Farmdrop, a UK-based farmer-friendly online grocery platform, has managed to rake in £7 million in Series A funding. Atomico, the London VC fund established by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström, led the round.
Launched in 2014, its job is to connect farmers, growers, and producers directly with local customers. By using the up-and-coming strategy of cutting out the middleman, Farmdrop is able to pay producers 75 percent of the final retail price, about double of what they would receive from the supermarkets, while customers are benefited with access to food up to five times fresher than the produce sold by conventional retailers.
Originally touted as a ‘click and collect’ service allowing you to directly order groceries from farmer-producers online and pick up your order at a local collection point, the company has since undergone a shift to door-to-door delivery, but retaining the same philosophy of a marketplace sans the middleman. According to Farmdrop co-founder Ben Pugh:
The fundamental problem is that the supermarket’s dominance over the last fifty years has put huge amounts of downward pressure on farmgate prices,” explains . “In this environment, the only option for producers has been to focus on yields and durability which has led to a big depreciation in the taste and nutritional quality of homegrown foods.
As a solution to this, the Farmdrop platform’s claim is that they remove (or replace) wholesalers and retailers from the supply chain, enabling the much higher payment of producers, as aforementioned. Putting this in context, Pugh says that most farmers “would be lucky to get 50 percent from the supermarkets.” He says:
Basically, Farmdrop is creating a profitable route to market for smaller farmers whose sole aim is grow foods that maximise flavour and nutrition. For customers we offer them the most affordable access to the freshest, farmer’s market quality ingredients
Atomico’s Zennström commented on the funding:
Atomico likes to invest in companies looking to tackle some of the bigger sustainability challenges our planet is facing. That is why we’re incredibly proud to have led Farmdrop’s second investment round. They are deploying innovative technology to simplify the food chain and meet the growing demand for more sustainably sourced, local food.
Aside from Atomico, Jon Reynolds, the CEO, and co-founder of SwiftKey, Alex Chesterman, the founder of Zoopla, Nigel Wray, serial investor and chairman of Saracens Rugby club, and Quentin Griffiths, the co-founder of Asos also participated in the round.