Source: Unsplash

A food and drink supplier marketplace that describes itself as ‘Tinder for sourcing’ has secured €2.7m in a seed funding round.

Berlin-based Torg – co-founded by former Just Eat head of consumer product Ben Holdham – said it would use the cash injection to expand its supplier database and build more time-saving tools for buyers.

The Torg platform enables retail and wholesale buyers to discover and connect with more than 100,000 foodservice and own-label focused suppliers in Europe.

The AI-powered platform – which features 2,000 British manufacturers – says it streamlines the sourcing processes of supplier discovery, communication, negotiation and financing, and claims to have the “most enriched database of suppliers”.

“Buyers have few good ways of finding new manufacturers. They rely on trade fairs which occur once a year and where less than 10% of global suppliers exhibit, or on desktop research, sifting through unverified websites. The market is much bigger than most buyers realise,” said Hans Furuseth, co-founder and CEO at Torg. “We democratise private-label products by opening up the market, creating more transparent supply chains, and putting less known, quality suppliers on the map. Our goal is to create meaningful business connections for both sides of the market. In a way, we’re Tinder for sourcing.”

Buyers can set up a product request in around two minutes and distribute it to hundreds of relevant manufacturers. The company’s platform efficiently captures a wide range of data sources to identify, verify, and vet suppliers.

Among the investors in the latest round was co-founder of Lanch – which teams up with influencers and creators to launch ad hoc food delivery brands – Jonas Meynert.

“We tried sourcing the traditional way by using agencies and consultants, but after three months, we had only gotten three quotes, all above our target price,” he said. “We tried Torg and in two weeks, we received 15 quotes from top manufacturers, most below our target price. Not only did we achieve great results, but due to Torg’s efficient tools, we decided against hiring a dedicated sourcing team and now do all our sourcing through Torg.

“We were so impressed that I had to invest myself,” Meynert added.

The company claims more than half of Torg buyers receive quotes 30% below their target price.

Torg was launched 14 months ago by Furuseth, Holdham and Rita Kerbaj, who have worked at Zalando, Delivery Hero, Just Eat Takeaway, and Farmasiet.

Among its UK buyer base is health-focused, membership-based online grocer WellEasy, which last year launched an own-label range of “high-quality organic versions” of staples including nuts, seeds, dried fruits and rice. Suppliers include Baker & Baker, BBC Coffee Limited, Lactalis, Mutti and Smart Organic.

Two British VC investors were part of the seed round: Connect Ventures and Ventures Together.

“The drivers are clear: consumers are demanding transparency, certifications, and lower prices for the food they purchase, and grocers and wholesalers are looking to own more of their supply chain in response,” said Sitar Teli, partner at Connect Ventures. “Torg enables this by creating the first digital sourcing platform for private-label food and beverage, bringing sourcing decades ahead from where it is now.”