gain loyalty benefits, and connect with storeowners. Beat the Q Posse Group plans to use the funding for further product development and operation scaling. According to BRW, new features will include group ordering as well as beacon-enabled table service.
Announced: 08/04/15 Stage: Series A Participating Institutional Investors: Reinventure Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2011
Meal Box Raises $3.6m. The Istanbul, Turkey-based on-demand meal delivery service offers traditional home-cooked style Turkish food. According to TechCrunch, Meal Box’s offering is in contrast to that of most meal delivery services in Turkey, which serve fast food or street food. Meal Box operates its own centralized kitchen and has a network of delivery centers throughout the cities, enabling the company to ensure delivery within 30 minutes. The company has plans to expand to Ankara and other major cities by the end of the year.
Announced: 08/03/15 Stage: Venture Round Participating Institutional Investors: Aslanoba Capital Previous Investment: $3.6 million Founded: 2014
IOrderFresh Raises $1m. The Delhi, India-based mobile food and grocery retailer caters to customers in and around the National Capital Region. The company does not store inventory for retail, and instead procures products from wholesale retailers the day of delivery. The cash infusion will be used for technology development, increasing the supply chain, and customer acquisition and services.
Announced: 08/01/15 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: Best Foodworks (lead) Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: 2013
Cake Raises $2.2m. The London-based mobile payment platform lets users pay or split the bill to their preference at restaurant and bars. Cake currently has a network of over 20 registered businesses and expects to expand to 100 businesses by the end of 2015. Funding will be used to support growth in London and Los Angeles.
Closed: 08/01/15 Stage: Equity Crowdfunding Participating Institutional Investors: Not Disclosed Previous Investment: $1 million Founded: February 2014
Jiuxian Raises $80m. The Beijing-based online alcohol retailer is the largest in China. In addition to its core business of alcohol retail, Jiuxian has developed four other business segments, including integrated branding services, on demand delivery service services, creation of customized brands for online sales channels, and online special offers. The funding makes Jiuxian China’s tenth best funded startup, and part of the new funding for Jiuxian will go towards growing a spin-off, on-demand wine and beer delivery service Jiukuaidao, which taps local brick-and-mortar stores to deliver to buyers in their area. Funding will also be used towards expansion of the company’s market share of online retail and line of customized brands.
Announced: 07/31/15 Valuation: $1.05 billion Stage: Series G Participating Institutional Investors: Merrysunny Wealth (lead) Previous Investment: $182.5 million Founded: 2009
Improvonia Raises $4m. The Washington, DC-based mobile and web-based communication platform connects buyers and sellers to improve communication and streamline the ordering process in the hospitality industry. Restaurants that use the service can place all their orders to all their suppliers at once. The company will apply the funding towards expansion to new cities, hiring more user facing employees, and building out the ordering platform.
Announced: 07/31/15 Stage: Series A Participating Institutional Investors: BlueRun Ventures Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: July 2014
Opinio Raises $1.3m. The Bangalore-based last mile delivery service connects customers with restaurants, grocers, laundry services, and pharmacies. The startup is currently processing over 1,000 orders daily, and is available in seven areas within Bangalore. Opinio has plans to expand into more cities, and funding will be used to sustain the company for another 4 to 5 months as it plans to raise another round.
Announced: 07/28/15 Stage: Seed Participating Institutional Investors: Accel, TraxcnLabs Previous Investment: Not Disclosed Founded: January 2015
Focus Brands Partners with Postmates to launch on-demand delivery service for the six foodservice chains in its portfolio, including Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Carvel, Cinnabon, McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Schlotzsky’s.
POS on Cloud Partners with Clutch to offer Clutch’s suite of customer intelligence and engagement solutions to its network of merchants.
Google Partners with ASOS and Munchery to promote its music station.
Subway Partners with PayPal to let people pay via PayPal when ordering from its mobile app.
Revel Systems Partners with Zapper to let restaurants activate Zapper as an additional payment option for customers.
Peapod Partners with FarmLogix to launch Pea Pod Local Farm Box, which delivers local seasonal produce to customers.
CircleUp Partners with Amazon Launchpad to enhance consumer discoverability for food entrepreneurs in CircleUp’s portfolio.
As The Food Tech & Media ecosystem continues to see rapid change, Rosenheim Advisors created The Food Tech & Media Industry Map to help entrepreneurs, participants and investors understand this quickly evolving landscape. Let us know about your recent or upcoming funding, partnerships or acquisitions here.