Announcing our Series B funding 😱

We’ve had three “zero to one” moments in OLIO’s life — when the impossible suddenly becomes possible. They are our founding; our first funding, and sadly, a global pandemic that kicked off hockey-stick growth.

Today I’m beyond ecstatic to announce our 4th — our $43 million Series B financing 😱 😱 😱

This is nothing short of transformational for us, and we’ll be investing in three key areas:

  1. Product — At its core OLIO is about connecting neighbours so we can live more sustainably by utilising the resources that already exist within our local communities. In the coming months we’ll be rapidly growing our team of developers so we can not only make a dent in the long backlog of improvements needed for the main product, but also launch exciting new features such as ‘Borrow’ and ‘Wanted’. This will help us double down on our challenge to the prevailing (highly destructive) model of consumption, by providing an alternative that’s hyper-local, sustainable and deeply fulfilling. Watch this space…
  2. Food Waste Hero Programme — The pandemic coupled with the accelerating climate crisis has made it clearer than ever, that it’s no longer acceptable for businesses to throw away perfectly good food. Clients such as Tesco, Pret a Manger, Compass Catering and many, many more recognise that working with OLIO is inevitable if they are to achieve zero food waste locations. That’s because internal initiatives and working with discounting apps & charities alone just won’t get them there. We have an *incredibly* strong pipeline and now need to staff up fast to unlock this.
  3. International expansion — We’ve spent the first half of this year experimenting with digital marketing in multiple international markets, and responding to inbound enquiries about the Food Waste Heroes Programme. We’ve narrowed this down to the 10 most promising markets — which are in the Latin American, Asian & Northern European regions — and will be rolling out to those markets over the next 12–24 months.

Through making the OLIO experience better & more useful; through rapidly scaling the number of businesses we support; and through taking OLIO to new countries — all underpinned by a significant increase in marketing investment— we will finally unlock our true potential for 🚀 growth, both in terms of number of OLIOers, and our impact.

And talking of impact… so far our community has saved over 25 million portions of food plus 3 million other household items from the bin 😱. This has had an environmental impact equivalent to taking 80 million car miles off the road, and has saved 4 billion litres of water 🌍 ❤️ ♻️. We’re doing less than 0.1% of our full potential right now. So just imagine what we can achieve now that we’re properly financed…

To close out I’d like to take a moment to thank the *incredible* OLIO community, and the tens of thousands of volunteers who have taken mine & Saasha’s vision for the world and made it truly their own. We never fail to be inspired by your incredible passion, commitment and creativity, and thank you from the bottom of our hearts 🙏. As always, if you’ve got any issues or suggestions for improvement, please reach out to us on hello@olioex.com.

Profound gratitude also goes to OLIO’s founding team members — Lloyd, Jacques, Viv, Anne-Charlotte, Michael and Ben. Six fearless musketeers whose blood, sweat and tears is baked into every aspect of OLIO. They have been ably and invaluably supported by the wider OLIO team who must also take full credit for today’s incredible milestone. And the work of the whole team has only been possible thanks to another incredible group of people, our investors, without whom OLIO quite simply wouldn’t exist!

Last but not least, a massive thank you to all our partners and cheerleaders from the side-lines — after all “it takes a village” to change the world.

And now onwards — to our goal of 1 billion OLIOers by 2030. Time is rapidly running out. OLIO must, and will, reinvent consumption.

ADDENDUM

It would be remiss of me not to touch on the fact that this raise — as with all our raises — was against the odds. That’s because we’re a female founded, tech 4 good, early revenue business. Particularly challenging is the fact that female founded businesses continue to receive a mere 1% of all venture capital funding, whilst male founded businesses get 89%, and mixed teams the delta. Dana Kanze’s brilliant assessment of some of the challenges we face is absolutely spot on! Most investors squirm uncomfortably when I share my reality, or even worse, make it feel like there’s something wrong with me. Now I button it up and keep my eyes on the prize, stoic about the fact that I’ll have to beat the system before I can change the system. However what I can offer in the meantime is that if you’re a female or diverse founder and want to find out more about how we’ve worked to overcome our gender handicap, please do get in touch on tessa@olioex.com

Co-Founder & CEO of OLIO, the food sharing app. Getting my head around the climate crisis. Passionate about sustainability, startups & diversity.