Feedr, a food tech startup that delivers healthy and personalised meals to office workers as an alternative to companies setting up their own canteens, has picked up just over £1.5 million in pre-Series A funding.
The round is led by London early-stage venture capital firm Episode 1. Also participating is Brent Hoberman’s Founders Factory, and angel investors Errol Damelin (Wonga founder and renowned fintech investor), Richard Glynn (former Ladbrokes CEO and founder of Alinsky Partners) and David Pritchard (founder of OpenTable Europe).
Launched in 2016 by Riya Grover and Lyz Swanton, Feedr describes itself as an “intelligent lunch platform” or “cloud canteen.” The startup essentially operates a two-sided marketplace that connects healthy food suppliers with office workers at companies, in addition to arranging delivery.
To do this, Feedr publishes a “unique rotating menu” every day and asks workers to choose what they want to eat by 10.30am. It then pools those orders and sends them to the food suppliers it works with, which are mostly artisan and independent food producers, to have ready for delivery at lunch time.
The technology behind Feedr handles logistics planning, in terms of predicting and helping to manage demand for each meal on offer from specific suppliers. There is also a large emphasis on personalised recommendations based on the preferences of individual customers and their order history.
Food suppliers include Deliciously Ella, Farmstand, We Grill, Potage and Maple & Fitz. Feedr works with a number of sub-contracted platforms to do the deliveries.
In a call, Feedr CEO Riya Grover told me the food tech startup has thus far mainly employed a B2B2C strategy by working directly with companies who want to offer their own “cloud canteen” as a perk provided to employees and as part of an employee wellness strategy. This sees each company that signs up with Feedr subsidise the cost of items on the menu so that workers can have a fresh healthy lunch daily for under £5, or cover the cost entirely.
To date, Feedr has fed employees at more than 400 companies, including Airbnb, Etsy, DHL and PwC.
Grover also talked up Feedr’s tech, which she says enables “dynamic menu building,” something she likened to a Netflix for food. When an employee selects a meal, Feedr feeds back these choices to its algorithm to create a more data-informed menu going forward. In other words, menu choices become more personalised the more employees use Feedr.
More broadly, Grover says Feedr is aiming to cater to three trends: on-demand food delivery, as pioneered by the likes of Deliveroo and Uber Eats; employee well-being as part of a company’s recruitment, retention and broader HR strategy; and the way consumers are becoming more accustomed to greater choice and healthier options.
Meanwhile, I’m told the funding round will be used by Feedr to invest in its technology to improve the online user experience, expand the choice of healthy meals and build out the machine learning that powers personalisation. The company also plans to increase its sales force and expand outside of London.
Adds Damien Lane, partner at Episode 1 Ventures: “Feedr’s strong brand values address the rise of the conscious consumer with a greater awareness of ingredient quality, artisanal producers, food provenance and the impact of food consumption on health. The team brings incredible execution skills with a passion for shaping healthier futures.”