Crisp, a demand forecasting platform for the food industry, has today announced the close of a $12 million Series A funding round led by FirstMark Capital, with participation from Spring Capital and Swell Partners.
Crisp launched out of beta in January of this year with a product that aimed to give food suppliers and distributors a clearer picture of customer demand at retailers. Before Crisp, these organizations usually had several data scientists compiling data from various sources into an unintelligible spreadsheet, making it difficult to see general demand outlooks, and nearly impossible to spot anomalies.
Not only does this lead to losses in revenue, but it also contributes to a terrible amount of food waste.
Crisp looks to solve this by giving these suppliers and distributors a visualization of their data instantly and in real time. The company has built integrations with a large number of ERP software, ingesting historical data from food brands and combining them with a wide range of other signals around demand drivers, such as seasonality, holidays, price sensitivity, past marketing campaigns, changes in the competitive landscape and weather that might affect the sale or shipment of ingredients or the product itself.
The end goal is to consolidate data across the industry, from brands to distributors to grocery stores, so that each individual link in the food chain can do a better job of matching their supply with their demand on an individual basis.
Since launching out of beta, Crisp has expanded beyond food brands and suppliers into retail and distributor space. The company has also expanded beyond produce and dairy into verticals like beverages, bakery, CPG, flowers, meat and poultry. The startup says its seen an 80% increase in the number of customers using the platform since January.
Obviously, the coronavirus pandemic brings its own unique challenges and opportunities to Crisp's business. On the one hand, grocery store shopping is booming and the supply chain behind it is certainly in need of better data science and demand forecasting as user behavior shifts rapidly. On the other hand, user behavior is shifting rapidly.
With state by state, and sometimes county by county, lockdowns and shifts in the restrictions imposed on small businesses, Crisp has had to manually track what's going on around the country in order to provide clear insights to its customers.
"This period we're in has increased that willingness to share data and increased collaboration between everybody in the supply chain," said founder and CEO Are Traasdahl. "We've seen a big shift there. Earlier, everyone assumed that everyone else was able to deliver, but now this ability to have a full, top-down visibility across a whole depth of companies, not just the companies next to you in your trading relationships, but being able to unify data and have more insights from multiple steps away from yourself, and get that data in real time been accelerated."
Crisp currently has 33 employees (with plans to hire on the back of the funding), which is 33% women and 15% people of color. Half of Crisp's management team are women.