Minnow Closes $1.2M in Seed Funding, Led by Elevate Capital
Investment to Accelerate Product Development, Marketing and Sales and West Coast Expansion Efforts
Portland, ME – October 29, 2018 – Minnow, the developer of the first IoT-enabled food pickup kiosk (or “pod”) that helps restaurants manage online and delivery orders, announced today that it closed a $1.2M seed round led by Portland, OR-based Elevate Capital. The funds will be used to accelerate product development, marketing, and sales efforts, as well as to open an office in Portland, OR.
Minnow set out to raise $1M, but due to strong investor interest the round was oversubscribed and the company raised $1.2M. Elevate Capital led the round with a $500K investment, while individual investors provided the remaining $700K. Because Minnow is located in one of the Opportunity Zones created under the recently passed tax law, qualifying investments can enjoy lower capital gains taxes and other tax benefits.
The Minnow self-service pickup pod offers restaurants an easier way to manage their growing volume of online and delivery orders, while improving the in-store pickup experience. It eliminates guesswork by notifying customers (through the free Minnow app) when their orders are ready, and it keeps their food fresh and secure until they arrive to pick it up. With a Minnow pod, restaurants can reduce the cost of managing order pickups, eliminate losses caused by theft and pickup mistakes, and offer their customers a more convenient pickup experience.
“Minnow solves an important problem for restaurants, which is how to manage the increase in takeout orders caused by the emergence of food delivery services and changing consumer habits,” said Nitin Rai, Managing Partner of Elevate Capital. “Beyond that, Minnow's pickup pods enable new business models for foodservice, food delivery, and retailing. Elevate Capital is delighted to partner with Minnow as they bring their innovative technology to market.”
“The Minnow pod was developed to help restaurants manage the growth in online and delivery ordering, and to help them meet customers’ demand for more convenience,” said Steven Sperry, CEO of Minnow. “According to Statista, 33% of Americans order takeout or delivery at least once a week. Even more remarkably, over the last few years digital ordering and delivery have grown 300% faster than dine-in traffic. To stay competitive, restaurants will have to adopt solutions that offer their customers more convenience.”
Developed to help restaurants grow faster by serving their customers better, Minnow’s pods take up less than five square feet of floor space and require only a standard 120V electrical outlet. In 2018, Minnow beta-tested a prototype with Garden Bar, a ten-location fast casual salad concept based in Portland, OR. Nearly 300 customers participated in the beta test.
“Garden Bar was ecstatic to have partnered with Minnow to beta test its pod prototype. By offering our fresh, healthy and delicious salads, the Minnow pod helped us be more accessible and reach new customers at a lower cost than traditional delivery services,” said Ana Chaud, CEO of Garden Bar.
In early 2019, Minnow will deliver its first production-quality pickup pods. To see for themselves how a Minnow pod can lower costs and improve their customers’ in-store experience, restaurants can trial a pod for 30 days through the Minnow Pilot Program.
To view or download images of the Minnow pickup pod, click here.
Minnow helps restaurants manage their growing volume of online and delivery orders. With Minnow’s IoT-enabled food pickup kiosks, restaurants can reduce staffing costs and improve their customers’ in-store experience by offering the most convenient order pickup experience possible. Founded in 2017, Minnow is a venture-funded company operating at the intersection of food and technology. To learn more, visit www.minnow.me. You can also connect with Minnow on Twitter or LinkedIn.
About Elevate Capital
Elevate Capital is a Pacific Northwest-based venture capital firm that invests in early stage under-represented entrepreneurs, including women, minorities that include communities of color, veterans, and entrepreneurs located in underserved areas. These investments are made through two funds, the Elevate Capital Fund and the Elevate Inclusive Fund. For more information, visit elevate.vc or follow @pdxelevatevc on Twitter.
About Garden Bar
Garden Bar is a Pacific Northwest-based fast casual concept that specializes in serving fresh and healthy salads, made with locally sourced, high-quality ingredients. It currently serves the Portland metro area with nine open locations, with a 10th location opening in early 2019. For more information, visit gardenbarpdx.com.