Berlin-based Hier Foods has raised €7 million in a seed funding round. The startup is aiming to solve the grossly inefficient supply chain relationship between food retailers and local suppliers and will use the fresh capital to expand operations across Europe, namely through an aggressive recruitment drive.
Looking at local small and specialist food suppliers, Hier Foods founders Lara Hämmerle and Mark Jäger spotted the lack of network and know-how in how to keep up with established standards and technologies. Combined with varying degrees of digitalisation, these growers, and ultimately consumers, are often cut out of the game, regardless of the quality of their product. A lose/lose scenario any way you look at it.
Hier wants to solve this problem by providing an easy-to-use infrastructure to both merchants and suppliers through a series of integrations that link existing systems and processes on both sides of the table, thereby facilitating frictionless communications, i.e. the act of buying and selling.
"The more we learned about the local grocery market, the more we realised how incredibly inefficient the relationship between retailers and suppliers still is. The consequence of this is that we see far fewer exceptional, local products in digital as well as brick-and-mortar retail than we should,” explains Hämmerle.
“With Hier we are enabling decentralised and sustainable local supply chains that allow our entire food sourcing to be more local, more diverse, and therefore less dependent on increasingly frequent global shocks," added Jäger.
Hier Food’s €7 million seed round was led by US-based Collaborative Fund, with existing investors Pale Blue Dot and Speedinvest, continuing their support. New diners at the Hier Food table include Amplifier Labs and A* Capital. Existing investors also include Github co-founder Scott Chacon, Choco co-founder Daniel Khachab, Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake (YesVC), and Entrepreneur First.
“Today’s food supply chain is deeply inefficient, highly complex, and is a leading cause of food waste to the tune of well over $150 billion annually in Europe alone,” said Collaborative Fund partner Guy Vidra. “We are strong believers that Hier Foods is building a powerful platform to vastly improve supply chain resiliency and give consumers access to local products in the process.”