The company develops a food analytics platform to help businesses track and reduce the amount of food waste they produce.
FloWaste, a food analytics platform, has raised $270,000 in pre-seed funding to bring its technology beyond the pilot stage.
The start-up, which was founded by Trinity College Dublin students and is now based in the US, has developed a sensor and image recognition technology for identifying how food is prepared. The tech is sold to restaurants, takeaways and cafeterias to help reduce food waste.
The investment round was led by Silicon Valley early-stage VC Plug and Play, which was an early backer of PayPal and Dropbox. Other investors in the round include Elevate Ventures, RSLP Ventures, Flywheel Fund and Culvex Investments.
The start-up said the fresh round of capital will help it complete its current paid pilots with clients in Ireland and the US, including beef processors and fast food outlets, and move towards full commercialisation. It is aiming to raise further investment and reach more than 100 locations by early 2022.
Its analytics helps food businesses optimise their meal preparation and portion sizes to reduce food waste and costs. Around 1.6bn tons of food is wasted every year and a 2018 report from The Boston Consulting Group predicts this will rise to 2.1bn by 2030.
FloWaste was born out of Trinity’s school of engineering and took part in the LaunchBox and New Frontiers start-up programmes. The company has since relocated to South Bend, Indiana.
“I’d like to think that that marriage of Irish grit, inspiration and determination and the US connections to start-up funding, knowledge and experience was our ‘special sauce’. We’re really excited about the next phase as we look to develop further partnerships here and in the US,” chief executive Rian McDonnell said.
Ian Rupert, managing partner at RSLP Ventures, one of the investors in the round, said FloWaste is “solving a multibillion-dollar problem” in the food industry.