Community sustainability service Olio has raised $43 million in a Series B round. The free app connects neighbours to neighbours and facilitates the sharing of surplus food and a wide variety of other items. The funding is a major boost for the startup’s much larger ambitions, including helping businesses reduce their food waste. To date, Olio has raised $53.1 million.
Olio was founded in 2015 and stems from a simple problem: co-founder Tessa Clarke was moving home and couldn’t find anyone to take her unwanted food. These meals then became just another statistic in the annual $1.3 trillion worth of food wasted each year.
Counting over 5 million users in 50 countries around the globe, Olio has seen 25 million food items and 3 million non-food items ending up in the hands of others rather than in the bin.
But these numbers appear to be just the beginning of a much larger plan for Olio. DX Ventures, the VC arm of Delivery Hero is a new investor in the company, and can most certainly help Olio make inroads with its Food Waste Heroes programme, an initiative that helps food businesses and restaurants achieve zero food waste.
Currently, the programme has over 30,000 trained members of individual communities who collect and redistribute unsold or unserved food from some 2,700 stores. Culinary participants include Pret A Manger, Compass Catering, Costa Coffee and Elior, and last year major grocer Tesco signed on.
“Demand from both UK and international businesses to help reduce their waste is at an all-time high as they strive to meet their ESG commitments,” commented Clarke. “Incoming enquiries from major retailers, grocery delivery services and fast-food brands are coming in thick and fast. Olio is one of the simplest, most cost-effective ways an organisation can achieve zero food waste.”
Additionally, Olio has a “Made” section where users can buy and sell local homemade foodstuffs, a “Goals” section that helps facilitate more sustainable living practices, and new “Borrowed” and “Wanted” sections are planned for future release.