SAN FRANCISCO — Pod Foods, the next generation food distribution platform, announced its bi-coastal expansion to Los Angeles and New York City. The company now enables CPG food and beverage brands from anywhere in the country to distribute their products onto the store shelves of grocery store retailers in four key geographic locations across the United States.
The expansion into these new markets supports Pod Foods’ goals to both create space for high-quality food and beverage brands to grow, and facilitate the evolution of retailers and our food distribution system. “We fill a gap in the market so smaller brands with a lot of potential can access retail and distribution without a lot of up-front capital investment,” said Larissa Russell, Co-Founder and CEO. With their increased reach, Pod Foods is able to bring boutique brands to a spectrum of retailers that would have otherwise missed out on these quality niche products due to the current distribution system.
With existing distribution platforms too cost prohibitive for emerging CPG brands, Pod Foods’ platform gives brands access to communities that would have otherwise been well outside their reach. This solution is deeply personal for co-founders CEO Larissa Russell, and COO Fiona Lee, as they are two former food entrepreneurs with first-hand experience on the challenges that food and beverage brands face when starting their businesses. It was out of a desire to fix the food distribution system that they started Pod Foods in late 2017. Earlier this summer, Pod Foods announced $3 million in venture funding from Moment Ventures and M12 Ventures.
As part of its expansion into New York, Pod Foods has integrated the distribution network of Spense, a wholesale marketplace with a large presence in the country’s largest city. “Spense was created to help smaller makers grow their businesses and connect them with like-minded retailers that believe in the magic of making quality goods. We’re thrilled to transfer our vision to Pod Foods, a growing company that is aligned with us in so many ways,” said George Markoulakis, Founder of Spense.
“While Pod Foods gained early notoriety with specialty food brands and local store buyers, their geographic expansion also enables them to work with more established brands and stores with a national footprint. Their tenacity and passion for this industry shows, as evidenced by their growth into new markets in the last year. I look forward to watching their growth in the months to come,” said Clint Chao, General Partner of Moment Ventures.
Pod Foods’ differentiated technology platform empowers store buyers to access specialty brands around the country so that they can offer a curated selection of the most relevant products for their customers based on data and industry trends. Pod’s fully transparent platform provides brands with insights from data sell through and real-time analytics to manage and optimize marketing, production and inventory needs.
“By leveraging on data technologies such as predictive analytics we are able to match the most relevant products to stores based on a combination of what’s trending at the earliest stages, and the stores’ purchasing history,” said Fiona Lee, COO and Co-Founder. “With data, we are able to provide a level of insight previously unavailable to this market. We eliminate a lot of guess-work and offline activity which otherwise leads to out-of-stocks, inefficient logistics or food waste. We can also help vendors optimize their production and inventory,” added Larissa Russell, CEO and Co-Founder.