Hungry Harvest raised $7.25 million in Series A funding as the startup delivering produce that would otherwise go to waste seeks to expand its outreach to customers and improve technology, said CEO Evan Lutz.
The round was led by Creadev, a Paris-based private equity investment firm controlled by the Mulliez family, which runs a prominent retail network including the Auchan department store. Also participating was Desert Bloom, which invests in efforts to improve the company’s food environment, along with some previous investors.
“Creadev is pleased to support Hungry Harvest in its aim to fight against food waste and hunger, providing healthy fresh produce directly from farm to consumer in a convenient and more affordable way,” said Delphine Descamps, Creadev’s managing director for the U.S., in a statement. “This investment fits into Creadev Innovation’s Food & Agriculture strategy of supporting cutting-edge Food & Ag startups in plant-based, aquaculture and food chain segments with a long-term focus.”
Descamps will join the company’s board, along with Desert Bloom cofounder Hans Taparia.
Founded in 2014, the startup has a mission to fight food waste and insecurity. Its service takes produce which is discarded by the food system and delivers it to customers’ homes, and also makes contributions to efforts fighting hunger. It is currently in markets including Baltimore, D.C., Philadelphia, Charlotte, Raleigh, Miami and Detroit.
Lutz said the Port Covington-based startup is focused on sustainable growth. It was a profitable business last year, and he wants to keep the company set up so it’s not reliant solely on investment funding to keep growing.
With the funding, he said the company will be investing to get its message in front of more people in existing markets, as well as new areas that will roll out in the coming months.
“We’ve got a really good brand and it’s really about accelerating our growth,” he said.
The company will also be investing in technology to improve both the user experience for customers, as well as improve the supply chain technology to make it easier for warehouse associates to assemble orders.
The company plans to hire between 15 and 30 people this year in marketing and technology, as well as supply chain and logistics. The team of 60 is based out of City Garage in Port Covington, and also operates warehouses in the markets where it operates.
As of Friday, Lutz said delivery was expected to be unaffected during the COVID-19 pandemic, besides enacting additional cleanliness measures.
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