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Healthy growth helps B2B food e-commerce startup Pepper nab $30 million led by ICONIQ Growth | TechCrunch

Healthy growth helps B2B food e-commerce startup Pepper nab $30 million led by ICONIQ Growth | TechCrunch

Black paperAn e-commerce platform for food distributors, Sysco and US Foods are moving into the territory by providing technology to small, independent distributors.

The company developed an ordering system specifically for independent food distributors that supports a catalog of more than 100,000 items and enables those companies to launch mobile apps and websites to accept online orders and payments. can do

Co-founder and CEO Bowie Cheung, who previously worked at Uber Eats, said the company now has 200 customers in a market of 25,000 food distributors. However, Cheung said Pepper wants to expand by simplifying the relationship between independent distribution and technology.

“These businesses, in general, have never been well served by big-box broadline distributors like Sysco or US Foods,” Cheung told TechCrunch. “If you enjoy the variety and excitement that non-chain restaurants bring to your community, you already understand the importance of being an independent distributor, and that's the customer we've always served. and continues to serve today.”

Pepper does this by developing dozens of new product features each year that leverage cutting-edge technologies like generative AI to improve experience, performance and results. The company's proof points include a 23 percent increase in customer sales, 93 percent customer retention, and the ability to save more than 10 hours of work per week per sales rep, Cheung said.

Pepper has some players in the e-commerce food distribution space, including Chocowhich developed a sustainable food system for restaurants and suppliers; Cut + Dry and Anchovy, which is Dot Foods' white label food service e-commerce platform.

Where Cheung believes Pepper is different is that all of these competitors adopted a first-to-market strategy where you download an app. He said there is no “paper app”, but rather a distributor-facing strategy. This means the distributor's brand identity is front and center rather than Pepper's.

Users seem to like it. More than 140 customers are more than double the number of customers he had when he grew Pepper. $16 million Series A Back in 2021.

Since then, the company has become a full-stack payment processor. This makes it easier for operators to pay distributors. He also “reimagined” how modern customer relationship management and copilot software should look like a sales rep who works in food distribution so they can be more productive. In addition, the company created an advertising platform that enables distributors to run marketing campaigns to promote existing products with their suppliers.

Cheung was not specific about Pepper's revenue, but said it has grown more than 20-fold. He also did not disclose the company's valuation, but said it was “a step up from our last round.”

Investors like Pepper also. On Monday, the company announced $30M Series B funding, led by new investor ICONIQ Growth and with participation from another new investor, Harmony Partners, and existing investors in Index Ventures, Greylock and Imaginary. . This brings the company to about $60 million in total funding.

“ICONIQ Growth is the perfect partner for us,” said Cheung. “Their track record in backing large, successful vertical software businesses and industries that the consumer world may not necessarily understand really resonated with us.” Food distribution is one of these industries.

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(tags to translate) Bowie Cheung

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