Winnow raises a combined $20m to lead the global fight against food waste

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Winnow, the technology company behind Winnow Vision, the artificial intelligence tool helping chefs cut food waste in half, is announcing the completion of its series B round of funding at a total of $12m. This follows a recent $8m loan from The European Investment Bank (EIB), with the help of the Juncker Plan, which focuses on boosting investment to generate jobs and growth.

The London-based company has grown significantly since the launch of its AI product Winnow Vision: the most advanced food waste technology on the market developed to automate waste tracking and enable chefs to run more profitable and sustainable kitchens. With global clients already adopting Winnow Vision, from IKEA stores through to the Armani Hotel in Dubai, the demand by companies to drive down food waste in 2019 is increasing.

The series B round included high-profile investment from Ingka Group, a strategic partner to the IKEA franchisee system, Mustard Seed, Circularity Capital, D-Ax and The Ingenious Group.

Winnow co-founder and CEO Marc Zornes said, “We are very excited about driving the business forward in our global fight against food waste and we are grateful for the continuous support of our investors. This year, we launched our ground-breaking AI product Winnow Vision, and chefs using Winnow around the world are saving $33m worth of food from going to waste annually. We have set a target to save our customers $1bn of food waste by 2025, and this investment will accelerate our technology development and business development approach to help achieve this ambition.”

Kitchens using Winnow tend to see a 40-70% reduction in food waste within 6-12 months, driving food cost savings between 2-8% in total, which improves profit margins whilst doing the right thing.

Winnow Vision works by taking photos of wasted food as it’s thrown away and uses the images to train itself to recognise what has been discarded. Winnow’s systems have already reached and surpassed human levels of accuracy in identifying wasted foods. This means for clients, over time, these systems will enable their kitchens to automatically register food waste without any human interaction. Food will be thrown in the bin and the data will be captured automatically.

Launched in a single staff restaurant in 2013, Winnow has been adopted by more than 1,000 sites globally, and is now operating in 40 countries with offices in London, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai, Cluj-Napoca and Iowa City. In 2019, The Financial Times ranked the company amongst the top 100 of Europe’s Fastest Growing Companies.

Investor commentary

Leading the round, Henry Wigan, director at Mustard Seed, stated: “We are privileged to be leading another Winnow round. Right from the very start, we have been deeply committed to Winnow’s impact mission, which is intricately aligned with the Mustard Seed Lock-Step thesis that solving big social and environmental problems drives commercial success in the long run.  We look forward to seeing Winnow grow at pace.”

Krister Mattsson, managing director of Ingka Investments, added: “Winnow has been a strong partner on our journey to reducing food waste in our IKEA stores by 50% by 2020. This investment supports growth and creates new opportunities to further accelerate the positive impact of food waste prevention. We are focused to increase the use of digital tools and analytics to both create the IKEA store of tomorrow and to deliver on IKEA’s sustainability ambition.”

Adding to this, Jamie Butterworth, partner of Circularity Capital, noted: “We are delighted to have supported the funding round and maintain our strong relationship with Winnow. We believe strongly in the strength of their technology and its role in accelerating the transition to a circular economy.”

“We believe in the market potential and the positive impact of Winnow’s product. With our strong presence in the food market and our commitment to building sustainable businesses, we are excited to continue our support to Marc, Kevin and the team going forward”, said Joakim Skarborg, Chairman of D-Ax.

Final notes from Guy Ranawake, senior investment director at Ingenious, added: “We are very happy to support Winnow and look forward to seeing the growth of the company which aligns strongly with our investment strategy and sector focus, including resource efficiency.”