Winnow raises further $7.4M for its smart kitchen tech that reduces commercial food waste

Winnow, the U.K. startup that has developed smart kitchen tech to help commercial kitchens reduce food waste, continues to be on a roll. It counts the likes of IKEA, Compass Group, and AccorHotels as customers, and estimates its 600-plus clients are saving 4,300 tonnes of food waste annually through the use of the Winnow system.

To support this growth, the company is disclosing it has raised $7.4 million in further funding, in a round co-led by Circularity Capital, and existing backers Mustard Seed, and D-Ax. It follows a $3.3 million Series A round in January 2016.

Launched in May 2013, Winnow is on a mission to offer the hospitality industry technology to help cut down on food waste by making commercial kitchens ‘smarter.’ It does this via the Winnow Waste Monitor, a set of smart scales and accompanying tablet app that lets kitchen staff easily log what food is thrown away. That data is then uploaded to the cloud, analysed by Winnow’s algorithm, and disseminated so that food waste can be reduced.

Or, as Winnow founder and CEO Marc Zornes likes to put it, what gets measured, gets managed, with the startup claiming that food waste costs kitchens between 5-20 percent of all food purchased.

That obviously has a huge environmental impact but also eats into the margins of restaurants and kitchens, which tend to be incredibly thin to begin with. Once its tech is installed, Winnows says that customers typically see food waste cut in half within 12 months, reducing food purchasing costs by 3-8 per cent.

In a TEDx talk in London in late 2015 (embedded below), Zornes, who previously worked on food and sustainability for McKinsey, talked up the many opportunities that tech provides to improve the food supply chain, arguing that for-profit companies can still be a force for good. “We’re part of a small but growing community of entrepreneurs that are trying to solve this issue, and I invite you to join us,” he told the audience.