Pod Foods is keeping grocery shelves full of the emerging food brands that consumers are asking for and announced today $13 million in funding, including $10 million in Series A dollars and $3 million in a previously unannounced seed round, to continue developing its digital wholesale business-to-business marketplace.
We profiled the Austin-based company’s founders Larissa Russell and Fiona Lee back in 2019 when they raised $3 million in a round led by Moment Ventures that also included M12. The company’s technology offers a data-driven approach to streamlining the retailer procurement process with brands while connecting consumers to a wider variety of products, including those from up-and-coming brands.
Following the seed round, Pod Foods launched in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, and also launched a mobile app for more easy inventory management to match the right products to the right retailers.
Then the global pandemic hit. In efforts to keep store shelves stocked, the company noticed emerging brands, the niche it focuses on, were displaced from the shelves in favor of established brands. So the company leaned in on creating brand awareness.
“That created acceleration and amplified all of the things we set out to change, … We took 2020 to lean into the challenges, as a result of the pandemic, and work on the business.”Larissa Russell
Both M12 and Moment Ventures returned for the Series A, which was led by Industrious Ventures, and now gives the company $16 million in total funding. Additional investors participating in the round include Unshackled Ventures, Barrel Ventures, Relish Works, X Factor Ventures, XRC Labs, K2 Global, and Graphene Ventures.
The latest investment is in line with Pod Foods’ growth trajectory, Russell said. The company is already in seven cities and will expand to 10 as it sees a 20% increase in repeat brand purchases today compared to pre-pandemic data.