Today, food safety compliance is a ‘cumbersome and bureaucratic’ process, according to start-up FoodDocs.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) is an internationally recognised method of identifying and managing food safety risk. In an area that is both strictly regulated and highly complex, setting up an HACCP system requires a ’great knowledge’ of the food sector.
“The food safety sector is hungry for disruption,” co-founder and CEO Katrin Liivat told FoodNavigator. “Ninety-five percent of food safety documentation is still managed manually on paper - the same way as it was in the 1960s when NASA started with the first HACCP plan in the world. FoodDocs is here to change things and provide an AI solution for food companies to help them become and remain compliant in just a matter of minutes, instead of struggling for weeks and months.”
According to Liivat, FoodDoc’s solution is simpler, faster and cheaper than the mountain of paperwork food businesses are faced with in the current status quo. “Compliance processes need to become more efficient and company-friendly – that’s where we change the game. Leveraging AI, FoodDocs makes getting compliant 500 times faster than the traditional method and allows food businesses to save 20% of their time on staying compliant,” she explained.
“Food businesses were hit strongly during the COVID crisis and are looking for solutions that help to save time, money and allow them to focus on their main activity - managing their business.”
New investment to step up expansion
FoodDoc recently completed an equity raise of £1.8m to extend its reach in the food safety sector.
The funding was led by Bonnier Ventures with Forward Venture Capital, and Spring Capital also joining the round alongside existing investor United Angels VC.
The cash will be used to continue FoodDoc’s strategic growth journey, driving further expansion in the US and the UK and further improving AI capabilities, the company revealed.
“FoodDocs has already gained hundreds of customers in the USA and UK. The new capital will be mostly used to reach more customers in both countries. It will also be used to further develop our core AI solutions such as our automatic HACCP plan builder, Smart Food Safety Management System, and auto-fill systems for monitoring to save our customers’ time,” Liivat told us.
FoodDocs already counts more than 15,000 companies as customers including Huboo, Smart Lunches, The Oxford Food Co., and Bolt Market. The latter company has used FoodDocs' solution to expand to 40 new business locations in nine countries.
Melanie Goldfinger, Operations Manager of Croatia for Bolt Market, explained that FoodDocs helped to accumulate all documentation accurately together to facilitate the firm’s expansion. “They saved us a lot of time and are clearly customer-centric service providers. They strive to make our HACCP goals as smooth as possible and take time to educate all our team members on the usage of the platform,” Goldfinger said.
A ’quality mark’ for food safety
FoodDocs was founded by Liivat alongside Karin Repp, who came up with the idea of setting up an HACCP builder that uses AI ’to grow smarter in time’, offering one solution for all food safety tasks.
Victor Bodin, Investment Director at Bonnier Ventures, said that the company’s vision reflects the ‘deep understanding’ that its founders have of issues in the food safety sector. “We have been impressed by Katrin and Karin’s deep understanding of the large and complex food safety market. The positive impact that FoodDocs delivers for food safety and food businesses, by empowering them to operate more efficiently, is remarkable. We think FoodDocs have all the pieces needed to win and become a leader in this important category,” he predicted.
For Liivat, the hope is that FoodDocs will become a standard-setter for food safety. “FoodDocs’ mission is to become a quality mark so that consumers feel sure that their food is safe to eat,” she explained. "Further expansion, including an additional funding round, is on the cards in the near-term.
“The goal of this fundraising round is to increase the traffic and revenue from English-speaking countries and to collect as much data as possible to improve our AI solution. We’re planning to raise the A round in the middle of 2023.”