FloWaste secures $270,000 pre-seed funding to develop food analytics platform

Posted on: 03 March 2021

FloWaste, a sustainability-minded food analytics startup led by former students from Trinity College Dublin, has just completed a $270,000 US pre-seed round of financing. The company uses proprietary image recognition technology to empower cafeterias, fast-food and quick-service restaurants to reduce food waste.

The food analytics platform allows food service providers to optimise portion sizing, ingredient combinations, and meal preparation to significantly reduce waste and costs. The platform also has applications in the food production industry.

Food waste is a significant global environmental, ethical and economic issue. Currently, 1.6 billion tons of food goes to waste. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization predicts annual food loss and waste is likely to rise by a third by 2030, with 2.1 billion tons, worth US$1.5 trillion, being lost or thrown away annually.

FloWaste began life in the School of Engineering in Trinity College Dublin as a student project in the increasingly renowned ‘Innovation in Product Development’ module, which has already produced a number of high-profile award-winning startups such as WayToB and Akara Robotics.

The idea was further developed as part of LaunchBox, the highly successful student incubator programme run by Tangent, Trinity’s Ideas Workspace; New Frontiers at TU Dublin; and in the University of Notre Dame Engineering and Technology Entrepreneurship program by co-founder Rian McDonnell (MAI, 2019).

This round of investment was led by the famous early-stage venture capital firm Plug and Play Ventures – supporters of over 20 ‘unicorns’ including PayPal and DropBox, with further participation from Elevate Ventures, RSLP Ventures, Flywheel Fund, Culvex Investments and individual investor Angie Stocklin. This injection will allow FloWaste to capitalise on current sales momentum by completing paid pilots with high-profile clients in Q2 2021.

Rian McDonnell, CEO, FloWaste, says the investment will allow the company to capitalise on current sales momentum and launch paid pilots of its technology later this year.





















Rian McDonnell said: “We are honoured by the many investors that have chosen to back us at this early stage of our company. It is a testament to our mission to solve the food waste issue that we were able to bring together Silicon Valley experience and Midwest grit, determination and food industry expertise.”

“By leveraging technology in order to reduce food waste across several segments of the food service and production industries,” Ian Rupert, Managing Partner at RSLP Ventures says.

“FloWaste is solving a multi-billion-dollar problem that has implications for consumers, sustainability, and profitability. RSLP is thrilled to partner with FloWaste at such an exciting stage in their business.”

Speaking of the project’s origin’s in Trinity, Associate Professor Kevin Kelly, who founded the ‘Innovation in Product Development’ programme, commented:

“It is a compelling example of how the top talent we are lucky enough to have as students in Trinity Engineering can turn their attention to really challenging problems and innovate meaningful and impactful solutions, within their programs of study, when we provide the right support and environment. I’m delighted to see their success to date and I’m sure they’ll go on to even bigger things and serve as inspiration to our current and future students, just as past spin-outs did for this team.”

Rian McDonell, CEO, FloWaste, added:

“It has been an incredible, exciting journey –- bringing an idea to life in our project in Trinity and continuing to work on it both here and in the US. I’d like to think that that marriage of Irish grit, inspiration and determination and the US connections to start-up funding, knowledge and experience was our ‘special sauce’. We’re really excited about the next phase as we look to develop further partnerships here and in the US.”

To date, FloWaste has lined up seven pilots of their food analytics platform, with a variety of customers, including Ireland’s largest beef processor, the best known global fast-food chains, and huge cafeteria management companies. FloWaste aims to complete three of these pilots before Autumn 2021, at which time they hope to raise further capital and expand to 100+ locations in Q1 2022.

Media Contact:

Thomas Deane, Media Relations Officer | deaneth@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 4685