Baltimore City-based ingredients supplier SIMPli has raised a seed round as it looks to expand its operations, sales and marketing departments and grow more B2B partnerships.
SIMPLi sells a line of ethically sourced foods such as olive oil and organic quinoa. This round was led by the Abell Foundation alongside investments from the likes of Bethesda, Maryland’s Seth Goldman, cofounder of Honest Tea and Eat the Change and chair of the board of Beyond Meat. Financial details were not disclosed.
Five employees are expected to be hired immediately, and by the end of the year that number could be as high as 10, cofounders Sarela Herrada and Matt Cohen told Technical.ly. With an expanded marketing team, SIMPli’s leaders are looking to create an in-house marketing team to develop the stories of the work they do with international farmers and brands like Whole Foods. Accordingly, they hopes to grow brand awareness and let the world know how the aim to bring “integrity” to supply chains by working directly with farmers, as well as being the importer and exporter of ingredients as a vertically integrated supply chain through which they’re able to guarantee the quality of their ingredients.
“We see ourselves being that trusted ingredients company,” Herrada said. “When you go and buy your grains, beans and oils, you know that food itself has the nutritional value that it should have.”
In under two years since its launch, SIMPLi has made connections with food brands such as sweetgreen and Daily Harvest and ecommerce platforms such as Patagonia Provisions. This success in the market so far is why SIMPLi’s founders felt the need to raise funds, so they could expand to meet the demand for their services.
“We’ve now created a market for that transitional organic product,” said Herrada about the work they do with international farmers. “Helping them achieve organic certification and being able to create a market for that was really valuable for us.”
The company aims to create more equity in the international supply chain by working directly with farmers and cutting out the middle men in processing, importing and exporting. This allows the company not only to minimize fraudulent activity where pesticides are added, unbeknownst to the consumer, but also to compensate international famers more fairly for their product, the cofounders said.
“There’s a large white space in terms of providing near-term and immediate impact by working with international communities just because the level of poverty and inequality in international supply chains,” Cohen said. “We’re really focused on growing our business-to-business network because of those near-term scaling capabilities and impacts we make on international farming communities.”
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.