The last few months have been challenging for startups and scaleups, and this month, Berlin impact startup SIRPLUS filed for insolvency-
German startup SIRPLUS was founded in 2017. It brings excess food back into the retail cycle by selling it through subscription boxes, including food rejected by supermarkets due to size, colour or overproduction.
Through direct cooperation with 700 producers and wholesalers, it substantially reduces food waste.
According to co-founder and co-CEO Raphael Fellmer, the company had over 130,000 customers, saved more than 10 million kg of CO2 with its rescued food, raised awareness of the problem of food waste and inspired other companies to become active in this area.
Operations will continue until further notice, and SIRPLuS will work with a provisional insolvency administrator.
The company cites various reasons for its financial challenges, including a failed financing round and the current market environment.
Fellmer told German publication Handelsblatt that he had not been able to professionalize the company in time.
By the end of 2023, the company had closed its own warehouse and reduced the team from just under 90 to under 30 employees.
"Bankruptcy is a hard and painful step for every entrepreneur. Our mission to raise awareness of food appreciation among the population and save food from being wasted will continue.
"We believe in a restart of SIRPLUS. Because cheap and sustainable food is important in times ofInflation, especially in terms of food and advancing climate change, is more important than ever," explains Fellmer.
It's not the only company addressing the problem of food waste.
Matsmart-Motatos is a Swedish D2C e-commerce retailer of overstock dry foods and consumer products. In November, it raised €40 million in a round led by Circularity Capital.
There's also the Danish company Too Good To Go, which connects users with partner stores to rescue unsold food and stop it from going to waste. It has 85 million registered users and 150,000 active partners in 17 countries across Europe and North America. The company has raised over $30 million since its founding in 2015.
It's unclear how much funding SIRPLUS raised due to a lack of public disclosure. Still, hopefully, the administrator, the founders, and the company's board of directors can find a way forward.
Lead image: Markus Spiske