Kraft Heinz VC fund makes first investment in 'disruptive' local food sourcing platform GrubMarket

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: GrubMarket
Photo: GrubMarket

Related tags: Kraft heinz, farm to table

Evolv Ventures, the $100m venture fund backed by Kraft Heinz, has made its first investment in fast-growing GrubMarket, a startup that connects local farmers directly with restaurants and businesses to sell their wares.

While terms of the deal were not disclosed, the investment from Evolv Ventures was part of a $25m Series C1 funding round led by venture capital firm WI Harper Group and Digital Garage with participation from other investors including GGV Capital, University Growth Fund, and Fusion Fund. 

“We’re excited to invest in GrubMarket, a platform that is disrupting the food wholesale market,”​ Steve Sanger, general partner of Evolv Ventures said. “GrubMarket plans to grow its presence and product offerings through both geographic and product expansion. Evolv Ventures is pleased to support its innovative founders.”

Kraft Heinz created Evolv Ventures​ to invest in emerging tech companies that are "transforming the food industry"​ and "aims to accelerate Kraft Heinz’s exposure to emerging technologies and businesses and leverage Kraft Heinz’s position in the industry to become the most value-added investor in the space,"​ the company said in a statement. 

As a spokesperson from Kraft Heinz previously told FoodNavigator-USA, Evolv Ventures investment targets will target food tech in four key areas: food production, operations tech (supply chain, logistics, etc.), consumer data and marketing, and direct-to-consumer/e-commerce.

Tech-enable farm-to-table business model

California-based GrubMarket creates a direct channel (through its own software and service platform) for small, local farmers, and other smaller-scale producers to sell and deliver their goods to local business such as restaurants, smaller retail stores, other food startups that prepare food for consumers (e.g. meal kit companies).

GrubMarket_howitworks

To date, GrubMarket has raised $89m, and is looking to expand its reach. 

Currently servicing the West Coast -- where it has made a number of acquisitions including Chasin Foods, a wholesale distributor of produce, meat, dairy, and seafood, and So Cal Farm Network -- GrubMarket' custom software platform will be made available​ to all food industry wholesales, farmers, distributors, suppliers, and vendors across the US. 

"We have always been keenly focused on developing and leveraging technology to improve multiple facets of the food industry. We had recently identified a big opportunity to create a paradigm-shifting software suite for food industry suppliers and vendors, and we are thrilled to launch our GWholesaler platform for them,"​ commented GrubMarket CEO, Mike Xu.

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