Investors hooked on Minnow: Seattle startup raises $3M for its contactless food ‘Pickup Pods’

A Pickup Pod Food Delivery and Pickup Station from Minnow. (Minnow photo)

New financing: Seattle-based startup Minnow, a manufacturer of a contactless grocery delivery and pick-up container, has raised $ 3 million in seed capital.

The technique: The company’s IoT-enabled pickup pods provide a safe and convenient way to deliver groceries to homes, offices, campuses, and elsewhere. The food is stored in individually closed cubes without a keyboard or touchscreen. They are opened via the smartphone QR code.

Traction: Minnow was founded in 2017 and has installed its devices in locations in the USA and Japan. The company says all of the leading grocery delivery services rely on its technology, as do restaurants and ghost kitchens that do their own deliveries. The desire for contactless delivery options has been increasingly fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minnow said in a press release that it is accelerating production of its first commercial model, the M8. The first batch of pickup pods has already sold out and the company is taking pre-orders for the second batch.

Investors: Branded Strategic Hospitality, an early-stage New York-based venture capital fund, led the round. Portland-based Elevate Capital, which ran Minnow’s previous convertible bond financing, doubled its investment, and the Portland Seed Fund also got involved. Minnow raised $ 2.2 million last August and raised a total of $ 6.4 million in seed capital.

Last word: “This funding demonstrates the importance of minnow technology in solving the last mile problem in food delivery,” said Steven Sperry, Co-Founder and CEO of Minnow, in a statement. “With the US grocery delivery market projected to exceed $ 28 billion this year and all major delivery platforms still losing money, the last mile problem is urgent.”

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