Food wastage is perceived as a grave threat not only to the economy but also to the environment. It impacts the environment negatively due to the wastage of lots of resources that have been used to make food that goes waste.
Approximately, One-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost and wasted across the entire supply chain every year. According to experts, the quantity of food loss and waste is sufficient to alleviate one-eighth of the world’s population from undernourishment.
However, the loss and wastage need to be minimised to reduce the impact on nature and ensure the produced food winds up where it is intended – people worldwide.
Based out of Singapore, TreeDots, a startup that describes itself as “Asia’s first vertically-integrated food supply chain ecosystem”, wants to turn this around.
Recently, the company has raised $11M funding in a Series A round co-led by Amasia and East Ventures. Other investors, including ACTIVE Fund, Seeds Capital, author Nir Eyal, and actress Fiona Xie, participated. To date, the company has raised $15M in funding.
The latest funding will enable TreeDots to grow its operations in Malaysia, expand to other markets, and continue developing its logistics and supply chain business.
“A big grocery chain might not buy a damaged chicken, but food and beverage outlets don’t care about it,” co-founder Jong, who is now the company’s CEO, said in a statement. If they get a product at a steep discount and cheaper than others, they are going to be happy. This idea drove us to start an oversupplied foods marketplace to match supply and demand for these products.”
In case of expansion, TreeDots will compete against the likes of The Wonky Food Company, Imperfect Foods, Full Harvest, Perfectly Imperfect Produce and others, on an international level.
How was TreeDots born?
A few years back, one of the company’s founders had been working in a commodities trading and shipping company. One day, due to unforeseen circumstances (regulatory practices), 24 tonnes of Avocados were left to rot in a shipping port in China. He couldn’t accept this. Thus the idea of TreeDots came into existence.
The company aims to envision a world without food loss. By 2025, TreeDots hopes to save 2M tonnes of food from being wasted, thereby reducing carbon emissions by 18M tonnes.
How does TreeDots solve food waste and loss?
Founded by Tylor Jong, Lau Jia Cai, and Nicholas Lim in 2018, TreeDots is Asia’s first social e-commerce platform connecting suppliers with businesses and households.
The company’s platform helps distributors and suppliers sell surplus and “imperfect” food items that are shunned by their usual bulk buyers.
Currently, the company is focusing on grocery and household products and adopts a sustainable model that promotes efficient food distribution. The products range from frozen and fresh poultry, seafood, and vegetables to snacks, beverages, and alcohol.
Supports group-buying model
TreeDots also supports the group-buying model popularised by Pinduoduo in China. According to the company, group buying is coming together with your neighbors, friends, and family to enjoy deals by sharing an order.
Post-delivery, one of the group members has to take responsibility for distributing the food to the others in their group. For enterprise customers, the company provides various value-added services like TreeLogs cold chain logistics.
East Ventures is an early-stage venture fund based out of Tokyo, focusing on SEA and Japan with 4 unicorns in its portfolio. The VC firm has supported more than 170 companies in the Southeast Asian region that are present across Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Based out of Burlingame, Amasia is a global venture capital firm currently focused on sustainability and climate.