We don’t have to forage for food so much anymore; however, people not only enjoy unearthing wild mushrooms and other foods, but consumers are also equally excited to eat them. Enter Foraged, a marketplace for purchasing wild and specialty foods from independent foragers and farmers.
Mushrooms are big business: Companies like Smallhold and Adapt AgTech bring a vertical farming approach to growing mushrooms. Others, including Meati Foods and Fable Food turn mushrooms into meat alternatives, while MycoWorks creates leather replacements from them.
Jack Hamrick and Andy Conner founded Foraged in 2021 to address rising food prices and supply chain disruptions and help small business owners get a piece of the global mushroom market, which is expected to be valued at $127 billion by 2030.
“We are growing, not in spite of the economic fears and inflationary pressures, but because of challenges,” Hamrick told TechCrunch. “We enable consumers to buy food directly from mom-and-pop businesses, rather than profit-gouging, multinational corporations. By cutting out nearly the entire supply chain, consumers save money and small businesses grow. We’re still seeing huge consumer tailwinds because people want to eat differently and want truly natural, healthy, sustainable and unique foods and that’s what Foraged unlocks.”
In 2022, Foraged launched following a $200,000 pre-seed round that included investors like celebrity chef and restaurateur Tom Colicchio. At the time, hundreds of people signed on to sell items and over 500 customers were purchasing them.
The company vets its vendors and offers a mobile app for them that manages the entire e-commerce experience, from listing products to payments to shipping and local pickups.
A year later, the site has tens of thousands of new customers and the number of repeat customers has increased over 1,000%. In addition, the company has experienced over 400% revenue growth from customers across the United States and Puerto Rico.
In addition to mushrooms and specialty products, including honey, oils and jams, Foraged’s marketplace has grown to include eggs, meat, dairy and seafood.
“We recently got into meat and seafood for the first time a few months ago,” Hamrick said. “Now we have everything from wild cod to lobster, some dive-to-order. The person will message, ‘thanks for the order, I’m going to put on my wetsuit.’”
All of that has attracted even more investors who recently injected $2.7 million in seed funding into Foraged. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round and was joined by Yelp co-founder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, StubHub co-founder Eric Baker, Shopify president Harley Finkelstein, and Fiverr founder and CEO Micha Kaufman. In total, the company has raised $3 million.
Hamrick intends to deploy the new capital into building additional tools and features for vendors and buyers. Foraged has eight full-time employees, including a Michelin-experienced chef from Noma, and expects to add more engineers.
“We have some exciting product announcements coming up, and we are finally doing some marketing,” Hamrick said. “No other technology companies are doing this, let alone in a platform marketplace configuration, and being able to marry those tools that aren’t being addressed in the market right now, with the network that we’ve already established on the marketplace, is a huge unlock for success.”