The amount of food in landfills because of inefficiency in the supply chain or cosmetic issues because they do not look presentable for stores increases every year. A Singapore-based company TreeDots wants to take the initiative to prevent tons of food from being wasted. TreeDots, as per the company, is Asia’s first food surplus marketplace. The company creates a B2B marketplace with a vertically integrated supply chain and a group buying social commerce feature. Additionally, to help the food reach the end-users faster, TreeDots is also creating its own cold-chain logistics infrastructure.
Founded in 2017, TreeDots was a surplus food marketplace but has now expanded to social commerce too. According to the TreeDots team, one-third of the total food in the world is never eaten. It is mainly the insufficiency of the supply chain or that the food was imperfect aesthetically in Asia. Some grocery chains might reject a shipment of apples because they might not be as red or might have spots on them. However, F&B businesses like hotels that use these foods as ingredients do not reject them. Their business is designed to sell non-aesthetic or rejected foods to the F&B businesses at much cheaper rates, in some cases 90%.
Today, the company has announced that they have raised a Series A funding of $11 million led by East Ventures, Amasia, and investors such as Seeds Capital, Active Fund, actress Fiona Xie, and author Nir Eyal. This funding totals up to $15 million will be used by the company to expand in Malaysia. They will use it to grow their operations and expand to other markets while also optimizing the supply chain and logistics business named TreeLogs. They have also released a statement saying that their gross merchandise volume has increased over four times each year.
Tylor Jong- TreeDots Co-chief executive officer shares through an email that the company does not take food from retailers and aims to redistribute. They solve the food wastage problem by transferring it from countries where food is not appropriate as per the standards set by different types of buyers or consumers to countries which demand surplus availability to ensure enough is available at every step of the supply chain.
The suppliers and buyers both benefit from the business with TreeDots. The suppliers earn lots of revenue by selling the products they would otherwise have to send to landfills and cost them money. TreeDots also has an app that helps the suppliers digitize the operations and onboard the products through TreeLogs. Their logistic infrastructure has both external and in-house services so that all the demands of the business buyers and social commerce are fulfilled as per Jong. He also adds, “being tech-driven and striving for higher utilization, heavier delivery density, and best practices” is the best way for them to improve traditional cold-chain logistics.
TreeDots investor East Ventures managing partner- Roderic Purwana has said concerning their investment that food loss is an issue, but they noticed that the suppliers have started to use the system for earning revenue, not just to avoid food loss. TreeDots can make five deliveries on a single trip working with multiple suppliers to reduce emissions and logistic costs.