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Andreessen-backed Silo Grabs $9M Series A To Streamline Food Supply Chain

The average American throws away 400 pounds of food per year, which translates to $218 billion in lost food, the National Resources Defense Council reported in June. Silo is out to change that.

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The San Francisco-based startup recently raised a $9 million Series A round to further develop its cloud-based platform for streamlining supply chains in the perishable food system. Its tools provide machine-learning technology that automates operations and manages relationships up and down the supply chain in real time.

Andreessen Horowitz led this round, with participation from Silo’s existing investors Initialized Capital and Haystack Venture. Since forming in 2018, the company has now raised a total of $12 million in funding, Ashton Braun, co-founder and CEO of Silo, told Crunchbase News. It raised about $3 million in seed funding last year in a round that included backing from some angel investors, according to Crunchbase data.

Growth

With the new funding, Braun expects to do a few things this year: Extend Silo’s reach beyond wholesale produce toward meat, dairy and pantry items; open new offices in New York and Los Angeles; and hire more engineers to support the development of new financial services and logistical tools.

“We’ve gotten a lot of product market fit in Northern California, so we are now continuing to drive growth and automation in other regions,” he said. “We are working on some different things, such as financial services and automating freight, which will give us three pillars—food, freight and finances—to tie together to grow and expand the company.”

In the meantime, Silo is working to meet the recent demand. In 2020, the company experienced 1,300 percent growth, according to Braun. He expects to keep this pace next year, especially as demand has risen overseas as well.

The company has 19 employees, up from seven four months ago. Braun wants to get the company’s workforce to 35 employees by the end of the year and is hiring in engineering and product.

What investors are saying

The food supply chain has attracted innovation to protect against waste in the past few years. Silo joins other startups we’ve reported on, including Mori, which raised $12 million in July to advance its food coating technology. In May, we reported on Apeel Sciences securing a $250 million round of funding to develop its coating product, as well as Imperfect Foods, which said it raised $72 million in Series C funding.

As part of the investment, Anish Acharya, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz who focuses on financial services, joins Silo’s board.

In a blog post, Acharya wrote that there is “a renewed focus on having a resilient food supply chain in a post-COVID era,” and that “food distributors are at the heart of this supply chain … as fresh food begins losing value the moment it enters the supply chain.”

“That’s why we were so excited when we met Ashton Braun and Antonio Bustamante … their product has exceptionally strong market fit because it solves so many of the operational problems that distributors have,” he added. “We believe that financial services will be a key enabler of this ecosystem, where factoring and faster payments, coupled with laws like PACA, can solve many of the cashflow challenges that growers and distributors face.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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