With food prices on the rise and soaring fuel prices across Europe, startups that can help with the cost of living crunch have a golden opportunity. Swedish grocery discounter Motatos (or Matsmart, as it’s known on home turf) is one such business — and is today announcing a €38m Series D, bringing its total funding to €130m.
What does Motatos do?
Motatos launched its online grocery store in Sweden in 2014 and has since expanded to Finland, Denmark, Germany and most recently to the UK.
Instead of focusing on fast deliveries and fresh food (we’ve had enough of those), Motatos sells long-life household goods such as store cupboard ingredients, beverages, toiletries and pet food from the surplus inventory of large producers at a reduced price.
Motatos says this means it not only offer consumers a bargain but also fights the problem food waste. By selling surplus food, it limits the amount that ends up in landfill.
And it's going pretty well for Motatos. The startup’s total revenue in 2021 was €68m and is on track to hit €100m this year. It’s even shown profitability in Sweden, at least in some months.
Who are the investors?
Motatos is backed by a number of Swedish and European investors:
- Its largest investor is the private equity arm of Swedish bank SEB, which led this round, along with UK-based VC Exor Capital.
- Other investors include European VC Northzone, Swedish VCs Edastra, Gullspång Re:food Invest, impact investor Norrsken VC, German LeadX Capital and London-based Blume Equity.
However, when it comes to this funding round, the most interesting thing is not the investors that invested but the ones that didn’t get to.
With the recent hype in impact tech as well as rising food prices and inflation, a new investor reached out to Motatos earlier this year with an offer. With a bid on the table, Motatos decided to get its skates on for its next raise.
Its existing investors decided to match the terms of the deal on the table, says founder and co-CEO Karl Andersson. “It was a somewhat strange situation, but we decided to go with our existing investors’ counterbid, since that meant it would be a much quicker process.”
As a result, Motatos’s valuation increased by almost 30% from that of its previous funding round, in November 2021, pushing it well over the €300m mark.
Many online food delivery services saw a spike in growth during Covid — but customers are now more conscious of the cost of living. With a looming recession, people will be cutting back on subscriptions and other unnecessary expenses and many ecommerce companies as well as physical retailers will likely see sales stagnate.
But just as with Covid — where there are losers, there are also winners.
Companies that offer services that help people spend less on food, electricity bills and other expenses, like car ownership, will have an opportunity to grow. For Motatos, the interest shown by investors is a sign the company is on the right track, while its proven ability to turn a profit (even if not annually, yet) puts it in a good position to raise again in the future.