Mable, a startup wholesale ecommerce platform for small businesses in grocery and related markets, has launched a beta version of its trading portal with $3.1 million in seed funding, the company said yesterday.
Founded by CEO Arik Keller, who has also been involved with online technology startups sold to PayPal and Facebook, Boston-based Mable plans to focus on the $641 billion grocery market by connecting retailers, distributors, and brands to enable more efficient product discovery, ordering, financing, and inventory management, Mable says. Its wholesale portal is at MeetMable.com, where it features such suppliers as New Haven, Vermont-based Pin Up Pickles; Blue Hill, Maine-based Black Dinah Chocolatiers; and Waterbury, Vermont-based Eddie’s Bakery.
After leaving the other startups, Keller took a break from technology and, in July 2018, bought a small grocery store. He says he quickly discovered the inefficiency of managing inventory procurement and, in May of this year, teamed up with Mable co-founder and chief technology officer Eric Carlstrom to build a web and mobile application to solve the problem.
Building a better way to reorder inventory
“When I bought my store, I found modern tech solutions for nearly everything, except re-ordering inventory,” Keller says. “The status quo for grocers is to order via phone, text or email, which makes managing purchases from multiple distributors and brands incredibly labor-intensive. We found ourselves saying, ‘If we could just order everything in one place, life would be a lot easier.’ Then it occurred to me—we should build that.”
Several investors liked their idea, and this week Mable secured $3.1 million in funding from investment firms Venrock, Accomplice and Founder Collective. Participating angel investors include Laurent Amouyal, David Olk and James McCann.
Mike Tyrrell, a partner at Venrock, says Mable is an example of a startup that found a way to improve a flaw in business. “The Mable team has first-hand experience with the procurement problem facing independent stores and understands the time and cost-saving impact of their solution,” he says. “We are inspired by the team and company’s vision to make independent retailers more competitive.”
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