Boston-based tech startup will accelerate platform development, team growth, and geographic expansion plans to build a nationwide, secondary market for unsold and surplus food inventor.
Boston, MA — November 16, 2016 — Spoiler Alert, whose technology platform helps food businesses manage their unsold inventory and increase food access for 42 million food-insecure Americans, today announced the close of a $2.5 million seed round led by Acre Venture Partners.
“Every year, upwards of 40 percent of the nation’s food supply is wasted - reducing bottom lines, squandering opportunities to drive down food insecurity, and damaging the environment,” said Spoiler Alert co-founder and CEO, Ricky Ashenfelter. “By enabling businesses with unsold inventory to connect in real-time with networks of non-profits and discount buyers, we see an opportunity not only to increase profitability, but also to drive greater collaboration between food manufacturers, distributors, retailers and farms with the 50,000 nonprofits committed to ending food insecurity in America.”
Founded in June 2015 by Ashenfelter and fellow MIT Sloan School of Management graduate, Emily Malina, along with seasoned CTO, Marty Sirkin, Spoiler Alert’s technology platform helps organizations find optimal outlets for their unsold and surplus food, as well as their organic waste. In November 2015, the company launched its free Marketplace offering, an online portal and communications tool to facilitate food donations and discounted sales between businesses and nonprofits. To date, more than 200 organizations throughout New England have enrolled, and its user base has maintained a 15 percent month-over-month growth rate since its launch.
Earlier this year, Spoiler Alert debuted its Enterprise offering, a subscription-based service that helps businesses take advantage of enhanced tax deductions available for food donations. This includes item-level traceability and advanced reporting dashboards that offer greater visibility into businesses’ waste streams, potential tax shield, and community impact.
The company also announced that it is working with Houston-based Sysco Corporation, the global leader in foodservice distribution, to deploy Spoiler Alert’s Enterprise system for the management of its excess, wholesome food. “At Sysco, we strive to set a higher bar for economic, environmental, and social responsibility performance within our industry,” stated Catherine Kayser, Sysco’s Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility. “Spoiler Alert allows us to better manage our relationships with our local nonprofit partners, serve the communities where we work and live, as well as to streamline the capture of key financial, environmental, and social metrics from our food recovery and waste diversion efforts.”
Acre Venture Partners sees food waste as a significant inefficiency and a major market opportunity that can have a tremendous impact on the food system. “This is a strong team with a big vision, and we couldn’t be more excited to leverage our industry experience and support them with their growth,” said Sam Kass of Acre Venture Partners and the former White House Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy.
According to ReFED, a multi-stakeholder initiative, food waste represents $218 billion of financial losses to U.S. businesses, farms, and consumers each year. “Technology is going to play a critical role in offering businesses the insights and outlets they need to minimize wasted food”, says Jesse Fink, Chairman of ReFED Steering Committee, Founding COO of Priceline.com, and Trustee of the Fink Family Foundation, an investor in Spoiler Alert. “We’re eager to back Spoiler Alert’s vision to become the premiere secondary market for these under-utilized products.”
Ashenfelter said proceeds from the investment will be used to build out its team; strengthen its footprint within the food manufacturing, wholesale distribution, and retail industries; and expand its Marketplace offering to new geographies.
In addition to Acre and the Fink Family Foundation, Spoiler Alert investors include four Boston and Bay Area funds: Valley Oak Investments, LaunchCapital, Fresh Source Capital, and FTW Ventures.
About Spoiler Alert
Spoiler Alert is a Boston-based technology company that helps organizations manage unsold food inventory. The startup offers a collaborative, online platform and value-added services that enable food manufacturers, distributors, retailers, farms, and nonprofits to create or recover value from surplus food and organic waste. Its technology platform facilitates food donations, discounted sales and organics brokering, and offers the relevant accounting and reporting systems to capture tax benefits and document important financial, environmental, and social metrics.
Spoiler Alert was a member of the 2016 cohort of Techstars Boston and a 2015 winner of MassChallenge. The company prides itself on its collaborative culture and mission-driven aspirations, and is excited to introduce 21st Century connectivity into the food industry and unlock sustained economic, environmental and social value for its customers.
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