Foodem, a revolutionary B2B online wholesale food marketplace and business intelligence solution for the $650 Billion U.S. wholesale food distribution industry, announced today the launch of its new platform and the investment of $600,000 in angel funding. Foodem 2.0 provides users with a seamless food purchasing and selling experience because it implements price transparency, enables efficient ordering processes, and generates complete analytical reporting. Impressed by the company’s revolutionary wholesale marketplace model, some of the Metropolitan D.C. area’s top food distributors have joined the platform, such as Belair Produce, Inc., Capital Meat Company, Fells Point Wholesale Meats, FoodPRO, Metropolitan Meat, Seafood and Poultry, Profish, and S. Freedman & Sons, Inc.
Since launching in a closed beta in November 2010, Foodem has united small to mid-size food distributors, specialty food manufacturers and local farms directly with wholesale food buyers such as restaurants, hospitals, schools, universities and hotels. In-depth feedback from a highly selected group of restaurateurs, restaurant managers, and chefs was the driving force behind CEO and founder Kash Rehman’s push to expand the Foodem platform and to implement enhanced features. “After working for years in the food industry, both as an operator and as a distributor, I knew first-hand the inefficiencies of the current system, and I realized that technology was the obvious way to address these issues,” said Rehman. “We provide a user-friendly, online option that expands opportunities for food sellers and reduces the ordering burden for food buyers.”
Foodem provides buyers the ability to compare prices simultaneously among multiple local suppliers. It provides small and mid-sized distributors and specialty manufacturers with a way to reduce the costs associated with managing large sales teams. Foodem also enables these sellers to compete with larger distribution companies by offering the tools they need to market and advertise their products, sales, and specials to a broader market. Large distributors have also shown interest in this powerful online marketplace.
Among those angels investing in this round is Panacea Capital Advisors, Inc., a Bethesda, Maryland based strategic advisory and venture capital firm with significant experience in the foodservice industry and technology-enabled business services. In 2012, Foodem was accepted into Baltimore’s Emerging Technology Centers’ (ETC) business incubator program and received $75K in funding from the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO).
“This is an industry that is ripe for disruption, and Foodem is uniquely positioned to lead as a first-mover in that initiative,” says Sam Rubenstein, President of Panacea Capital Advisors. Brian Gaister, another of Foodem’s angel investors also noted that,“We were impressed by Foodem’s ability to solve problems on both sides of the sales equation. There is a clear need in this $650B industry, and Foodem is the only solution out there.”
Foodem.com enhances buyers choices and delivery options by greatly expanding the number of distributors that they can access, including specialty food manufacturers and local farms. On the backend, Foodem’s ability to offer automated order processing reduces errors while real-time reporting improves menu pricing decisions.
Real-time, customized product catalogs, branded virtual storefronts, and targeted advertising and promotional opportunities increase a seller’s return on their marketing investment; automated inventory and pricing updates and an interface with their ERP systems lowers processing costs and increases customer satisfaction; and an expedited payment option accelerates cash flow and reduces risk of bad debt. Foodem also facilitates the sustainable food movement by connecting local farms with wholesale food buyers.
“Foodem offers us the potential of securing new business without the long selling cycle typically associated with winning new clients,” said Jeff Freedman, Vice President of S. Freedman & Sons, Inc., a leading distributor of paper, maintenance and restaurant supplies in the DC Metro area since 1907. “They also provide a new, innovative way to market our products and services directly to thousands of restaurant chefs and purchasing managers."
Foodem (foodem.com), headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, is the only B2B online food marketplace that connects wholesale food buyers, such as restaurants, hotels, universities, hospitals, government institutions, etc. with food distribution companies, farms and specialty food manufacturers. Through its online search and food procurement capabilities, Foodem brings food sellers onto a single platform, where wholesale food buyers get the most competitive prices in a fast and efficient way.