FoodMaven is an innovative online marketplace and rapid logistics company bringing agility and flexibility to the U.S. food system. With a zero-landfill policy, the Denver-based company’s goal is to recover the $200 billion in lost revenue caused by wasted food each year by providing buyers and suppliers with a new avenue for sales and purchasing.
It solves this problem by buying high-quality local, oversupplied and imperfect food from distributors, manufacturers and producers and selling it to restaurants, institutional kitchens and consumers at a significant discount. They leverage an efficient online marketplace, big data optimization technology, and an agile logistics model to make sure the food gets sold, donated to help feed the hungry or sent to environmentally conscious alternatives.
QuickBooks Couldn’t Handle Inventory
Like most start-ups, FoodMaven started on spreadsheets and then moved to QuickBooks. FoodMaven executives quickly realized they needed a much more powerful cloud-based solution that could handle its sophisticated inventory, data needs, and could connect to its custom software. They also needed technology that could rapidly scale to meet the company’s goal of going national.
As one can imagine, sourcing many types of food – meat, produce, dry goods, frozen – storing it and then distributing and selling it to restaurants, food service and hotels, can be very complex. “QuickBooks was not able to do the level of inventory tracking we needed,” says Greg Lems, director of engineering. “We had an ecommerce site, but it wasn’t integrated with QuickBooks, which made it difficult to understand when sales happened. Donations couldn’t be moved from a for-sale location to donation because that specific business functionality was not in QuickBooks. It didn’t have the level of sophistication we needed to grow our business.”
ERP Budget an Issue
Like many small business executives, Lems and his team were concerned about the enterprise-grade costs and headaches often associated with ERP systems. “Our challenge was around budget,” Lems says. “We received Series A funding, but not the kind that allows you to buy something like a big-name ERP brand. It’s not necessarily that we wanted that. We knew we needed a flexible system and something that integrated with other software.”
FoodMaven is introducing technology to a legacy food system that no one has seen before. They apply patent-pending intense algorithms so they can better understand pricing, the movement of food, and supply and demand. That sophisticated data “isn’t going to be any good if we can’t tie it through an ecommerce and financial system,” Lems says. The team was concerned about finding the amount of flexibility they wanted and how much it would cost to implement those needs.
They evaluated Infor, JustFood ERP, and several others recommended by board members and investors. That list included Acumatica.