German start-up fliit offers a digital ‘all-in-one’ logistics platform for players in the B2B fresh food sector.
“We want to make food logistics easy, efficient and transparent,” executive assistant Marie-Louise Völkel told FoodNavigator when explaining the start-up concept.
Rather than dealing with a number of different service providers, fliit customers need have one point of contact only. “We bring together several carriers for fresh produce and aggregate them on our platform, so that we can deliver an all-in-one service,” she explained.
Unlike traditional logistics firms, fliit does not own a fleet of trucks, nor does it employ drivers and own warehouses. Instead, the firm works with approximately 200 carrier partners across the country.
“This makes us more flexible than usual service providers,” Völkel continued. “We can deliver to any part of Germany right now, which is one of the biggest achievements during this past year for us.”
fliit counts recipe box company Hello Fresh, supermarket chain Rewe, and caterer Compass Group among its clients. The start-up is also beginning to work more with primary producers and hopes to establish partnerships with food manufacturers.
“We really want to bring that produce directly to retailers and restaurants, to reduce the amount of middlemen and make logistics more efficient and transparent,” said Völkel.
“We want to have a shorter and clearer food supply chain, to be able to really track where produce is coming from.”
“The food logistics industry is still very analogue, without any [digital] tracking systems. We know when your product is going to arrive, if and where something went wrong, and can check [storage] temperature was correct” – fliit executive assistant Marie-Louise Völkel
A €10m boost
The fast-growing business, which currently employees approximately 40 employees, recently announced the completion of Series A funding totalling €10m.
Investors include Maersk Growth, the Maschmeyer Group, and Berlin Technologie Holding.
“We want to use this €10m to grow in terms of clients and revenue. We want to scale up and hire…at least 30 new people this year.”
Interest from Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, may provide opportunity to extend fliit’s reach in the food supply chain, said Völkel. “If we start working with them, we can do long haul and international.”
Indeed, international expansion is already on the cards. The start-up plans to expand into at least two or three European countries later this year. “We are thinking about France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and maybe even the UK,” we were told. “But that also depends on how Brexit goes…”