Food redistribution platform Yume, founded in 2016 to reduce waste by food manufacturers, has secured $2 million in seed funding led by Investible’s Climate Tech Fund amid plans that could see the concept expand globally.
The latest round brings to $7 million the total capital raised by Yume since inception as the Melbourne-based Certified Social Enterprise prepares to double its employee base by the end of this year.
Founded and led by serial entrepreneur Katy Barfield, the founding CEO of food rescue organisation SecondBite, Yume estimates it has redistributed almost eight million kilograms of surplus food from manufacturers to other businesses and charities over the past eight years.
The platform, which was built with the support of the Atlassian Foundation, has partnered with major food producers, including Unilever, Kellog’s manufacturer Kellanova and Mars Food and Nutrition, to pioneer new standards for inventory clearance and donations.
The platform has transformed how manufacturers manage, sell and donate excess inventory by digitising manual processes, allowing them to automate sales and donation workflows, increase revenue and reduce food waste.
Yume says the seed round will help the company ‘build on its leading position in Australia and supercharge its technology capabilities in preparation for international expansion’.
The planned doubling of the company’s headcount this year will be largely focused on Yume’s technology and product teams.
“This latest round of funding will support us as we invest in our technology and team to further push for a world without waste,” says Barfield, the Yume CEO.
Barfield says Yume’s impact since inception is the equivalent of diverting enough food from waste to fill 42 Boeing 747s, or the equivalent of removing 6,507 cars off the road for a year.
It has also helped Yume return more than $22 million to companies that use the platform to commercialise surplus food, while donating more than one million meals to charities.
“Australia has a food waste problem, in fact it's a 7.6 million tonne problem,” says Barfield.
“The amount of land used to grow wasted food in Australia covers more than 25 million hectares, a landmass larger than the state of Victoria.
“Yume was founded to eradicate this problem and our platform has grown rapidly as large food manufacturers have been able to utilise our technology to connect surplus food to Australian businesses and charities, reducing waste and increasing their revenue.”
The $2 million seed round was supported by new and existing investors, including Launch Vic, Goodrich Group, Veolia and angel investor Pitzy Folk.
Investible’s participation through its Climate Tech Fund represents a first for the venture capitalist as three of the firm’s vehicles including the Early Stage Fund 2 and Club Investible syndicate joined this round.
The Climate Tech Fund is an early-stage investment vehicle that supports founders creating high-growth technology-enabled companies with a positive climate impact.
Nearly half of the fund’s portfolio comprises companies with a female founding member, while 21 per cent of them are solely led by women.
“Combine the ambitious and proven team with a massive market opportunity which has been validated by blue-chip customers, we have the workings of a strong and impactful business,” says Investible’s chief investment officer Charlie Ill.
“On this basis, Investible has made a very high conviction investment, with members of our Club Investible group investing alongside our two funds.
“Yume is backed by our network of over 180 experienced investors and business leaders, supporting the great work being done by Katy and her team.”
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