Northern VCTs

Burda invests £16m in Mercia-backed sustainable food platform

Oddbox – the Mercia-backed platform using technology to fight food waste – has secured a £16m investment from BurdaPrincipal Investments (BPI), the growth capital arm of media and tech company Hubert Burda Media whose titles include BBCGoodFood and Olive Magazine.

The new funds will be used to accelerate Oddbox’s contribution to fighting food waste by enhancing customer experience, expanding its UK footprint and increasing share options for employees.

Oddbox delivers fresh fruit and vegetable boxes with produce which is at risk of going to waste to sustainably conscious consumers via a weekly subscription, alongside tailored recipes and data analysis highlighting a personalised measurable positive impact on the planet.

One third of the food grown in the world is wasted. In the UK alone over 3 million tonnes of food is wasted at farm level for being ‘too’ big, ‘too’ small, or ‘too’ many. And when food goes to waste, so does the energy, water and time that went into growing it. This means that if food waste was a country, it would rank as the world’s third biggest contributor to greenhouse emissions, behind only China and the USA.

Oddbox has rescued 18,834 tonnes of fruit and veg (the amount 40,943 people would eat in a year), prevented 20,830 tonnes of carbon emissions and saved 2,028 million litres of water (the amount 34,300 people would drink in their lifetime).

Oddbox was founded in 2016 by wife and husband team Emilie Vanpoperinghe and Deepak Ravindran (pictured). Mercia first invested in March last year when it led a £3m funding round with Seedrs. The company registered an exponential six-fold year-on-year growth in revenue in 2020 and has a highly loyal and engaged community.

Amelia Townsend, Principal of BurdaPrincipal Investments, said: “We are very inspired by Emilie and Deepak, the Oddbox founders, with their clear and authentic purpose to tackle food waste and the impressive and scalable platform they have built to enable this. We are delighted to be joining the journey to accelerate this mission.”

Oddbox co-founders Emilie Vanpoperinghe and Deepak Ravindran added: “With our recent growth we’ve identified key areas for Oddbox to develop and further our mission to fight food waste. So while we continue to retain majority stakes, we wanted an investor to help make these developments happen, and importantly who also shares our vision that business is a force for good. We’ve found that in Burda, as they’re committed to long-term sustainability, a principle at the core of Oddbox.”

Ishaan Chilkoti of Mercia said: “Oddbox offers a compelling proposition for today’s ethical consumers. Since our initial investment, the company has grown rapidly and embarked on a nationwide expansion plan. This latest funding will enable the team to make an even bigger impact.”

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