Swedish startup aiming to cut global food waste raises $12 million
One-third of all food is wasted: a bad result for both the environment and those left hungry. This is the problem Swedish startup Karma is tackling head-on.
The Stockholm-based startup has created a marketplace which allows local restaurants and grocery stores offer their unsold food at a discount through their mobile application. It’s a simple yet brilliant concept – and one which has already amassed $12 million in Series A funding.
So how does it work? The startup, founded in 2015, lets users browse partner restaurants and vendors in their city. Upon selection of their dish, the user pays through the application and picks up the item before closing time.
Karma chief executive officer Ståhlberg Nordegren told TechCrunch the service is an ideal way to redirect good, quality food away from landfill and into the stomachs of hungry customers.
“We’re reducing food waste by enabling restaurants and grocery stores to sell their surplus food through our app… Consumers like you and me can then buy the food directly through the app and pick it up as take away at the location,” he said.
“We’re helping the seller reduce food waste and increase revenue, consumers get great food at a reduced price, and we help the environment redistributing food instead of wasting it.”
Since Karma’s original founding by Hjalmar Ståhlberg Nordegren, Ludvig Berling, Mattis Larsson and Elsa Bernadottein in their home country of Sweden, the startup has expanded to work with more than 1500 restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, cafes and bakeries.
It counts three of the nation’s biggest supermarkets as partners as well as 350,000 users to its name. Such success in Sweden led to the company expanding to the United Kingdom this February, and it is already working with 400 restaurants in London.
The application has garnered support in its latest round of funding from around the world. Swedish investment firm Kinnevik led the first round of investment, along with participation from US venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners, appliance manufacturer Electrolux and previous backer VC firm e.ventures.
The company plans to expand to more than 100 employees across five markets by the end of next year and then to 150 employees by mid 2020.