Business Startups Venture

Helping The Gig Economy: Dumpling Raises $6.5M To Grow Shopping, Delivery Businesses

Dumpling closed on a $6.5 million in Series A funding round led by a new investor, Forerunner Ventures, the company said Wednesday.

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The company, headquartered in Seattle and Berkeley, California, touts itself as the first and only company that empowers individuals to launch, run and grow independent grocery shopping and delivery businesses.

Existing investors Floodgate and Fuel Capital also participated in the investment, bringing Dumpling’s total raise to $10 million, the company said in a written statement. Dumpling raised its seed round of $2 million in February 2019, according to Crunchbase data.

Co-CEOs Joel Shapiro and Nate D’Anna started Dumpling in 2017 with a focus on trying to fix the gig economy, Shapiro said in a written statement.

“We empower disenfranchised gig workers to be truly independent business owners and enable them to build financial stability and wealth for the long term,” he said. “Now, with the stark reality that millions of jobs lost due to COVID-19 may not return, Americans more than ever need a more viable, sound and flexible way to earn a living.”

The new funding will be used to invest in features and tools for business owners to power sustainable connections with clients, D’Anna said in a statement.

Dumpling powers more than 2,000 grocery shopping and delivery businesses across all 50 states, and since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, has experienced a 20 times surge in order volume, the company said.

The company’s model enables shoppers to recruit their own customers and set schedules and pricing, as well as keep all of their tips, the company said.

Dumpling is Forerunner Ventures’ third investment this year, according to Crunchbase data. Other deals include leading a $28 million Series B round for sleep improvement app OURA and participating in an $11 million Series A round for bra startup CUUP.

Brian O’Malley, general partner at Forerunner Ventures, said in a written statement that gig apps spend too much time automating people out of the process rather than empowering them.

“Dumpling flips the model on its head, taking the exploited workers and enabling them to launch their own digitally-native service business,” he said.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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