citybiz+ Specialty Food Marketplace Foraged Raises $2.7 Million

Washington, D.C.-based Foraged, which runs a marketplace for wild and specialty foods, has raised $2.7 million in a seed round led by California-headquartered Bessemer Venture Partners.

Other backers included Viagogo founder Eric Baker, Shopify executive Harley Finkelstein, Yelp co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman, and Fiverr co-founder and CEO Micha Kaufman. In 2021, Foraged had raised $200,000 from celebrity chef Tom Colicchio and others in a pre-seed round.

Founded by Jack Hamrick and Andy Conner in 2021, Foraged focused initially on the large global mushroom market. Hamrick, who serves as Foraged’s CEO, once worked on product innovation at Budweiser, and calls himself a sustainability innovator and food lover. Prior to Foraged, Hamrick worked in the recycling and composting space, as well as in sustainability innovation at Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser’s parent firm, where he built North America’s largest deployment of fully-electric freight distribution trucks. Conner is a designer by training and a nature photographer. He serves as the startup’s chief product officer.

“We are growing, not in spite of the economic fears and inflationary pressures, but because of challenges,” Hamrick told TechCrunch in a recent interview. “We enable consumers to buy food directly from mom-and-pop businesses, rather than profit-gouging, multinational corporations.”

Hamrick also cited “huge consumer tailwinds” for the business because “people want to eat differently, and want truly natural, healthy, sustainable and unique foods.”

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Besides mushroom Foraged’s curated marketplace includes honey, oils and jams. In recent months, it has started adding dairy, meat, eggs and seafood, too.

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“We have some exciting product announcements coming up, and we are finally doing some marketing,” Hamrick told TechCrunch. Foraged still has only eight employees and is counting on the newly raised capital to expand and develop its ecommerce platform to offer new features to buyers and sellers alike.

Bessemer Venture Partners, founded in 1911 and headquartered in Redwood City, Calif., is a renowned Silicon Valley venture firm. So far, it has raised over $14 billion. Its blockbuster hits include LinkedIn, Twilio and Pinterest.