Farmdrop calls it a day, closes up shop a week before scheduled holiday deliveries

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

London’s, “online ethical supermarket delivering locally produced, organic groceries and ethical home essentials directly to your door,” startup Farmdrop has called it a day, and in an email to customers, announced that its final day of deliveries concluded as of yesterday. Meaning, Farmdrop customers who’d placed orders for the Christmas feast are, literally, out in the cold.

 

Founded in 2012, Farmdrop raised a total of $41.8 million in funding over 8 rounds from 11 investors, including Atomico, and saw its last raise, a Series C round, conclude on the 28th of June 2020.

The announcement saw a mixed bag of reactions, with consumers generally sad about the news, while suppliers took a decidedly different tone.

Block Party CEO Tracy Chou expressed:

Havas managing partner Thom James weighed in with:

And SuperAwesome CEO Dylan Collins adding:

However, a quick survey of the supplier landscape revealed reactions far less sympathetic:

Organic ice creams, sorbets, and fresh chilled custards maker Luscious’s Kate Clark posted:

London-based AgTech and FoodTech VC firm Forward Food Tech CEO Rob Ward commented:

And speaking of taking orders and not paying them, just hours before the official announcement, jam maker Single Variety Co’s Nicola Simons took to Instagram to plead her case:

 

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A post shared by Single Variety Co (@singlevarietyco)

Interestingly, at the time of publication, Farmdrop’s website is still active, and a check revealed that I could schedule a delivery between 2 and 4 this coming Sunday. 🤔

Clearly, the startup had its fans and its detractors, but with the online grocery business and it’s associated q-commerce vertical being red hot, perhaps the competition was simply too steep for Farmdrop to keep pace with? And if so, is this a foreshadowing of things to come and a warning to similar traders?

Update: Since the publication of this article, UK-based Tend, which  is “on a similar mission to Farmdrop” (and makes deliveries every Thursday afternoon) reached out with commentary:

“Farmdrop were doing great things for farmers and we need more companies like them trying to build a better, more sustainable food system. Unfortunately, the way it ended wasn’t great and many suppliers and customers have been left in limbo but this shouldn’t stop people from trying to order direct from farmers and independent producers through other platforms. We need to support companies like this that are trying to shorten the gap between farmers and customers, ensuring farmers get fairer prices for their product, and customers get fresher, tastier, and more sustainably grown food.”

Likewise, North Yorkshire-based sustainable online meat retailer Farmison & Co‘s CEO John Pallagi wants to ensure no Christmas feast is spoiled, “I’m sad to hear of the news from Farmdrop – not least because we know there’s significant demand from customers for better quality and higher standards. We have delivery slots available and we will do everything we can to step in to help any of their customers worried about their Christmas roast.”

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