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Innovation & Job News

Online B2B food marketplace hires 11, looks for 4 more

Foodem, a B2B online marketplace for food distributors, is growing. According to Kash Rehman, founder of Foodem, the company has hired 11 employees since March and will hire 4 more locally by the end of the year.
"We're looking to hire four more people in sales for the D.C. metro area," Rehman says. Though Foodem's physical office is in Baltimore, Rehman says that 70 percent of his workforce—including those in sales, the developers and the quality assurance team—telecommutes. Furthermore, about a hundred restaurants in the D.C. metro area are using Foodem, including Nick's Riverside Grill in Georgetown and the 9:30 Club.
Foodem supplies goods to any business with a commercial kitchen, including restaurants, hotels, schools, daycares and nonprofit organizations. For the moment, however, Rehman is focused on capturing the restaurant vertical. "We help restaurants lower their food cost [by offering tools] to comparison shop," he explains. Foodem's online platform gives buyers a choice of distributor, and, by extension, price. "[Restaurants] don't have to call multiple places to find prices."
The platform also tracks what a restaurant orders from week to week, allowing owners to see the exact cost of their purchases. "Foodem give analytics in every category, every vendor, month over month, day over day," Rehman explains. And since all orders are submitted online, "[the system] eliminates errors during the procurement process."
On the distribution side, Rehman explains, Foodem eliminates the need and associated fee of a large sales force. "There are 21,000 restaurants in this market," he says. Servicing them all creates "enormous overhead" for suppliers.
Rehman is working with 25 different suppliers, including the Capital Meat Company, Belair Produce, Bowie Produce and S. Freedman and Sons, among others. Although he is open to working with other suppliers, Rehman is not concerned about the number he currently has. "It's not how many," Rehman explains, "it's the quality that matters."
Foodem secured $600,000 in angel funding in May 2013 and is planning a Series A fund raise in early 2014. "We have a lot of interest from prominent VCs nationwide," Rehman says.

A previous version of this article misstated the amount of angel funding Foodem raised in May 2013. Elevation DC regrets the error.

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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  • Foodem
    Emerging Technology Centers
    2400 Boston Street, Suite 322
    Baltimore, MD 21224 Website

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