Pod Foods Raises $10M to Bring Emerging Brands to Grocery Retailers

The platform introduces retailers to new brands and helps them place and receive orders from an optimized logistics network. 
Written by Jeff Rumage
December 13, 2021Updated: December 14, 2021
Pod Foods was co-founded by Fiona Lee, left, and Larissa Russell.
Pod Foods was co-founded by Fiona Lee, left, and Larissa Russell. | Photo: Pod Foods

Pod Foods, a wholesale marketplace connecting grocers to emerging brands, announced last Thursday that it has raised $10 million in venture capital.

The Series A funding follows a $3 million seed round in 2019 and another $3 million seed round at the beginning of 2020. 

The Series A round was led by Industrious Ventures with participation from Microsoft’s venture fund M12 and Moment Ventures, both of which invested in the company’s seed funding.

The Austin-based company has a remote workforce of 58 employees.

Co-founders Fiona Lee and Larissa Russell got the idea for Pod Foods after learning firsthand about the obstacles facing emerging food brands through their vegan cookie startup, Green Pea Cookie.

“Traditional distributors are incentivized, by nature of their business model, to focus on the highest-volume, established brands,” Russell said in a statement. “They squeeze out the emerging, high-growth brands driving industry growth. This leads to a gap in supply at the retail level, as retailers struggle to discover and procure brands outside of established distribution networks.”

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Frustrated with the existing distribution channels, Lee and Russell started a platform that not only exposes retailers to new brands through a data-driven discovery process, but also allows them to place and receive orders from an optimized logistics network. 

With a network of warehousing and carrier providers, Pod Foods stores brands’ products and delivers them to retailers in as little as 24 hours. Pod Foods manages the inventory for its brands and provides them with full visibility on its platform. 

A look at the Pod Foods platform
Photo: Pod Foods

The number of brands on Pod Foods has doubled since last year, Lee said.

“Our solution helps [retailers] understand what to buy because we’re seeing the trends ahead of anyone else,” Lee said. “We match the most relevant brands to the right retailers and provide retailers with fast procurement of those items to help them keep shelves full, without the hassle of dealing directly with each brand.”

Pod Foods partners with traditional retailers as well as direct-to-consumer delivery services like Gopuff.

Michael Berl, head of regional partnerships at Gopuff, said Pod Foods has excelled at supporting emerging brands on a national scale. 

“Pod Foods has been an ideal partner with the ability to onboard products quickly and seamlessly, allowing us to continue to bring in the best assortment to our growing customer base,” Berl said in a statement.

Pod Foods plans to use the funding to expand its brand and retailer network. The company will also be scaling its data team to facilitate better matching and liquidity, as well as to right-size inventory counts.

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