Investors hooked on Minnow: Seattle startup raises $3M for its contactless food ‘Pickup Pods’

A Pickup Pod food delivery and pickup station from Minnow. (Minnow Photo)

New funding: Seattle-based startup Minnow, makers of a contactless food delivery and pickup pod, has raised $3 million in seed funding.

The tech: The company’s IoT-enabled Pickup Pods are designed to offer a secure, convenient way to get food delivered to apartment buildings, offices, college campuses and elsewhere. Food is kept in individually locked cubbies without keypads or touchscreens. They are opened via smartphone QR code.

Traction: Founded in 2017, Minnow has installed its devices at locations throughout the U.S. and in Japan. The company says all leading food delivery services are relying on its tech, as are restaurants and ghost kitchens that make their own deliveries. The desire for contactless delivery options has been increasingly fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minnow said in a news release that it is accelerating the production of its first commercial model, the M8. The first batch of Pickup Pods has already sold out and the company is accepting pre-orders for the second batch.

Investors: Branded Strategic Hospitality, a New York-based early-stage venture capital fund, led the round. Portland-based Elevate Capital, which led Minnow’s earlier convertible note financings, doubled its investment, and Portland Seed Fund also participated. Minnow raised $2.2 million last August and has raised $6.4 million in total seed funding.

Last word: “This funding demonstrates the importance of Minnow’s technology for solving the last mile problem in food delivery,” Steven Sperry, Minnow’s co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “With the food delivery market in the United States expected to exceed $28 billion this year, and with all the major delivery platforms still losing money, solving the last mile problem is urgent.”

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