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New York-based Pepper, an e-commerce platform for food distributors nabs $16M funding

Image credits: Pepper

In recent years, people care a lot about sustainability and food waste but the industry is highly fragmented that there is a great level of difficulty in bringing about any operational change to it. Also, there are many foodtech companies including delivery firms, restaurant operating systems, virtual restaurants and more. However, the food that makes its way to the grocery stores or restaurants does not experience this level of innovation.

New York-based Pepper works towards this intention and brings about technology aimed at the food supply chain. Recently, Pepper has nabbed $16 million in a Series A funding round led by Index Ventures along with participation from Greylock Partners, BoxGroup, Moving Capital, Imaginary Ventures, and Brett Schulman. With this round, the overall investment in the company now accounts for $20 million.

The foodtech startup will use the investment to work with more than 25,000 grocery stores and restaurants in the US and Canada. It will be used for product development, sales, as well as, marketing. Also, the company will double its team in the next 12 months.

Digital OS for food supply chain

Established by Bowie Cheung and Chetan Narain in 2019, Pepper is involved in building the digital operating system for the food supply chain. Its e-commerce platform lets food distributors find new customers, strengthen the relationship with customers, increase revenue, and improve efficiency. While it was started by an expert team from Uber Eats as an experiment, it has progressed into a billion-dollar business.

Modernises food supply chain

Pepper works with the mission to modernise the food supply chain. Its clients include food distributors operating within it. The company procures, processes, packages, stores, and delivers food to cafeterias, restaurants, convenience stores and grocery stores all over the country. With its digital operating system, Pepper intends to unlock the complete potential of the food industry and lets distributors grow sales, save time and minimise expenses.

Pepper’s e-commerce platform meant for food distributors is its core product. It is an online ordering catalogue and payment system, which is generating transformational results for partners. Pepper’s platform benefits clients, irrespective of their sizes and categories. Post its use, clients have witnessed 14% growth in sales and 77% minimisation in order entry time.

Launched delivery service

Last year, during the pandemic, the company started a consumer-facing portal called Pepper Portal for customers to place orders from food distributors directly and get the same delivered to their doorsteps. By paying a payments processing fee of $5, users can choose from fresh produce, meat, dairy and others and have the same delivered to them directly. It lets suppliers choose the minimum order amount between $0 and $150. To date, eight suppliers have signed on to the Pepper Pantry platform and they service the greater NYC and greater Boston areas.

On the whole, Pepper addresses significant societal challenges such as sustainability and food waste. It refers to the food distribution customers as partners and works with clients to resolve many challenges. Some notable clients that Pepper works with include Henry’s Foods, a broadline distributor in the Midwest, another broadline distributor in Long Island, New York – 495 Express Foods, and more. Also, the company has built and operating at organisations including Uber Eats, Samuels & Son Seafood and Smashburger.

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