Ingenious backs AI pioneer to help combat global food waste
Ingenious’ Infrastructure Ventures EIS Service has invested in Winnow, the technology company behind Winnow Vision, an artificial intelligence tool helping chefs cut food waste in half, as it completes its series B round of funding at USD12 million.
Other co-investors in this fund raising round include Ingka Investments, Mustard Seed, Circularity Capital, D-Ax in addition to Ingenious. This follows a recent loan from The European Investment Bank (EIB) and in total means the firm has raised USD20 million in the last month, allowing it to focus on global markets.
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. Winnow’s latest AI product Winnow Vision, the most advanced food waste technology on the market, has been developed to automate waste tracking, enabling chefs to run more profitable and sustainable kitchens. With global clients already adopting Winnow Vision, from IKEA stores through to the Armani Hotel in Dubai, the demand by companies to drive down food waste in 2019 is increasing.
Kitchens using Winnow tend to see a 40-70 per cent reduction in food waste within 6-12 months, driving food cost savings between 2-8 per cent in total, which improves profit margins whilst operating in an ethical manner.
Guy Ranawake, Investment Director at Ingenious, says: “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.”
Marc Zornes, CEO at Winnow, says: “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 USD33m worth of food from going to waste annually. We have set a target to save our customers USD1bn by 2025, and this investment will accelerate our technology development and business development approach to help achieve this ambition.”
Winnow Vision 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. Winnow’s systems have already reached and surpassed human levels of accuracy in identifying wasted foods. This means for clients, over time, these systems will 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.
The transaction was led by Ingenious’ infrastructure division and represents the third investment from the Infrastructure Ventures EIS Service, following the backing of Over-C, an analytics company focused on operational performance in the workforce management market and Reactive Technologies, a world leading technology platform facilitating the transition to a low carbon future.