On the heels of its recent acceptance into Baltimore’s Emerging Technology Centers’ (ETC) business incubator program, Foodem has received a $75k funding commitment from the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) to expand its online food buying marketplace. This investment is part of TEDCO’s Maryland Technology Transfer and Commercialization Fund (MTTCF).
Developed in partnership with entrepreneurial technologists that have built other best of breed consumer-facing technology on web and mobile platforms, Foodem.com is an online trading, business intelligence and process automation solution for the $650B U.S. wholesale foodservice industry. By enabling Buyers (restaurants and other food service organizations) and Sellers (distributors, specialty food manufacturers and local farms) to interact on an unprecedented scale with exceptional ease and efficiency, Foodem.com will benefit both parties.
“TEDCO is proud to support entrepreneurial companies like Foodem through the MTTCF,” said Robert Rosenbaum, president and executive director of TEDCO. “Foodem empowers small businesses and local farms through technology, which dovetails nicely with our mission. We fund transformative innovations, and Foodem is poised to provide a novel solution to the marketplace.”
Foodem CEO and founder, Kash Rehman, experienced first-hand the costly inefficiencies of the procurement process that plagues both buyers and sellers during the nine years he ran a broadline food wholesaler and owned a restaurant in College Park, MD. “The ability to comparative “one-stop shop” simultaneously among multiple local suppliers will establish the price transparency Buyers need to manage and even reduce their food costs,” said Rehman. “In addition, Sellers will be able to market to customers that they can’t reach normally with their limited direct sales force.”
Greatly expanding the number of distributors a buyer can access, including specialty food manufacturers and local farms, Foodem.com will also enhance Buyers’ assortment and delivery options. On the backend, Foodem’s ability to offer automated order processing reduces errors while real-time reporting improves menu pricing decisions. The service’s GIS web-based technology allows customers to know the origins of the products they purchase, which is useful in monitoring both food quality and food health issues.
Real-time, customized product catalogs, branded virtual storefronts, and targeted advertising and promotional opportunities increase a seller’s return on their marketing investment; automated inventory and pricing updates and an interface with their ERP systems will lower processing costs and increase customer satisfaction; and an expedited payment option will accelerate cash flow and reduce risk of bad debt. Foodem also facilitates the sustainable food movement by connecting local farms with wholesale food buyers.
With the $75k commitment from TEDCO, and interest shown by the general public, local food alliances, restaurants, government agencies and industry leaders alike, Foodem is poised to launch Foodem 2.0 in Q4 of 2012. The company is seeking to raise a seed round of $250k to validate key elements of the business model.
Foodem (foodem.com), headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, is the only B2B online food marketplace that connects wholesale food buyers, such as, restaurants, hotels, universities, hospitals, government institutions, etc. with food distribution companies, farms and specialty food manufacturers. Through its online search and food procurement capabilities, Foodem brings food sellers onto a single platform, where wholesale food buyers get the most competitive prices in a fast and efficient way.
About The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO)
TEDCO is an independent entity established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1998 to facilitate the transfer and commercialization of technology from Maryland’s research universities and federal labs into the marketplace and to assist in the creation and growth of technology-based businesses in all regions of the State.