European FoodTech, which already had 13 unicorns in 2021, twice as many as in 2020, sees a new startup join the battalion. Choco, founded in 2018 by a Frenchman, Grégoire Ambroselli, and two Germans, Daniel Khachab and Julian Hammer, has just announced a B2 series fundraiser worth 102 million euros.
Adding to another € 82.5 million Series B round six months ago, the round brings Choco’s valuation, which offers an app that simplifies restaurant order management, to € 1.2 billion. It was led by US venture capital firms G-Squared and Insight Partners.
15,000 restaurateurs and 10,000 suppliers in six countries
This new funding should be used to pursue the development of new features, accelerate growth in Europe and the United States and open up new markets, explains Choco, which hopes to be present in the world’s 50 largest capitals in 2023.
The company, which now employs 400 people, has already convinced 15,000 restaurateurs and more than 10,000 suppliers in France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain and the United States. More than 1.1 billion euros of orders were placed through the platform in March 2022.
However, it can still count on a much larger market, since according to the latest figures from INSEE, France alone in 2019 had almost 164,000 restaurants and mobile catering services, for a turnover excluding taxes of over 58 billion euros. Especially since Choco also offers its application to the catering sector: bakeries, butchers, etc.
Three hours saved per week
To attract more restaurateurs and suppliers, Choco is betting above all on the promise of simplification, in a sector that is still very little digitized despite the weight of logistical challenges and economic uncertainties.
“Each restaurateur has an average of 13 suppliers, of which about half are busy daily. But orders are placed mainly by telephone, which generates many errors, excludes any written records and obliges suppliers to write everything down on the vouchers. Purchases” , explains Grégoire Ambroselli.
Inspired by Whatsapp, Choco allows any restaurateur to open a communication channel with each supplier for free, where orders will be collected and products referenced. The application promises its users time savings: up to 3 hours per week.
By suppliers, whether they are wholesalers or small producers, it can also be used to inform customers of new products or shortages of stocks, lists Grégoire Ambroselli. They can also opt for a customized premium offer, aimed at supporting them during their digital transition.
Fewer mistakes, fewer losses
Choco also claims to contribute to the reduction of food waste which, according to the Ecological Transition Agency (Ademe), still concerns 10 million tons of products per year in France for a commercial value of 16 billion euros, of which the 14% for collective and commercial catering. If only by avoiding errors in the orders, the application would allow each restaurant to save 1.3 kilos of goods per week, calculates Grégoire Ambroselli.
Added to this is the greater visibility of the orders granted by the application, facilitating the knowledge of the quantity of products consumed regularly and therefore optimizing purchases. Sellers, on the other hand, can promote their products with shorter expiration dates. Not to mention the free time, which can be used by both sides for a “more analytical approach”, emphasizes the founder.
In 2021, investments in European startups for the management of catering services, which improve the management of catering, reached 310 million euros, compared to 82 million the previous year. They “are attracting more and more attention”, esteems the specialized company DigitalFoodLab.