Pod Foods Raises $3M to Expand Next Generation Distribution Platform for Emerging Food & Beverage Brands
Food entrepreneurs create technology-enabled logistics supply chain model to bring the fastest growing segment of F&B market to retailers across the country
- Pod Foods investors for the 3 Million seed round are Moment Ventures (lead), Unshackled VC, and M12.
- Launched in Chicago, IL June 2019, their second market.
- Since Pod Foods launch, the company has worked with over 350 brands in the Bay Area
Pod Foods, a software and data-enabled distribution and logistics platform designed to efficiently bring emerging food brands to retailers across the nation at a fraction of the current cost, has closed a $3 million equity seed round led by Moment Ventures, with participation from M12 and Unshackled Ventures. A year after launching the initial marketplace in the San Francisco Bay Area with over 350 food brands and 100 retailers, Pod is using the funding to expand into additional markets across the country.
Pod Foods co-founders Larissa Russell and Fiona Lee launched Pod Foods after previously running a startup cookie company. As is with the case of many local emerging food brands, their company, Green Pea Cookie, built a loyal following of consumers, but struggled to work with the legacy wholesale food distribution system that was the only pathway to store shelves across the country. They saw that many other emerging brands experienced similar hurdles during a time when consumer demand is dramatically shifting towards locally-produced alternatives and emerging brands, and decided to launch a two-way, B2B software platform to streamline the wholesale-food distribution market.
“Consumers want better products,” said Larissa Russell, CEO and co-founder of podfoods,“and thousands of emerging brands and artisans are ready to provide. But distribution hasn’t evolved. “The traditional middleman model doesn’t help small businesses succeed,” added Fiona Lee, co-founder. Instead, it leaves brands struggling to break through to the market and meet consumer demand. Ultimately, we want to help brands grow, and have found a way to do so with Pod Foods.”
With the incumbent system, large, centralized distributors purchase food in bulk from manufacturers at a significant discount. They then warehouse, transport and mark-up the food products to sell to grocery stores and other retailers. There are significant expenses involved, and a growing base of brands that can’t work with these distributors are forced to self-distribute — which can also become extremely expensive.
“Pod Foods is transforming the food and beverage industry with a modern, data-centric B2B solution to provide emerging and established brands with a complete solution to cost-effectively reach store shelves across the country,” said Clint Chao, General Partner at Moment Ventures. “Their growth in less than a year has been impressive, and we’re thrilled to support them as begin scaling across the country.”
Pod offers a full-service distribution solution via a B2B wholesale marketplace. With the platform, food retailers easily procure from emerging brands and receive orders in a consolidated fashion via an optimized logistics network. Food manufacturers can grow their retail businesses with higher margins, streamlined logistics and transparency. In-store marketing support, data analytics and online recommendations bring visibility to emerging brands, accelerating sales so retailers and manufacturers alike can sell more, more easily.