Today Denver, Colorado-based FoodMaven announced it had closed a $15.3 million Series B (via Forbes). The round was led by Tao Capital, who had previously invested in the startup’s Series A, with participation from the Fine Line Group. This puts FoodMaven’s total funding at $34.4 million.
Founded in 2015, FoodMaven sells cosmetically imperfect and oversupplied food to foodservice providers, like restaurants and hotels, at a steep discount. Up to 50 percent, in fact. Purchasers can go onto the FoodMaven marketplace to shop for over 500 products to have delivered directly via FoodMaven drivers.
FoodMaven is far from the only company trying to make a buck off of surplus or “ugly” food. Imperfect Foods and its competitors Misfits Market or Hungry Harvest deliver boxes of costmetically flawed produce directly to consumers. On the B2B side, Full Harvest sells imperfect produce to food and beverage companies (like juiceries).
Though it may sound virtuous to keep food out of landfills, there’s some contention over whether or not the imperfect food should actually be resold. Some, like crop scientist Sarah Taber, argue that it subverts food which would typically go to people in soup kitchens or lower-income areas.
According to its website, FoodMaven donates all its unsold food to food banks — though the Forbes article put that number at 20 percent. It also works with local producers, some of which don’t produce enough volume to merit donating to hunger relief organizations.
That controversy aside, FoodMaven’s business plan seems like an all-around win. Foodservice establishments get access to discounted produce and meats, while farmers and ranchers are able to make some money off of products that would otherwise be a total loss.
Up until now, FoodMaven has only been operating in Colorado. However, the Forbes article mentions it’ll soon begin serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area. With over $15 million in fresh funding, I bet we’ll see FoodMaven expand their marketplace to new regions.