Collectiv Food, the London-based startup that develops a direct-to-producer platform connecting food producers with consumers has raised £12 million in its Series A funding round.
The round has been led by VNV Global, along with VisVires New Protein (VVNP), Octopus Ventures, Norrsken VC, and existing investors such as Partech, Colle Capital and Mustard Seed. It is the largest recorded Series A for a managed B2B food marketplace in Europe. The investment will be used to develop further — Collectiv’s innovative delivery and sourcing models and expand the team, across all functions, gearing up for further international expansion in Europe.
200% growth during pandemic
Launched with its first customers in 2019, Collectiv aims to set a new B2B food distribution standard, addressing a market worth £145bn in Europe alone. Already operating in the UK and France, it is amongst the first to challenge this capital-intensive and low-margin industry which, built pre-internet, has been slow to innovate, particularly in areas such as automation and transparency and despite increasing consumer demand for the latter.
Further, the British startup founded by Jeremy Hibbert-Garibaldi has already seen 200% growth in its customer base over the past year; its offering has piqued the interest of many in the hospitality industry, providing invaluable support and cost savings at a time when the dual impact of Covid-19 and Brexit have resulted in acute staff shortages and unreliable supply chains. The Series A investment places the company in a strong position to capitalise on the opportunity to offer a better service to food operators, with the European market projected to grow from £145bn to £200bn over the next 5 years.
Sustainable service provider
Collectiv operates by sourcing food produce directly from a network of thousands of producers, cutting out the wholesaler middleman and delivering straight to professional kitchens – with customers ranging from restaurants and hotels to catering firms, meal-kit companies, and dark kitchens and stores.
Their network includes thousands of producers from the UK and abroad selling a variety of meat, seafood, and plant-based proteins. By assuming full responsibility to the food chain, they are able to offer fairer prices to producers, as well as traceability to the buyers. Its points of distribution are refrigerated units in under-utilised urban spaces within London.
Its greener last mile delivery utilises ‘PODs’ (Points of Distribution) in disused city locations and results in up to 50% less CO2 emissions than traditional methods. This unique, decentralised model enables it to offer market-beating prices, fresher products and a reliable service, all underpinned by a commitment to sustainability.
Setting it apart from traditional wholesalers or catering butchers, Collectiv sells on-demand, not by catalogue, and selects producers to match buyers’ needs. All products are then consolidated through an innovative distribution model before reaching the customer. The model offers full transparency and traceability, with no relabelling or hiding producers’ brands, and the Series A funding will allow further development of Collectiv’s Producer Sustainability Index, providing ratings on each producer and enabling better informed decisions for the customer.
Brands already using Collectiv include Big Mamma Group, The Hush Collection, Dirty Bones, Megan’s, Crussh, Butchies, Cocotte, Tossed, and Fresh Fitness Food. Ed Standring, CEO of The Hush Collection, said: ‘We are delighted to be partnering with Collectiv to help achieve our sustainability objectives, whilst also delivering material savings. Their innovative approach to supply chain fits well with our vision to be London’s leading boutique restaurant group and enables us to meet the growing customer demand for greater quality and traceability.’
Collectiv founder Jeremy Hibbert-Garibaldi said: ‘It’s a really exciting time for Collectiv Food – we’re being pushed by a combination of strong tailwinds: end-consumers demanding a better understanding of provenance; cities implementing air pollution regulations that limit large freight; a post-Covid hospitality industry desperate to improve margins but with limited staff availability to facilitate this in-house. Combined with our innovative model, we’re able to set our sights on not only becoming a European leader in food distribution over the next few years, but even a global one.’
Björn von Sivers, Head of Investor Relations at VNV Global: ‘We are excited to team up with Jeremy and Collectiv Food on their journey to transform Europe’s vast B2B food supply chain market. Collectiv’s innovative managed marketplace connects a fragmented supply of producers with the very fragmented demand of professional kitchens, creating improved transparency amongst other clear network improvements for all stakeholders. We look forward to continuing to support the Collectiv team as they scale the business over the coming years.’
Matthieu Vermersch, Managing Director at VisVires New Protein: ‘B2B food distribution is a legacy business that has not benefited from innovation. We believe the industry has reached an inflection point where the existing modus operandi will no longer be viable. To build a healthier and better food system, we not only need full transparency of products, we also need a sustainable way of reaching consumers. This is fundamental. Jeremy stood out as a visionary, and we are confident that Collectiv is primed to achieve hypergrowth.’
Rebecca Hunt, Investor at Octopus Ventures: ‘Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of where their food comes from and demanding more information from restaurants. The supply chains of legacy wholesale providers tend to be opaque and operate on analogue systems, making this almost impossible. Collectiv Food solves this problem by directly sourcing high quality sustainable products from carefully chosen suppliers, enabling restaurants to provide complete transparency as to the provenance of the food on customers’ plates. Critically, by operating across the supply chain, this model also unlocks price advantages both for suppliers and buyers. We firmly believe Jeremy and his team are well placed to build a very big business in this space and we look forward to supporting them on this journey.’
Alexander Danielsson, Senior Investment Manager at Norrsken: ‘Global food supply chains are riddled with food waste, unnecessary emissions and lack of transparency. If you walk down to your local restaurant and ask where the food comes from the likely answer is that they don’t know. This is out of touch with consumers’ growing demand for transparency and sustainably sourced food – paving the way for a new take on wholesale. Jeremy and the fantastic team at Collectiv Food have developed an ingenious way to source high quality products directly from producers to restaurants, increasing transparency while also cutting emissions and waste along the way. We believe that solutions like Collectiv Food’s are critical to create more sustainable supply chains in the food service industry so that consumers can make informed decisions about what they put in their mouth.’
Romain Lavault, General Partner at Partech: ‘We like to partner early with founders who are on a mission to transform entire industries, especially those with age-old supply chains and opaque intermediaries like in the case of food. We led Collectiv’s Seed round because we immediately felt Jeremy’s passion and drive – both key qualities of Unicorn builders. While a number of companies are fighting over the B2C food segment, it was clear that no one was addressing the huge inefficiencies that plague the B2B and wholesale market upstream. Collectiv are the exception, managing the seemingly impossible task of balancing the demands of both producers and customers. These last couple of years have been about laying the foundations, and the demand from both sides of the marketplace is skyrocketing as the world reopens. Now the real work begins!’