AI bin firm receives further $20m cash injection

Male and female chefs preparing food in commercial kitchen
The Winnow Vision ‘smart bin’ recognises which food is thrown away.

Tech company Winnow has announced a $12m Series B round led by private investors Ingka Group and Mustard Seed: the company’s largest raise to date.

This follows a recent $8m loan from The European Investment Bank (EIB). Combined, this means Winnow has raised a total of $20m in the last month to enable expansion within the hospitality industry across global markets.

The London-based firm produces Winnow Vision, an artificial intelligence tool helping chefs cut food waste in half. The AI bin was developed to automate waste tracking. It works by taking photos of wasted food as it’s thrown away and uses the images to train itself to recognise what has been discarded.

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Winnow’s systems are said to have already reached and surpassed human levels of accuracy in identifying wasted foods. This means for clients, over time, these systems should enable their kitchens to automatically register food waste without any human interaction. Food will be thrown in the bin and the data will be captured automatically.

Launched in a single staff restaurant in 2013, Winnow has been adopted by more than 1,000 sites globally, and is now operating in 40 countries with offices in London, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai, Cluj-Napoca and Iowa City. Global clients already adopting Winnow Vision include Ikea stores through to the Armani Hotel in Dubai.

The series B fundraising round included investment from Ingka Group, a strategic partner to the Ikea franchisee system, Mustard Seed, Circularity Capital, D-Ax and The Ingenious Group.

Winnow co-founder and CEO Marc Zornes said: “We are very excited about driving the business forward in our global fight against food waste and we are grateful for the continuous support of our investors. This year, we launched our ground-breaking AI product Winnow Vision, and chefs using Winnow around the world are saving $33m worth of food from going to waste annually.

“We have set a target to save our customers $1bn of food waste by 2025, and this investment will accelerate our technology development and business development approach to help achieve this ambition.”

Leading the round, Henry Wigan, director at Mustard Seed stated: “We are privileged to be leading another Winnow round. Right from the very start, we have been deeply committed to Winnow’s impact mission, which is intricately aligned with the Mustard Seed Lock-Step thesis that solving big social and environmental problems drives commercial success in the long run.  We look forward to seeing Winnow grow at pace.”

Krister Mattsson, MD of Ingka Investments added: “Winnow has been a strong partner on our journey to reducing food waste in our IKEA stores by 50% by 2020. This investment supports growth and creates new opportunities to further accelerate the positive impact of food waste prevention. We are focused to increase the use of digital tools and analytics to both create the Ikea store of tomorrow and to deliver on IKEA’s sustainability ambition.”

While Jamie Butterworth, partner of Circularity Capital noted: “We are delighted to have supported the funding round and maintain our strong relationship with Winnow. We believe strongly in the strength of their technology and its role in accelerating the transition to a circular economy.”

According to Joakim Skarborg, chairman of D-Ax: “We believe in the market potential and the positive impact of Winnow’s product. With our strong presence in the food market and our commitment to building sustainable businesses, we are excited to continue our support to Marc, Kevin and the team going forward.”

Finally, Guy Ranawake, senior investment director at Ingenious added: “We are very happy to support Winnow and look forward to seeing the growth of the company which aligns strongly with our investment strategy and sector focus, including resource efficiency.”

Tags : food waste disposalinvestmentWaste disposalWaste managementwinnow
Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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