Ugly veggies subscription service Farmers Pick rules off capital raise

By Anthony Macdonald, Sarah Thompson & Kanika Sood· 

Read it straight from the Financial Review here.

Melbourne’s Farmers Pick, which sells fruits and vegetables deemed not pretty enough for supermarket shelves, has ruled off a capital raise to invest in its operations.

Josh Ball co-founded Farmers Pick with his friend Josh Brooks-Duncan.

The two-year-old startup works with farms to buy fresh produce that wouldn’t make the cut for bigger grocery retailer on aesthetic grounds like size and colour. Think carrots with two legs, cauliflowers with small spots or zucchini with blemishes.

It sells these to environmentally-conscious households in New South Wales and Victoria via subscription boxes, with a chef whipping up weekly recipes around what’s in stock.

The company has raised just under $900,000 via a crowdfunding round that closed on Thursday evening.

Co-founder Joshua Ball said the money would help Farmers Pick build on its team of 30 people, in areas like operations (pick packers and warehouse staff) and sales and marketing. It also wants to invest in its plant and machinery as sales grow.

Ball’s previously worked in tech companies like Xero, with a focus on marketing and sales. His co-founder, Joshua Brookes-Duncan’s background is in FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) supply chain roles.


The duos plan

The duo plan to put a Series A to fund managers down the line. Which could be well-received given the business model tees in with global efforts to reduce 40 per cent of the world’s food that is wasted each year and contributes to greenhouse emissions.

It’s already on some bigger investors’ radar, who reckon Farmers Pick’s been smart about staying away from last-mile delivery model. Which would add complexity, and from venture capital money, which would dilute the register pretty early. They also reckon the startup’s logistics versus grocery focus is the right fit.

Farmers Pick says it has saved 700,000 kilograms of fresh-but-ugly produce from hitting the landfills. It also reckons its supply chain is shorter than traditional supermarkets and customers receive fresher fruits and vegetables.

The business did $120,000 million revenue in the 2021 financial year and has grown steadily. As Australian households become more aware of the $37 billion worth of food that the country wastes annually of the $1 trillion global total.

Farmers Pick’s revenue was $2.75 million in the 2022 financial year, and is travelling at $7 million odd for 2023.

Ball said the startup had been profitable for the past six months.