Food and digital: two companies from Nantes raise funds to accelerate their international development

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In the retail sector, new actors are emerging and seducing major food companies and consumers who are attracted by socially responsible and sustainable consumption. This is the case of the Nantes-based companies Smartway, which develops an app to limit food waste in supermarkets, and Shopopop, a collaborative delivery service. 

At the beginning, something clicked. For Paul-Adrien Menez, co-founder of Smartway, it was the food waste generated by groceries. For Antoine Cheul, president of Shopopop, it was the desire to combine modern collaborative approaches of e-commerce with the principle of Indian dabbawalas, who are lunch box delivery men that cover the whole of India. 

Driven by different interests, these two entrepreneurs from the Atlantic France region share common values and a certain sense of commitment. The two Nantes-based companies are growing fast and both recently announced major fundraising campaigns to accelerate their international development. 

€10 million for the zero waste app Smartway

Smartway, formerly known as Zéro Gâchis (Zero Waste), offers a solution to limit food waste in the retail sector. The company was created in 2012 but has just completed its first round of financing €10 million.

The fundraising operation should enable the company to accelerate its international development, knowing that the Smartway solutions have already been adopted by 400 shops in France, but also in Spain, Portugal and Belgium. The objective is to reach 4,000 points of sale by 2025 in these countries as well as in Eastern Europe and Italy, where the company will soon be signing partnerships.

€20 million for the grocery delivery network Shopopop

Shopopop has also just raised €20 million to expand internationally. The company created in Nantes in 2016 is nicknamed “the BlaBlaCar of deliveries” and aims to build a network of 50,000 partner shops around Europe. 

Shopopop is planning to grow in the countries where it already has bases (France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the Benelux), but also elsewhere in Europe, especially in Germany and in the UK. The company which employs 102 people expects to double its workforce within a year.

Smart digital solutions seducing large retailers

Shopopop allows car drivers to use their daily journeys to carry out paid deliveries of groceries or parcels for partner shops. The amateur courier is compensated by the customer, generally between 5 and 9 euros. This practice has taken off with the health crisis and convinced some 3,000 French shops, including the majority of the large food retailers (Auchan, Carrefour, E.Leclerc, Casino, Intermarché…) to start using the platform. The startup intends to increase this number to 20,000 within the next three years by offering its services to local and specialist shops.

Smartway has convinced many supermarkets to use its complete unsold items management tool or “Food Waste Management System” (FWMS) (which is based on artificial intelligence). With this system, the shop employee receives alerts on a terminal about products close to their use-by date, which they scan on the shelves. The algorithm decides whether to put them on sale or donate them to charities.

According to its founder, the solution can enable a supermarket to reduce its food waste by 80%, with an average increase of 51% in net profit after tax. Over eight years, the company believes that it has generated €150 million in savings for consumers and has avoided throwing away 56,846 tonnes of fresh food.

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